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.
In short, the Democrats’ 2018 hand was remarkably weak.