Fox News contributor and Townhall political editor Guy Benson argued Friday that the most important number Republicans should be focused on after Tuesday’s midterm elections is the total number of seats controlled, not the total number gained.
While obviously a large number of seats gained would constitute a red wave, the GOP is already starting at a much higher level than in either the Republican Revolution election of 1994 or the Tea Party-fueled trouncing of the Democrats in 2010.
“There’s a story in The Washington Post that indicates that some Biden allies are already pre-spinning what they expect to be losses next week for the Democrats,” Benson said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“And what they’re trying to say is because Republicans won’t gain probably anywhere in the neighborhood of 63 seats — the 2010 shellacking — that’s almost sort of a win for Joe Biden,” he said.
“Just ridiculous spin, if that’s actually what they’re going to attempt.”
I’ve been saying for months (echoing some others) that I’m more interested in the # of House seats *controlled* than seats *gained,* to measure a wave. The latter metric relies on shifting baselines; the former is a constant & a better measuring stick. @AmericaNewsroom pic.twitter.com/tqMgDJXkAQ
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 4, 2022
The Post reported, “Biden allies are preparing to spin even a defeat as a win for the president, since President Barack Obama lost 63 seats in 2010 and President Donald Trump lost 40 in 2018, and Biden is not expected lose as many.”
“But because Biden began his presidency with a much smaller majority than his predecessors, even modest losses could leave Democrats with fewer seats than the 193 they had in 2011,” the news outlet added.
One of the oddities of the 2020 general election is that Republicans gained 12 seats in the House, even as Trump at the top of the ticket lost his re-election bid.
That has almost never happened to an incumbent president with the only recent exception in 1992, when George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot split the conservative vote, allowing Democrat Bill Clinton to win with just 43 percent of the ballots cast.
The current party breakdown in the House is 220 seats held by Democrats and 212 by Republicans.
Benson advised, “Look less at the number of seats gained by Republicans. Look more at the number of seats controlled by the Republicans when it’s over.”
“Republicans are starting from a higher floor because they did well in 2020. So the final number of seats controlled is more, I think, revelatory and more telling than the actual map of how many seats do they gain,” he continued.
Benson pointed to 1994’s 230 seats and 2010’s 242 seats held by the GOP as good benchmarks of whether a red wave has occurred.
Fox News released its latest “power rankings” on Tuesday forecasting that Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives with a 236-199 majority, while the Senate remains a toss-up.
— Tea Party Patriots (@TPPatriots) November 1, 2022
However, Fox puts 26 House seats in the toss-up category and assumes the GOP will at least take half of those. If Republicans win all the toss-up races, its majority would be 249-186. Even if the GOP loses all of them, the party would still retake the House with a 223-212 majority.