And they did it to themselves.
While the economy improved, with high growth and low unemployment, while Trump notched foreign policy wins, all that CNN and the Dems could talk about were Stormy Daniels and Mueller. Bernie Sanders and his people tried economic messaging. But most of the party was too busy manufacturing scandals that no one else cared about to give independents a reason to vote for them.
All the fire and fury they unleashed on Trump hurt the GOP's numbers, but they're burning out. And the public is getting serious about the midterms.
The generic congressional ballot has continued to tighten, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with the Democrats' edge over Republicans within the poll's margin of sampling error for the first time this cycle.
About six months out from Election Day, 47% of registered voters say they back the Democratic candidate in their district, 44% back the Republican. Voters also are divided almost evenly over whether the country would be better off with the Democrats in control of Congress (31%) or with the GOP in charge (30%). A sizable 34% -- including nearly half of independent voters (48%) -- say it doesn't matter which party controls Congress.
The Democrats' advantage in the generic ballot dipped from 16 points in February to six points in March to just three points now. The party's advantage has waned among enthusiastic voters as Republican enthusiasm has grown (in March, 36% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters said they were very enthusiastic about voting; that's up to 44% in the new poll), but the Democrats still have a double-digit lead among those most excited to vote this fall (53% of those who are very enthusiastic about voting say they'd back the Democrat in their district vs. 41% who say they favor the GOP candidate). Those enthusiastic voters also say by a 10-point margin that the nation would be better off with Democrats in control of Congress than Republicans.
And that is what it will really come down to. Enthusiasm and turnout.
Midterm elections favor the committed voter. The Dems are losing the argument nationwide as Trump's numbers rise. But they've shown that they can turn out voters in special elections. The question is will Republicans come out to vote or stay home.