AMES, Iowa – Midterm elections are generally a referendum on the president and the economy, which is why 2018 will be an interesting year, said Dave Andersen, an assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University.

“The electorate is pulled in two different directions,” Andersen said. “They’re not happy with their president in general, but they’re very happy with the state of the economy.”

Andersen expects the Democratic Party will take back the U.S. House of Representatives. However, he says the more interesting question is what the Democratic Party will look like after the midterms. The battle between the progressive wing of the party and the more centrist establishment is reminiscent of the 2010 elections when the Republican Party was challenged from within by the Tea Party. Andersen says progressive Democrats are tired of compromising.

“They no longer want to be moderate. They no longer want to cooperate with Republicans. They want to force some of their agenda on the American public, because they believe the American public wants their agenda,” Andersen said. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how progressives do in the general election in November.”

Republicans are a different story. Andersen says the party is hoping to hold on to control of the Senate, but candidates are in a difficult position choosing between endorsing or attacking their own president.

“Republicans seem to do better when they stand with the president,” Andersen said. “Republican voters seem to like that in a candidate, and it’s making the difference between parties even more polarizing.”

Iowa State University News Service has a fully equipped, digital broadcast studio available for live or recorded video interviews to broadcast networks. Contact Angie Hunt (515-294-8986, [email protected]) or Dave Olson (515-294-5992, [email protected]) in the ISU News Service office to arrange an interview.