The mistake too many pundits are making today is thinking that the volatility which characterized the 2016 electorate and drove the outcome is now an albatross draped solely around the Republicans’ collective neck. What they fail to understand is that both parties are at risk. Sure, Republicans could lose in November but probably not because of Russia. Another candidate or two like Roy Moore would be problematic but to read too much into the Alabama Senate race would be another mistake. Overall, Republicans held their own in House special elections last year but the Virginia results ought to concern them.
So despite the polling, despite the predictions and partisan hyperbole, or even last year’s election results, it is premature to make any hard and fast assumptions about what’s going to happen 10 months from now.
Some of the factors that affected the vote in 2016 are still in play. People are still living paycheck to paycheck — 53 percent according to the Winston Group’s late December “Winning the Issues” survey. That same research found 36 percent of the country saying they are $400 away from financial disaster.