Friday, October 29, 2010

As the House veers to the right, the Dem caucus will move left

Democrats can keep their big tent after the election. There just won’t be anybody on one side of it.

While members of the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus are relatively safe in a tough year for Democrats, the more moderate Blue Dog Democrats in the House will be on the endangered species list after Tuesday’s election.

In fact, a Daily Caller analysis of House races shows that a member running in a Blue Dog district is about five times more likely to be at least somewhat vulnerable than a Progressive Caucus member.

Based on the RealClearPolitics ratings of House races, 62 of 76 seats held by a member of the Progressive Caucus are “safe.” For the Blue Dogs, the picture is much more bleak. Of the 54 districts held by a member of that caucus, only six are “safe.”

With moderate and conservative Democrats in much greater trouble than progressives, it is a virtual certainty that the “average House Democrat” will be much more liberal when Congress reconvenes next year.

“You can call it the ideological paradox,” said Isaac Wood, the House race editor for Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “If Republicans clean up in the elections next week, the House will become more conservative, but the Democratic Caucus will actually become more liberal. The ranks of the Blue Dogs will be decimated, but the Progressive Caucus will be largely untouched.”

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