The Daily 202: Even sweeping the suburbs would not be enough for Democrats to win the House majority – Washington Post

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: To win the House majority in the midterms, Democrats will need to make big gains with suburban voters, defend incumbents in rural districts where President Trump remains popular, topple a handful of Republicans in the Sun Belt and probably win a handful of seats that still aren’t on anyone’s radar.

The opposition party needs to win 24 seats to take control of the House in 2018. Understandably, operatives and handicappers have focused on the 23 districts that Republicans hold, which voted for Hillary Clinton last year. But some of the incumbents are very popular, with brands that are distinct from Trump’s, and they are unlikely to lose no matter how bad the headwinds become.

In other words, it’s inconceivable that Democrats run the table in those 23 districts. Even if they did, they’d still be one short. And Democrats must defend 12 seats in districts that Trump carried in 2016.

Third Way did a deep dive to try to understand what the 2018 playing field will look like. The center-left think tank focused on 65 “Majority Makers,” the battlegrounds where a majority would most likely be won. Using 48 Census data points, two experts from the moderate group looked at variables such as how many people moved into a district over the past year, what percentage of residents have access to broadband Internet and how many houses are vacant.

They divided the swing districts into four categories: Thriving Suburban Communities, Left Behind Areas, Diverse/Fast-Growing Regions, and Non-Conformist Districts. Their report, shared first with The Daily 202, includes a rich data set (in a downloadable Excel file) so you can play around with the metrics for yourself.

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