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Why Democrats can’t win back the House

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WASHINGTON — Congressional approval ratings hover at historic lows. The Republican Party’s brand has tanked. More people than ever think their own congressman should be sent packing. And the most notable act in one of the most unproductive legislative periods on record was shutting down the government for 16 days.

Yet Republicans are forecast to pick up as many as a dozen U.S. House seats this November, strengthening their grip on the House majority. “I’d rather be us than them,” crows Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who chairs the House GOP’s 2014 campaign operation.

Democrats say they expect to make gains in the House, but Republicans have a host of built-in advantages this year, including:

• Recently redrawn districts have resulted in fewer competitive seats.

• Historical midterm-election-year trends indicate a limited Democratic turnout.

• President Obama’s waning popularity is part of a political climate suggesting that Democrats cannot expect a “wave” election to turn the tide in their favor.

Democrats and Republicans are locked in a competitive struggle over who will control the U.S. Senate next year. But barring a seismic political event between now and Election Day, the GOP’s control of the U.S. House is not in question. Here’s why.

If it ain’t got that swing

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