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Even though most analysts think it’s unlikely — Democrats would need to pick up 30 seats, including in reliably Republican territory — there is one political analyst who has a theory of how it could happen.
Geoffrey Skelley, who closely tracks congressional races at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, suggests there’s a crude shorthand for evaluating the battle for the House: Look to see if Clinton can beat Trump by 6 points or more in the presidential race. If that happens, Skelley projects 50 seats would be in play.
If Clinton wins by 6 points — and current polling suggests she might — it would mean Democrats could have a real, genuine, honest-to-goodness shot at pulling off whatlooked impossible just a few months ago.
By most projections, Democrats look more likely to get closer to 15 or 20 seats, not the 30 they’d need. Many states have gerrymandered safe Republican seats that would require an extraordinary landslide to do the trick. In 2012, for instance, Democratic House candidates won 1.7 million more votes than their Republican foes — and still ended up with 33 fewer members of the House. This is why even many Democrats believe taking the House is unlikely.
But unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. Here’s the math behind how Democrats’ long-shot dream might just become a reality.