Democrats may keep majorities in both houses of the General Assembly this November, but it won’t be because they have better ideas or policies. Rather, if they keep control, they’ll have one person to thank for it: Donald Trump.

If 2016 had unfolded as a normal political year, Republicans would have had a clear shot at winning control of one or both chambers. The electorate beyond weary of our Democratic governor and legislature, and confidence in the state’s sluggish economy is very low. There are plenty of open seats to contest, and Democrats are on the defensive.

State Republicans have also managed to present themselves as a credible alternative in the legislature for the first time in recent memory. Republicans in the past have been full of simple answers and hare-brained schemes, but the budget proposals they put forward during the past session were reasonable, thoughtful, and moderate. In short, this is a party that is ready to govern. In that mythical normal 2016, they would likely have had that chance.

But this is no normal year, thanks to You-Know-Who.

Look, I hate writing about Donald Trump. He’s a thoughtless narcissist and serial liar who seems to have no moral center and no real political beliefs. His excuses about his tax returns are, as the New York Times editorial board pointed out, stupid. He winks at violence and racism, and brings out the worst in his supporters.

And for that, the party that nominated him will, at least in Connecticut, pay a price.

How is this going to work? Democrats need to hold on to seats in marginal districts, and they need to win open seats. What helps them most is turnout, and fear of a Trump presidency will likely drive people in Connecticut to the polls. The party effect is not huge, but it does exist — Democrats usually do a bit better in presidential years, and this one will be the same.

To win the House, Republicans need to

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Susan Bigelow

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

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