Two years after President Trump’s election, a Democratic blue wave will wipe out the GOP House majority. It’s an emphatic rejection of Trump and of his placid Republican enablers in the House. House Republicans’ only real “achievement” — a tax cut that voters dislike — did not save them.
Trump insisted he wanted the midterm elections to be all about him. And they were. Exit polls showed almost two-thirds of voters considered their ballot at least in part a referendum on Trump; a plurality (38 percent) said their vote for the House was a vote against Trump while 54 percent disapproved of his job performance and as many said the country is on the wrong track. A remarkable 46 percent disapprove of his performance strongly.
Women overwhelmingly voted Democratic, giving them a 20 percent margin; men favored Republicans by just three points. Married women went for Democrats (55 to 43 percent) as did female independents (57 to 39 percent), white women (50 to 48 percent) and white college-educated women (60 to 38 percent). If there was one group that handed Democrats the House, it was women.
Trump’s assault on civility, overt racism, lying and bullying did not sit well with suburban voters who went for Democrats this time. (They went for Trump in 2016, 49 to 45 percent.) Republicans in suburban districts went down to defeat in droves — Reps. Barbara Comstock (Va.), Peter J. Roskam (Ill.), Kevin Yoder (Kan.), Pete Sessions (Tex.) and Mike Coffman (Colo.) were among the casualties.
Republicans who have vowed to take another shot at repealing Obamacare should be careful. About 40 percent of voters said they cared most about health care; of those 76 percent voted Democratic. Some 70 percent want major changes in health care; of those 55 percent chose Democrats.
Trump wanted to make the race about immigration, so he tried to whip up his white, xenophobic base, with fearmongering about the caravan of migrants from Central America. But exit polls showed 47 percent think his immigration policies are too tough, compared to 33 percent who say they are about right and 16 percent who say too weak.
Trump and the Republicans wanted Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to be front and center. While men narrowly approved of Kavanaugh (50 to 44 percent), women overwhelmingly disapproved of him (53 percent disapproval to 37 percent approval). Overall, a plurality opposed Kavanaugh (48 to 43 percent).
Finally, the president spent two years or more trying to convince Americans that voter fraud is a huge problem. However, 54 percent said they see voter suppression as a bigger concern than voter fraud. And Trump’s biggest ally in his phony voter fraud theories, Kris Kobach, lost the governor’s race in Kansas.
Republicans will try to comfort themselves with their retention of the Senate majority. However, even there Democrats easily secured wins in states Trump picked up in 2016 (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan). Winning in the deep red states (e.g., Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri) was hardly compensation for nationwide losses in the House, shrinking the GOP’s map back to largely pre-2016 contours and losing a batch of governors’ races, including Michigan (another Rust Belt loss) New Mexico, Illinois, Maine and Kansas. We are becoming a more divided country, 77 percent of respondents said in the exit polls. But the truth is we are not evenly divided. A party that has alienated women, nonwhites, suburbanites, urbanites, Midwesterners, Northeasterners, the college-educated and all but the over-65 demographic set has dim prospects for 2020.