With six months to go before the midterm election, new national polls are showing that the Democratic Party's much-touted momentum to gain control of the House has stalled out. The latest numbers tell us a lot about the limits of denouncing Donald Trump without offering much more than a return to the old status quo.
Under the headline "Democrats' 2018 Advantage Is Nearly Gone," CNN reported Wednesday that nationwide polling found "the generic congressional ballot has continued to tighten" -- "with the Democrats' edge over Republicans within the poll's margin of sampling error for the first time this cycle."
With so many gerrymandered districts as well as widespread voter-ID laws and other GOP-engineered voter suppression, Democrats will need a substantial margin in vote totals to prevent Republicans from retaining a majority in the House of Representatives. (The prospects are worse in the Senate, where Democrats are defending a lopsided number of seats this year.)
While "47 percent of registered voters say they back the Democratic candidate in their district, 44 percent back the Republican," according to CNN. "Voters also are divided almost evenly over whether the country would be better off with the Democrats in control of Congress (31 percent) or with the GOP in charge (30 percent). A sizable 34 percent -- including nearly half of independent voters (48 percent) -- say it doesn't matter which party controls Congress."
The CNN survey comes on the heels of other grim national polling. Released last week, a Reuters poll concluded that "enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials."
"The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall," Reuters reported. "And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy."
Young people overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign for president. With their votes in Democratic Party primaries and caucuses two years ago, the young showed that they want truth about the destructive effects of corporate power -- and forceful action against its manifestations, whether economic injustice or climate change.
Overall, the latest generation of adults is negative about the demagogue in the White House. But most Democratic leaders aren't offering a clear and compelling alternative. As Reuters put it, "Although nearly two of three young voters polled said they do not like Republican President Donald Trump, their distaste for him does not necessarily extend to all Republicans or translate directly into votes for Democratic congressional candidates."