The Trump Effect and the Wave that Never Was
Republicans should be quite pleased with the results of the midterm elections. Despite the ominous predictions of an incoming Democratic "blue wave," Republicans around the country did well. To the dismay of many Democrats, the supposed wave was nothing more than a "hiccup," as Republicans gained seats in the Senate, held on to some important governors' seats, and lost far fewer seats in the House than is historically the case for the party in power. If this election was a referendum on President Trump, the results point to one conclusion: the American public still supports President Trump, and the "Trump effect" is strong and can significantly impact an election.
Historically, the party in power has lost seats in the House.
History tells us that the president's party almost always loses House seats, which has happened in 35 out of the 38 midterm elections (92 percent) since the end of the Civil War. In the Senate, the pattern is not quite as strong. Since 1913, when the 17th Amendment was adopted and the direct election of Senators began, the president's party has lost seats in 19 out of 26 elections (73 percent).
On Tuesday, Republicans continued this trend. However, the losses were not nearly as bad as expected, given that 38 House Republicans announced that they were retiring after this year, thereby creating vacancies that Democrats could exploit. While the Democratic pickups in the House gave them control of the chamber, it was narrow in scope when compared to past results. According to a recent article in The American Spectator:
In 2010, the Republicans gained 63 House seats – the biggest House pick-up since 1948 and the biggest midterm pick-up since 1938 – and six U.S. Senate seats. The GOP even ended up controlling 26 state legislatures and 29 governorships. In the 2014 Obama midterms, the Republicans somehow found thirteen more House seats to net, and they gained nine more Senate seats, retaking the Senate and scoring the largest midterm Senate pick-up in 56 years. They also grew to 31 governorships while controlling 68 state legislative chambers. Similarly, the 1994 Clinton midterms saw Republicans gain 54 House seats, eight Senate seats, and ten governorships.
With the large number of House seats up for grabs, the fact that Republicans mitigated their losses should be viewed with optimism. The Democrats did not experience a "blue wave" in the House. Rather, despite the media's relentless and false attacks on the president and the large sums of money that Democrats poured into the different races around the country, Democrats only made moderate gains (there are still some outstanding races). These gains would have likely been much higher had the American public turned on President Trump. Obviously, based on the results, this has not happened.
Along these same lines, and thanks to the "Trump effect," Republicans gained several important Senate seats in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Florida. (Florida is heading to a recount because of the close margin.) Interestingly, the Democrats who lost (or who are behind) in these states voted against Judge Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee. According to a recent article in the USA Today, "Trump's late-season blitz of campaigning appeared to help. He made two stops each in Florida, Indiana and Missouri, and one each in Montana, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia. Only the last two states re-elected Democrats, with Montana's race still to be decided."
Republicans should not underestimate the importance of maintaining control of the Senate. The gains (and continued control of the Senate) are vital and allow President Trump to, among other things, continue to shape the direction of the judiciary (with conservative judges) and to thwart any unsubstantiated and politicized impeachment proceedings Democrats might initiate against the president.
Republicans should view the results of the midterms with optimism. Despite the consistent and vile attacks by many media outlets, celebrities, and Democrats, Republicans suffered only moderate losses in the House, gained seats in the Senate, and maintained control of the Senate. More importantly, the American public sent a message that, while they might not always like the president's demeanor, they appreciate many of his accomplishments. (Republicans need to address health care, which hurt them on Tuesday.)
If the midterms were a referendum on the president, he passed with flying colors. As Dov Fischer wisely and accurately stated:
Trump risked everything and put his name brand on the line in Missouri (Hawley won), Indiana (Braun won), and Florida (DeSantis and Scott won). That took guts, strength, fierce determination. And this is the man whom the Democrats and their Left media stooges accuse of being an Alzheimer's patient, ready for the 25th Amendment. As the country saw while watching the President deliver one 75-minute power-packed speech after another, for days and weeks during the last month of the campaign, all the slanderous CNN talk about his mental capacities reflected the three different kinds of lies at which the Left Media excel: (i) lies, (ii) damned lies, and (iii) more damned lies. As Americans actually saw and heard the President for themselves, they grasped that the Left Media really does proliferate Fake News and truly are the enemy of the people, lying to a nation about the mental health of a leader with great acumen who adroitly bears great responsibilities.
With the midterms behind them, President Trump and all Republicans should feel very optimistic and begin to turn their attention to 2020.
Mr. Hakim is a writer and a practicing attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.