The Pence Blitz
History shows the party occupying the White House can usually expect to lose from 20-40 House seats in a president's first mid term election. That's not an iron law of politics, but it's a good yardstick.
Republicans are promising to do whatever is necessary to avoid the historical pattern. The latest look inside their strategy comes in this Politico interview with Vice President Mike Pence. The biggest takeaway? He plans to raise a lot of money for Republican candidates. But there's also this:
The vice president’s team has devised a unique ancillary strategy to support his cross-country campaigning: partnering with America First Policies — a Trump-backed public-policy non-profit group designed to boost the president's agenda — to hold public events designed specifically to discuss legislative achievements like the tax bill.
The goal is to have the group set up events to help voters understand what the White House sees as the upside of the Republicans’ legislative agenda. A senior administration official said Pence's message at the events will provide a “blueprint for how to be successful in midterms.”
Setting an agenda -- telling people not just what you've accomplished, but what you want to do in the years ahead, is not unsual, either. One can think back to the historic 1994 mid term elections when, braced by their Contract with America, the GOP gained control of the Senate and, for the first time since the 1950s, the House. But remember: that was against the party in power, the Democrats under Bill Clinton.
What else does Pence plan?
The double-barreled approach — reported here for the first time — includes stops around the country over the next 10 weeks. This weekend he’ll head to Pittsburgh for an event for Rick Saccone, a Republican running in a tight special election. It includes a Feb. 16 stop in San Antonio for Rep. Will Hurd, the lawmaker who represents the Texas-Mexico border. On Feb. 21, he’ll be in Naples, Florida, for an NRCC event.
In March alone, Pence plans to be in the Detroit area for the NRCC; Kentucky for Rep. Andy Barr; Missouri for Josh Hawley’s Senate bid; Ohio for Rep. Steve Stivers, the chairman of the NRCC; New York for the NRCC, Minnesota, Iowa and Pennsylvania. In April, he heads to North Carolina for Rep. Mark Walker, Omaha for Rep. Don Bacon, Nevada for Dean Heller and Indiana for the NRSC.
Hitting the trail, taking the fight to Democrats, raising money, setting a policy agenda. These are exactly the kinds of things Republicans need to do to stave off a mid term slump. But the question is whether voters will respond.
Meaning it's up to folks like you -- as it should be.