The real winner of the midterms? Donald Trump
Midterms are usually horrible affairs for the party in power, but Republicans actually emerged victorious in 2018 by historical standards, and it’s all thanks to Donald Trump.
If 2018 had been even an average midterm, much less the “blue wave” that Democrats and the media had so confidently predicted, Republicans would be in a much worse position today.
Since 1910, the President’s party has lost an average of 30 House seats in midterm elections, meaning the Democrats’ gains in the 2018 elections were thoroughly unremarkable. Compared to actual wave elections like 1994, when Republicans picked up 54 seats in the House, or 2010, when they gained 63, the Democrats’ performance in 2018 was downright dismal.
Over the last century, the President’s party has also lost an average of four seats in the Senate. If that had happened in 2018, Democrats would have won control of both houses of Congress.
Instead, thanks to pickups in several states that President Trump targeted with his one-of-a-kind campaign rallies, Republicans reversed that historical norm, actually growing their Senate majority.
In states where the President held rallies, Republican Senate candidates significantly outperformed pre-election polls, staving off numerous Democrat victories.
Republican Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee won by more than ten points, Josh Hawley of Missouri won handily even though pre-election polls listed his race as a statistical tie, and Mike Braun of Indiana blew through his polling deficit of -1.3 points to nab an eight-point victory.
In fact, of the 11 candidates with whom President Trump campaigned in the final week before the elections, nine emerged victorious.
While parties generally try to minimize midterm losses by downplaying their candidates’ ties to the sitting president, Republicans enthusiastically branded themselves as the party of Trump in 2018. Between Labor Day and Election Day, President Trump held 30 rallies for 43 candidates in competitive races, drawing nearly half a million people.
Conversely, Barack Obama held just nine rallies for Democrat candidates during his first midterm elections in 2010, and wound up losing 63 seats in the House — costing his party majority control of the chamber — and six seats in the Senate.
While the MAGA rallies clearly did a great deal to energize the Republican base, President Trump was also instrumental in shaping a campaign agenda that greatly enhanced the Republicans’ odds in 2018.
Rather than backing away from the controversy surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for instance, the President made it one of his key themes during the campaign, highlighting the unscrupulous tactics Democrats routinely use to score political points.
He also wisely emphasized the danger posed by the migrant caravan that is making its way toward our southern border, further underscoring the willingness of Democrats to place political considerations ahead of respect for the rule of law and the safety of American communities.
Most importantly, he hammered home the refrain of “jobs not mobs,” reminding voters that the GOP has delivered historic economic prosperity while the Democrats have done nothing but throw fits about President Trump’s many accomplishments.
It would be entirely fitting for the Oval Office to be flooded with thank-you cards from Republican office-holders this week, given the crucial role Donald Trump played in orchestrating the Republican Party’s historic performance Tuesday night.
Michael Glassner is Chief Operating Officer of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.