MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

President Trump Credits Himself for Republicans' Performance in the Midterms

But a few of Tuesday's big races indicate he did more harm than good.

|||KEN CEDENO/UPI/NewscomKEN CEDENO/UPI/NewscomPresident Trump offered up some analysis on the gains and losses in Congress following Tuesday's midterm elections. While Republicans maintained control of the Senate, Democrats picked up a majority in the House. On Wednesday, Trump opined that congressional Republicans who lost their bids for reelection did so because they did not fully embrace him.

During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Trump identified by name Republicans who lost their races, including Utah Rep. Mia Love. Though Love's race against Democratic challenger Ben McAdams has not yet been called, Trump accused her and others of not giving him any "love."

Trump previously tweeted similar sentiments on election night, saying that those who embraced "certain policies" did well.

Were he capable of it, Trump would benefit from re-examining that theory. Among the major losses on Tuesday night was that of Trump ally Dave Brat. Brat, who is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, enjoyed an endorsement from the president in October and has frequently voted in support of the president's "MAGA" agenda. Despite standing with Trump, and his stunning defeat of Eric Cantor in 2014, Brat still lost his Virginia seat.

Other Republican candidates who aligned themselves with the president found that a hardline immigration stance either cost them their elections, or, in the case of Iowa Rep. Steve King, made races closer than they'd ever been. In fact, several Republican victors noticeably won their races by slim margins, even in areas where they historically performed well. In Florida, for example, Republicans have won the governorship for the past 20 years. But Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, who made a point to build a literal wall with his children and read them bedtime stories about Trump, won by a mere 0.7 points. Similarly, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) beat progressive Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) in the Texas Senate race by a mere 1.5 points.

Trump should celebrate his win. After all, if he is presented with another opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, he'll need only the Senate. But he may wish to reevaluate what the midterms meant for his agenda as a whole.

The full press conference can be viewed below.

Photo Credit: KEN CEDENO/UPI/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • TuIpa||

    OMFG this shit again...

  • TuIpa||

    President Donald Trump has given his endorsement to 79 gubernatorial, House and Senate Republican candidates on the ballot Tuesday and stumped for many of them in their home states.

    Trump's 42-29 right now.

  • Tony||

    I know, what a fucking joke that creature you voted for is.

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Obama campaigned for the following losing candidates:
    Joe Donnelly
    Richard Cordray
    Andrew Gillum
    Stacy Abrams

    So he was O-4

    Trump is what 8-2 without Montana and Arizona.

    You still saying this is a blue wave right?

  • Tony||

    I don't use buzzwords. The topic of my post was what a vile carbuncle the president of the United States is and, by extension, what a cunt Tulpa is for his nonstop whining on his behalf.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony is just an example of Lefties know that they are losing the game.

    Even though they might carry a tiny majority in the House, they still know that America is not going to accept Socialism no matter what they do.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|11.7.18 @ 3:35PM|#
    "I don't use buzzwords."

    Neither do I.
    Fuck off, you slimy excuse for humanity.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This whole midterm feels like a tempest in a teapot when compared to other midterm milestones... like 1994.

    I heard a statistic this morning that I haven't verified, but the standard opposite-party midterm turnover was something like less than half of that for Clinton and Obama. Again, I haven't verified.

  • Daniel||

    You don't have to verify. You are correct.

    Both Obama and Clinton had significantly more loses (in both chambers of Congress).

  • ||

    Especially in 2014 for Obama.

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Obama lost 63

  • Bubba Jones||

    Ken posted the data in a prior thread. Trump's performance was essentially median.

    I am sure that if Trump were to publicly state that his campaigning had a negative effect, this announcement would be received in good faith.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He can credit himself for the Sessions resignation.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Jeff Sessions just jumped ship.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Damnit, another Trump victory.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

  • John||

    He was fired you half wit.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Sessions was pushed off the plank.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not a moment too soon.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This election was an unmistakable message that Americans are tired of Drumpf's white nationalist agenda. As Shikha Dalmia has noted, the most extreme anti-immigrant candidates did especially poorly. We in #TheResistance have the momentum now. 2019 will be an excellent year for the progressive / libertarian alliance.

  • BambiB||

    Actually, I can't wait for Trump to push the end of "birthright" citizenship, which should make it to the Supreme Court about the same time Ginsberg starts her dirt nap and Trump appoints his third Justice.

    With the military building tent internment camps for the criminal invaders, and an end to 'catch and release", the libtards' panties will be all in a bunch and their panting and groaning will be epic.

    With the replacement of Sessions, Mueller will finally get a time limit on his witch hunt and have to produce his report - which will conclude that the only collusion with the Russians was between the Clinton campaign, a foreign agent and some scumbags at the FBI. Look for zealous prosecution of 8 U.S. Code § 1324 - an opportunity to crush "sanctuary cities".

    As Kalifornia throws open its borders (and offers "free" health care to the world), expect it to be overrun and turned into a cesspool. Oh wait. It already is.

    Overall, conservative will benefit and libtards will suffer - as it should be.

  • Stell||

    One of Trump's biggest MAGA losses yesterday was Kris Kobach's to Laura Kelly for Kansas governor.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    I mean, this isn't unexpected. Trump is a self-publicist with a huge ego (like most politicians) and he doesn't care about breaking etiquette when it comes to criticizing members of his own party.

    Honestly, I don't know how much attaching his name to candidates really mattered. The two things Trump has going for are these:

    1) He's a political outsider, and people hate establishment politics. So when he ran on a "Drain the Swamp" message, it had some weight to it, moreso than if someone like Mitt Romney tried that. (This also may cause problems in 2020, as he's going to have to evaluate how badly the swamp has been drained.

    2) His opponent was very unlikable, and the left has only doubled-down on their insufferable screeching, which helped drive conservative voters to the polls.

  • BambiB||

    Following 28 years of generally inept "leadership", Trump is a monumental success story. He only won in 2016 because Hitlery was intolerable, but he'll win in 2020 because he's doing a great job.

    After that, maybe we'll have the first female president... Nikki Haley.

  • ||

    I still don't know what's so hard about his stance on ILLEGAL immigration.

    Every sane country on the planet thinks this way. Plus I bet you border agents want a big, bad wall.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    There are no sane countries.

  • ||

    Touche.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Anyone else get a "meh" feeling over the midterms?

    To me, the most explosive stuff happened at local levels. Apparently, I may be a felon now, so I've got some reading I need to do. But other than that, it seems pretty business as usual.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Yeah, it's kind of whatever. Assuming McSally wins. I will be suprised if Sinema wins from this.

  • BambiB||

    Apparently, I may be a felon now

    So... what? You're white and living in Kalifornia?

  • vek||

    Ugh. Washington is such a shit show... I can't believe that gun law passed, which is what I'm assuming you're talking about... If so you're not a felon until 2019 when it goes into effect! ;)

    They're going to sue over it too, so it could be delayed.

  • Frank White||

    "But a few of Tuesday's big races indicate he did more harm than good"

    Therefore, he did more good than harm in most big races? That's a good thing then?

  • John||

    Trump campaigned like crazy in Florida, Missouri, Arizona, Tennesse, Texas and Indiana. And all of those races resulted in Senate candidates he supported and who support him winning. Even Mr "I can never support Trump" Cruz now owes his continued service in the Senate to Trump coming and campaigning for him. And these winning candidates replaced people like Corker and Flake and Democrats who were hostile to Trump. And on top of that, the Republicans now have a large enough majoriy in the Senate that Murkowsky and the Moron twins from Maine are no longer swing votes.

    Trump had a tremendous night in the Senate last night. The Senate is much more pro Trump today than it was before the election. Saying otherwise is just lyng to yourself.

  • Tony||

    And this relates to libertarianism how?

  • John||

    It relates to something called the truth. Since every word you say including "and" and "the" are lies, you wouldn't know about that or understand it.

  • Tony||

    Your brain is so fried by rightwing nonsense from the internet there's no point in debating anything with you. It was a great night for Trump. Just like Trump said. *Pats you on the head* What a good little poodle.

  • John||

    In the Senate it was. And just think, if idiots like you hadn't gone full retard on Kavanaugh, the Democrats very well may have taken the Senate. But thanks to you going full retard, every Democrat in a competetive race who voted against Kavanaugh, sans Tester, lost. Thanks to you and other hateful idiots like you who just couldn't help yourself but slander an innocent person as a rapist, not only do the Democrats not have the Senate they likely won't take it in 2020 and it will be 2022 before they can hope to have a realistic shot at retaking it.

    It used to be that the Demcoratic party kept morons like you in the closet during election years. They let you come out and have government jobs after the election but they understand how repellent people like you are to most of the electorate. Fortuneately, they let people like you run the party now and the Republicans are much better off for it.

  • Tony||

    Whatever Trump, bestest president ever, says. I mean whatever you say. Same thing. Whatever.

  • John||

    Every Democratic Senator except one who voted against Kavanaugh and was in a competive election lost. The Republicans now have 54 or maybe 55 Senate votes. That means Trump will get any appointment he wants.

    I hope it was worth it. Oh yes, when Trump tells the House to fuck off and the House tries to sue over his ignoring their subpeonas, two of the people sitting on the Supreme Court who will decide the case will be Gorsuch, whom you claimed was illegitimate and needed to be impeached and Kavanaugh who the Democrats slandered as a gang rapist. I am sure they are going to be real sympathic to your cause. Good luck with that.

  • Tony||

    I'm not going to pretend to understand the disturbing psychology behind the smattering of pundits (and you) who think this election had something to do with Kavanaugh (poor, poor victim that is he, what with being on the supreme court). I could assume you think it's a victory for rapists everywhere, drunks everywhere, or drunken rapists. Of course exit polls had a majority of voters still opposed to his being on the supreme court. So, again, what the fuck ever. You're just going to repeat whatever nonsense falls out that orange traitor's face. Again, there's no point in talking to such a mindless parrot.

  • John||

    The majority of voters in Missouri, Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana and Florida didn't. And that is why you are now looking at a larger Senate Majority for the Republicans. And Kavanaugh was and is innocent. And you know it. And the country knows it and the Democrats were punished pretty severely for this stunt.

    But hey, I honestly hope that you and every other Democrat convinces yourself otherwise. Please when RBG finally keels over next year, pull the same stunt with her replacement. It wil be another pointless gesture that will result in the nominee being confirmed and maybe the Republicans having 60 seats in the Senate come 2020.

  • Nardz||

    The "Amy Coney Barrett: rapist" fanfic is going to be spectacular

  • John||

    Senate confirmation hearings, now with bonus sick fantasies and MILF porn. Woohoo.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony has finally given up.

    His arguments are getting worse and worse, so he is now down to just saying "whatever".

  • Tony||

    There is no conversation to be had with people who would support a tapeworm inside the gut of a naked mole rat for president as long as it had an (R) after its name.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony, you should get yourself checked.

    There is a nasty case of worms going around gay men for eating assholes.

    You just seem like a guy who eats nasty assholes and likes it.

  • Tony||

    I should return the favor and warn you that there's a nasty case of fentanyl overdose going around among cousinfucking rednecks.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That Lefty lady in minnesota asserts she is not a brother fucker.

    I would not call her a redneck though.

  • BambiB||

    By the time it gets to the Supreme Court, it's more likely Trump will have appointed a THIRD Justice!

  • BambiB||

    Typical of a libtard to walk away from debate when the facts are against them.

  • jasno||

    Because John is a Republican and finds your liberal tears delicious. Maybe you two can find a room and go 69 somewhere else?

  • Tony||

    John finds the very concept of sex to be morally repugnant. How he expects the species to reproduce, I'm not sure.

  • vek||

    Well you, being A Gay anyway, won't be of much use in any event. I thought he was into buxom chicks or something anyway?

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Arizona is still too close to call in the Senate race.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I think the close races, states are taking their time to make sure all votes are counted before calling the race.

    Better to take a few days and call the race correctly than call the race incorrectly.

  • Gray_Jay||

    Especially if Maricopa County is "still finding ballots" and may take a week to count them all.

    Jesus Christ, what kind of Third World crap is this?

    Per the AZ SoS site, McSally is up by 0.9% with 99% of the precincts in. About 15,000 votes. Which is half what the Green Party candidate end up pulling. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson since the Hillary Clinton debacle.

    About 1.75 million votes were cast. If you think all of the precincts were symmetrical, then 1% of that is about 17,500 votes.

    So, if AZ finds 16,000 votes in a trunk, all of them miraculously for Sinema, she'll win.

  • John||

    16,000 votes is a lot even for the Democrats. I think they found a few hundred in the trunk of a car to get Al Frankin over. But there are not many trunks big enough for 16,000 votes. McSally is going to win.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The entire Left hates Trump.

    RINOs hate Trump.

    Yet under Trump's leadership for the GOP they gained seats in the Senate and the Democrats will likely barely have a majority in the House by the time states certify the results for the pending races.

    America likes Trump.

  • Dillinger||

    down w/establishment. up w/miniskirts.

  • SIV||

    Brat still lost his Virginia seat.

    Brat was one of the most "libertarian-leaning" reps in the House. The LP candidate more than covered the spread too. I'm sure this will push the CIA agent Democrat winner to embrace libertarian ideas and policies, right?

    Brilliant strategy, LP.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Libertarians that did well ran for positions they had a chance of winning.

    I think the LP was pushing candidates or liked that LP candidates were running for high profile positions. See Ted Metz of Georgia.

    Once Georgia Governor race became Kemp vs Abrams and you're a racist if you don't vote for her, Ted Metz was never going to win. We could not vote for Metz or Abrams would win. Metz would have still lost and we would have a socialist as Governor of Georgia.

    If Metz ran for Lieutenant Governor he could have won. That race was not a win or die race. Then Metz could have done well in that position and ran for Governor in later years.

  • John||

    All the LP cares about are open borders, pot and gay wedding cakes.

  • SIV||

    OK The most recent totals show the LP candidate not quite covering the spread. So you TEAM LP partisan hacks who voted for the less-libertarian candidate over Dave Brat are off the hook.

  • vek||

    There were a few races in my area where the Libertarians got into the mid teens percentage wise!

    ...

    Because Rs literally didn't even decide to run for the spots.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    But he may wish to reevaluate what the midterms meant for his agenda as a whole.

    Really? Why? Obama certainly didn't bother to "re-evaluate" what the midterms meant for his agenda while his party was getting its ass kicked in Congressional and gubernatorial elections throughout his Presidency. Why bother when there's cheddah to be siphoned into your personal money-laundering PAC rather than your party's national committee? What motivation does Trump have to be any different, other than the fact that the media, neocons, and Hollywood (nukes be upon them) hate his guts, while Obama had them as his enablers?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm surprised Reason hasn't done any Ocasio-Cortez coverage.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " Other Republican candidates who aligned themselves with the president found that a hardline immigration stance either cost them their elections, or, in the case of Iowa Rep. Steve King, made races closer than they'd ever been. "

    These kinds of statements are more credible as *predictions* than post facto cherry picked rationalizations.

    Fact is that demographic change is against the Republicans. That's why the Dems have pursued it for decades.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This 2020 Census is gonna fuck Democrats up.

    The Lefties have been flooding out of NY, CA, and other Blue states into Red states. The red states will get more House seats from Blue states but the Lefty votes will be diluted via gerrymandering.

    This might change some Blue states back to a few more GOP seats.

  • vek||

    Maybe. With the split up nature of the house, they might flip some suburban districts in those red states to blue though too... If anything I think Rs will come ahead in the senate, because the blue votes will be gone from blue states, but the red votes will still carry the elections.

    But who knows. It's all so localized it's hard to know until one really digs into particular races.

  • DaveT1000||

    I agree. It seems like most of the swing districts in the House now are relatively affluent suburban areas, and that Trump is a particular liability with white female voters in these areas. That's partially due to particular policy issues such as some of his immigration stances and maybe some his stances on trade, but almost certainly more due to his general demeanor, the insults, the tweets, etc. In some of these districts, the limitations on state and local tax deductions in the tax bill were a campaign issue that hurt Republicans.

    We'll see if those changes stick over time if Trump doesn't win re-election in 2020. It's certainly possible that they could, though I think the Democrats will have their own problems in those districts if the national Democratic Party agenda ends up being defined by the Warren-Sanders-Harris-Booker wing of the party.

  • vek||

    I've never understood the mind of the squishy swing voter... But so help me god, there are a crap ton of them in the USA.

    I think it is definitely Trump's demeanor with a lot of them. The pretentious suburbanite is usually a weak kneed cubicle jockey of some variety... So that somebody is actually brash and don't give a fuck shocks the hell out of them. To working class people, or indeed the ultra wealthy, this isn't much of a shock.

    I'm 99% sure the Democrats have lost control of the SJWs in their party, and they are going to take the reins, and as a result completely hurt their chances... More power to them!

  • shamrock||

    Corey Stewart lost Loudoun County, VA by 29pts. Barbara Comstock only lost by 10. The Trump loving immigrant hater lost yuge.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    What are you babbling about?

    Jennifer Wexton Dem. 206,089 56.2%
    Barbara Comstock* Rep. 160,529 43.8%

  • shamrock||

    Yes, and Corey Stewart only got 34.8% of the vote in Loudoun County in the Senate race. That's a lot of people who voted for Comstock (a sometime Trump critic) that did not vote for Stewart, an enthusiastic Trump supporter.

  • vek||

    And how much of that is demographic change?

    What has been ignored is that in a LOT of these flipped areas, the demographics have shifted RADICALLY in the last few years.

    There's TDS at play too for sure, but some of the seats where I live flipped purely because Progs have been moving into the area in droves. 20 years ago all the surrounding counties were solid red, 10 years ago they were mostly red tilting purple, now they're straight up blue or blue leaning. It had nothing to do with anything, other than demographic changes. The voters moved, the voters didn't change their minds.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Which House district was covfefe in?

  • DaveT1000||

    I'll agree overall that Trump didn't help Cruz, but as someone who lives in Texas and follows the politics here, I take a lot of issue with the idea that immigration/Trump was a decisive factor in why Cruz won only a narrow victory.

    First, the governor (Abbott) made a big issue of getting an anti-"sanctuary cities" bill passed in 2017, and Abbott won re-election by 13 points on Tuesday.

    Second, O'Rourke ran a strong campaign against Cruz and raised a lot of money. I'll agree that Trump was part of the reason for the latter, but O'Rourke simply was a very good candidate and a cut above the other Democratic statewide candidates in Texas in recent years.

    Finally, and probably most importantly, Cruz has his own issues that have nothing to do with Trump. There's an unlikability factor, which contrasted notably with the charismatic O'Rourke (accentuated by O'Rourke running a campaign with positive messaging). The obvious ambitiousness of Cruz after just being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 doesn't play well with some voters: the 2016 presidential campaign as well as his role in government shutdowns prior to that. And Cruz always has had some issues with the "establishment" side of Republican voters in Texas. Cruz was nominated in 2012 only after winning a primary run-off against the then Lt. Governor - where that other candidate beat Cruz by 10 points in the general primary but failed to clear 50% (which results in a run-off between the top two primary finishers in Texas).

  • DaveT1000||

    In short, Cruz - for reasons that have nothing to do with Trump - faced the reality going into this election that a larger than normal number of Republican-leaning voters in Texas were willing to entertain the idea of voting for his opponent in election, and then faced a strong opponent.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online