Almost everyone has made up his mind about Trump, leaving elections to hinge on turnout and the dwindling number of fence-sitting independents left in America. Middle-class suburbanites may be one such group that made the difference between the Democratic House of 2018 and the Republican one of two years ago; Democrats, as the CNN political director David Chalian pointed out, won the suburbs by four points on Tuesday after losing them by twelve in 2016.
But there is a smaller and smaller battleground in a country where minds are ever more permanently made up; red America and blue America are increasingly separate countries. With Tuesday’s results, only seven of the hundred U.S. senators will represent states that voted for the other party in the most recent Presidential election; a decade ago, Sosnik pointed out, that was the case for a third of the Senate. Back in the eighties, fully half of the Senate consisted of members who had won despite their state’s Presidential preference.
Trump has mastered the art of politics in such a situation. He didn’t create this dynamic, but he has figured out how to exploit it, and is far more willing to do so than other modern politicians. He is a polarizing President for a polarized country. There was only one outcome that was likely on Tuesday night, and it happened. “We’ll be further apart as a country,” Sosnik told me, as the polls were closing. And, of course, he was right. Trump waited not even a day before provoking an enormous political crisis. That, too, was utterly predictable.