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March 14, 2014

Don't Forget That Politics is Cyclical

Charlie Cook: "It's surprising how many people who avidly follow American politics don't seem to appreciate that elections are both seasonal and cyclical in nature."

"The seasonal aspect is the more obvious one. Clearly in some years, or seasons, the wind is blowing in favor of one party. In other years, it appears to blow in the opposite direction. In others still, as during the time between seasons, the partisan winds do not seem to blow in any direction at all."

"Unfortunately, the cyclical nature is lost on more people. In any given even-numbered year, the House is on a cycle of its own, the Senate another, and the governorships yet another. The easiest to identify is the House cycle; with its two-year terms, all you have to do is look at the previous election. If Democrats had a great year and picked up a large number of Republican seats, you know that Democrats are likely to be overexposed and to suffer losses in the coming election cycle. If Republicans had a banner year in the previous election, they are more likely to lose than to gain seats. It's all pretty straightforward."


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