Two years after Donald Trump surprised the world and won the United States presidential election, Trump and the Republicans lost control of Congress. Trump’s radical positions and vitriolic rhetoric turned suburbanites in highly-educated districts against the Republican Party.
The results of the election show that it is hard for Republicans to simultaneously appeal to the anti-immigrant, anti-politics base that got Trump elected while also maintaining the support of traditional upper-class economically fiscal conservatives. The electorates in places like Virginia’s 10th district in the suburbs of Washington, DC, Florida’s 27th, outside of Miami, Pennsylvania’s 18th in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, and Kansas’s 3rd, outside of Kansas City, are too sophisticated to fall for Trump’s fear-mongering.
In the final days of the election, Trump dialed up the hate and smears. He grabbed onto the news about a “caravan” of migrants marching from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexican border, seeking asylum, and lied that it was full of terrorists and criminals. He released an ad that was deemed so racist that the news networks CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News refused to air it—not even for money.
Slate’s Jim Newell pointed out that Trump’s final campaign push might have energized his base in already conservative states. If that is the case, then it could have been one factor in helping the Republicans maintain control of the Senate, where they needed to win whole states.