As of this writing, Republican conservatives lack Voinovich’s self-awareness, and seem eager to recreate the backlash that crippled Clinton in the first year of his presidency and led to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. That backlash required unleashing a latent conservative majority in the South and to a lesser extent the West in districts that had been voting for Democrats largely for historical reasons. Republicans cashed in on them in 1994, but they cannot do it again—most of the Democratic-held districts that Newt Gingrich was eyeing fifteen years ago are now solidly Republican. Meanwhile, the older Republican seats in the Northeast and Midwest are gone. Republicans cannot form anything close to a majority.
Charlie Cook, however, sees the storm clouds on the Democratic side:
Many veteran Congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats. A new Gallup poll that shows Congress’ job disapproval at 70 percent among independents should provide little solace to Democrats. In the same poll, Congressional approval among independents is at 22 percent, with 31 percent approving overall, and 62 percent disapproving.