No, there weren’t a lot of surprises, but the health of Trumpism relies on holding ground and winning upsets, and that came nowhere close to happening.
Instead, being endorsed by Donald Trump is looking more and more like King Tut’s curse. In failing to rescue Matt Bevin, Trump proved unable to close the deal in a state where his support should matter. Previous failures have included Luther Strange and Roy Moore in Alabama, Ed Gillespie in Virginia, Kris Kobach in Kansas, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin. What we’ve seen, time and again, is that Trump has been unable to mobilize the movement that he unwittingly brought into existence. Had Trump been the real fascist that his enemies believed him to be, he would have voiced a clear worldview and taken quiet and systematic steps to subvert the old Republican Party (not to mention the Bill of Rights) and get the new one into office all over the country. In real life, Trump lacks the ideology, the patience, and the ground game. He has no such discipline and relies instead on arena showmanship and culture-war loyalty. It keeps a lot of his fellow Republicans in line, but it doesn’t transform them.