House Republicans have lagged consistently in the generic ballot and performed even worse than those poll numbers would suggest in special elections. Their hopes for holding a majority in the US House of Representatives remain fairly bright, however, because thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans can almost certainly hold their majority while losing the popular vote by 3 or 4 points and could very possibly hold it while losing by 5 or 6 points.
The other edge they’ll have, of course, is money. GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson announced Thursday morning that he’ll cut a $30 million check to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC that helps House Republicans.
Money alone is no guarantee of victory, of course.
As Axios’s Alexi McCammond wrote yesterday, Republicans have been drastically outspending Democrats in every House special election and badly underperforming the partisan tilt of the districts nonetheless. Conor Lamb’s big win in the Pennsylvania 18 special election came in the face of a particularly large spending disadvantage.
Good morning! I’ll be on @MSNBC x @axios 1BigThing at 5:55a talking about my latest reporting on Dems spending less per vote in special elections and outperforming in every one https://t.co/wBYwVCWMO4— Alexi McCammond (@alexi) May 9, 2018
Still, all this money is coming from somewhere, and it is coming for a reason.
And the commitment of the likes of Adelson to the GOP cause is a reminder that despite the way culture war topics dominate the messaging of Republican Party politicians, economic issues remain core to the actual stakes of American politics. The $30 million the octogenarian casino billionaire is spending on the midterms may sound like a lot, but it’s actually a drop in the bucket compared to what Adelson’s heirs will gain thanks to the estate tax cut provisions of Trump tax bill alone.
Sheldon Adelson's company recorded a *$670 million* income tax windfall from the GOP tax law in the first quarter. https://t.co/kuUWPx7YVf— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) May 10, 2018
Throw in the benefits of the other tax cut provisions and Adelson’s interest in maintaining a business-friendly National Labor Relations Board and the investment is very small and sensible. The same goes for even richer people like the Koch brothers, who are planning to spend even larger sums in the midterms.