There’s a phenomenon in American politics known as the “six-year” itch, which is the tendency of voters to reject a two-term president’s party in his sixth year in office. There are a number of explanations for this — scandal, disillusionment of the president’s base, hunger among the opposition. But for whatever the reasons, there has never been a case since the Civil War (i.e since the Democratic and Republican parties co-existed) in which a president regained control of the House for his party in the sixth term of his presidency. …

Liberal Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has argued that 2014 might break this trend. But I think it’s likely to hold, for several reasons. One, the redrawn Congressional maps are likely to protect Republicans at least until the second half of the decade. Two, the composition of the electorate in midterm elections is likely to be much more favorable to Republicans than the electorate Obama was able to galvanize during a presidential election year. Three, Obamacare’s major provisions will be implemented in 2014 and I’m betting against it going smoothly. This isn’t saying it can’t be done — seven such elections is a pretty small sample size and Republicans aren’t exactly popular right now. But it’s still unlikely.