It’s a little early for an in-depth analysis of the 2018 midterms. However, there are a few takeaways that are hard to miss. President Trump is a net-gain for Republicans and a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Traditionally, the party with an incumbent president tends to lose 30 seats in the House and an average of four seats in the Senate. Although results are still trickling in, the Democrats’ gain in the House likely will be about average. Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate beat the odds and will score an impressive pick-up courtesy of Mr. Trump.
While Democrats managed to retake the House of Representatives, their net-gain was far less than Republicans achieved in 2010 during Obama’s first midterm. His party lost 63 House seats with voters angry over the passage of Obamacare.
Voters have short memories. Remember Obama’s big lie: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” And another one: “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan.” Many Americans not only lost their doctors, but lost the insurance plans they loved. In addition, they found themselves paying higher premiums for plans that were virtually useless due to high deductibles.
Nevertheless, one of the biggest lies in this election, put forth by Democrats in those swing congressional districts, was that folks with pre-existing conditions would be left out in the cold. All of us know someone, or may have a family member, with a pre-existing condition. (I’m married to one.)
You might say, those lily-livered Republicans in the House brought this defeat on themselves by failing to have a consensus plan in place to replace Obamacare that would address this popular measure. They also failed miserably to make the case for and pass President Trump’s immigration reform plan, which included funding for the border wall.
If the House failed to deliver on those promises, the failure in the Senate was even bigger, even though Mitch McConnell was working with a much smaller majority. McConnell, who is soft on immigration, no longer will have that problem. Let’s be clear: McConnell was saved by President Trump who campaigned tirelessly to keep the Senate in the hands of Republicans and capture additional seats.
Some in the House fault the president for not campaigning more heavily for their vulnerable candidates. Give the man a break! There were just too many of them.
Democrats wisely targeted Republican House members who were in districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. In addition, they handpicked candidates designed to appeal to conservatives voters. In fact, even some left-leaning Democrats in those swing districts were told to embrace Trump and avoid talking about things like immigration.
In short, many of those victorious House Democrats wrapped themselves in the flag and the Constitution and appeared to be as American as apple pie. An example is New Jersey Democrat Miki Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and prosecutor who won in an open seat vacated by retiring Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen. After her victory Sherrill told reporters, “What we need is to see people on both sides of the aisle working together, agreeing with the president when he’s right and standing up to him when he’s wrong, and then working on the initiatives that people across this country want to see.”
Who could disagree with that? Then, again, we’ll see how fast her bipartisanship disappears when it comes time to reward Democratic leaders who helped finance her campaign.
There simply was not enough time for Trump to hold campaign rallies to help all House Republicans who were fighting to keep those seats in the GOP column. However, it is interesting to note one race that was seen as a bellwether, Kentucky 6. Trump visited the Blue Grass State in October to help Rep. Andy Barr retain his seat against Democrat Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, who ran as a conservative.
Unfortunately, voters have short attention spans. They likely will have lost interest in politics by the time those conservative-sounding Democrats, who helped Nancy Pelosi regain her grip on the House of Representative, show their true colors.
That task will be left to their GOP challengers in 2020, who will be helped by an emboldened Donald Trump who will, again, be at the top of the ticket.
Meanwhile, those squishy Republican in the House and Senate will have to find some courage, or the country will sink further toward an irreversible socialist state with victory going to the candidates promising the most free stuff.