The GOP Is at War With Itself. So Why Are Republicans Poised to Win in 2014?
This year's midterm political paradox, explained.
—By Andy Kroll | Mon Apr. 7, 2014 3:00 AM PDT
Skim the news nowadays and you're bound to encounter two political storylines seemingly at odds with each other. They appear side by side in major news outlets; sometimes even in the same headline. In the first storyline, the Republican Party is at war with itself, divided between establishment and tea party, staring down its own demise as the nation's demographics change and majorities of Americans embrace Democratic positions on gun rights, immigration, marriage equality, and other important issues.
Yet in the second storyline, the GOP is ascendant, poised to grow its majority in the House of Representatives and—more significantly—win back control of the US Senate in the 2014 midterms. Senate Republicans are already planning their majority agenda, divvying up committee chairmanships.
How can this be?
News stories galore have explored one or the other of these narratives, but never reconciled them. Here's how the Republican Party is on the brink of a meltdown…yet on track to retake Congress in November.
Luck of the Draw
The GOP is on pace for major gains in 2014, in part because of luck. Democrats stand little chance of winning back the House. They would need to erase the GOP's 17-seat majority, while successfully defending their own members, including 13 incumbents in toss-up races. (RealClearPolitics rates only three House GOP races as toss-ups, which has at least something to do with Republican gerrymandering of congressional districts at the state level.)
The real action this year is on the Senate side. And looking at the 2014 Senate electoral map, this much is clear: Republicans were dealt a good hand.
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