Although there was no “red wave” in last month’s midterm elections, the Republicans won the popular vote thanks to an unlikely new coalition.
The GOP got all the right voters, just in the wrong places — for now.
Republican candidates outperformed Democrats by three points nationwide in the midterms by turning out the GOP’s rural base while making inroads with nonwhite voters, Nate Cohn, The New York Times chief political analyst, wrote Tuesday.
If the GOP disappointed, it was because too many of its voters were in “deep red” rural districts or in “deep blue” urban ones, and because some Republican voters shied away from hardline “MAGA” candidates, per Cohn.
- “Outside of New York, there was only one competitive House district in any of the states where Republicans outperformed Mr. Trump by at least nine points,” Cohn noted. “None of these states had a competitive Senate race.”
- Republicans’ gains among minority voters were not enough to swing races in heavily Democratic urban areas.
- In pivotal contests that cost the GOP control of the Senate — Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada — a majority of voters backed Republicans for the House, but some withheld support for Senate candidates aligned with former President Donald Trump.
- “Or, put differently: Republicans would have won the Senate, and fairly decisively, if only the likes of Dr. Mehmet Oz or Herschel Walker had fared as well as Republican House candidates on the same ballot,” Cohn wrote.
THE BIG PICTURE
The Republican Party has defied predictions that “MAGA” politics would alienate growing demographic groups, instead making inroads with Democratic-leaning constituencies from 2018–2022, apparently thanks in part to Trump himself.
- Nationally, in 2022 Republicans made gains with women, young adults, Latinos, blacks, and Asians, as well as whites without college degrees.
Like Moses outside the Promised Land, Trump may not be able to take his party the final steps into its potential winning future.
- Even Trump’s critics have credited him with transforming the GOP into something more like a party of the working class, but the failure of his preferred midterm candidates and unrelenting controversy have appeared to dent his prestige.
- According to a USA Today-Suffolk University poll released Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leads Trump by 23 points among Republican primary voters in a hypothetical 2024 matchup.
- 61% of GOP voters said they want a candidate who will continue Trump’s policies, but not Trump himself.