By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner;

Tuesday’s elections were a much worse result for President Trump and Republicans than most pundits are portraying.

To understand why, one must ignore the irrelevant short-term expectations game and political spin from campaign professionals. Instead, what matters — please excuse the apparent cliches — is the long-term big picture and the fundamentals of what ordinarily would happen on this particular election’s political map.

Imagine a generic year — no Trump, no caravan, no Kavanaugh — which featured Democrats defending 26 of 35 Senate seats on the ballot. Obviously, the Democrats have nearly three times as many chances to lose net seats as to gain them. Then, posit that 10 of those Democrat-held seats are in states won by the current Republican president, while only one is in a state lost by that Republican. Further posit that several of those 10 Democrats won the prior time only because of major gaffes by their Republican opponents, at the same time a Democratic president was helping Democrats by coasting to re-election.

Every half-intelligent analyst in the country looked at that map four years ago and said Republicans would likely pick up seats in North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, and probably Montana, and would be favored in West Virginia if the Democrats did not have an unusually popular incumbent. If those analysts knew unemployment would be at a record-low level, with inflation still low by ordinary standards and no major international crisis, they would say Republicans would have an even-money chance to gain at least two additional seats from among Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota (two elections), Wisconsin, New Mexico, Virginia, Maine, and Ohio, while having a good chance of holding their seat in swing-state Nevada.

In sum, the actual “break-even” pickup number for Republicans on this map, in this economy, would be at least five seats, with six or seven more likely than three or four.

Thus, the actual GOP net gain in the Senate of either two or three seats — after already blowing the seat in GOP-heavy Alabama — is nothing to crow about. At very best, it’s barely par for the course….

[And the House was much, much worse…]

[Full column: Here.]

 

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