Plus Ça Change

Commentary by Pete du Pont

In less than two weeks Americans will go to the polls to decide whether to change the political balance of our government. Historically the party controlling the White House usually loses legislative seats in its first midterm election; the political parties of the last six presidents (LBJ through Bill Clinton) have lost an average of 27 House and two Senate seats. In their first midterm elections the three Democratic presidents averaged a loss of 38 House and five Senate seats; the three Republicans averaged minus 15 House seats and plus one Senate seat. In only one of the 14 midterm elections since World War II--in 1998--has the party of an incumbent president gained seats in the House.

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