Republicans traded the election for potshots at the caravan

Here are the takeaways. The Friday before the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans were handed a gift in the form of the November monthly jobs report. Described by a former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden as “pretty much everything you could want in a monthly jobs report,” it was a clear sign that Republicans’ center-right economic policies were moving the economy forward, affecting not just job growth, but finally wage growth as well. And the timing couldn’t have been better, coming just four days before the election.

This moment was potentially the culmination of the fight for the narrative of the election. Democrats had been focused on the issue of health care most of the year. Since passage of the tax cut bill, Republicans had made some efforts to create a focus on the economy, but as the election drew near, they found themselves embroiled in less positive issues — immigration and the caravan story.

That bifurcation diminished the impact of the “good news” economic report that should have dominated the final days of the campaign. Instead, Republicans, as they did throughout the campaign, drowned out the economic message.