Democrats could be facing a political “bloodbath” today if the polling is accurate, the third-ranking House Democrat said Monday. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Democrats must show up in full force on Nov. 2 if they want to keep control of the House in the pivotal midterm elections. “If you were to believe what the polls are saying about those who are likely to vote, then it’s going to be something close to a bloodbath for Democrats,” Clyburn said on WVOC radio in South Carolina. “We’ll lose the House and lose big.”
Democrats have generally projected optimism about their chances in Tuesday’s election despite projections that Republicans stand to make net gains of 39 or more seats, which would hand them the House majority. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said repeatedly in television interviews on Monday that he believes Democrats will keep control of the House.
Clyburn said the outcome of the elections were “up in the air,” but said it all came down to turnout, and whether or not the polling in races are to be trusted.
“If you look at this, it hangs on who turns out at the polls on tomorrow,” he explained. “If people vote beyond their likelihood … and vote according to their presence among the electorate, then things are not going to be bad for us. But if we don’t get our voters to the polls in the numbers that they are represented in the population, then it will be bad for us. And that’s just the fact of the way things are being done.”
Democrats have launched an all-out blitz in the closing days of the campaign season to ensure their voters make their way to the polls in large numbers. President Obama and other top Democrats have pushed early voting where it’s an option in recent weeks, strong turnout for which was cited often by Van Hollen on Monday as a reason why Democratic losses might not be severe.
And Obama made a series of calls Monday into radio shows in key cities and states to encourage black voters to make their way to the polls. That follows weeks in which Obama made moves to target women, young voters and other blocs of voters who had helped propel him to victory in the 2008 presidential election.
Clyburn said he’d been hearing positive indications from those get-out-the-vote efforts, which he said could propel Democrats to victory (at least in relative terms).
“If we are doing what all the reports say, if the information we’re getting is correct, and we’re doing what we need to do, then I’ll still be majority whip,” he said.