Iowa, in some ways a political cross-section of the entire country, was a perfect display of the cross-currents in the new Trump political realignment. Democrats won seven new suburban seats in the House, but lost two blue-collar seats to Republicans.
In the Iowa Senate, the GOP actually had a net gain of two seats from the Democrats, again by racking up surprise victories in blue-collar districts. Trump’s persona and his America First policies resonate so well with working class Americans.
Conservative Congressman Steve King triumphed once again over vicious late hits and ambushes, which illustrates the tremendous resilience of those who are most principled. The Republican governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, also won reelection.
The Rust Belt state of Ohio elected a Republican governor, re-elected all its Republican congressmen, and re-elected a supermajority of Republican control over its state legislature. This is a state that President Trump has successfully turned from purple to deep red, after Obama had won it in 2008 and 2012.
With only about 15 months left for the Democrats to coalesce around a presidential contender to run against President Trump, they have no one who can compete with him in middle America. Polls said that Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly would win reelection easily in Indiana, but instead he lost to political newcomer Mike Braun by a wide margin of 6 points, which could have even been a 10-point loss in the absence of the Libertarian Party candidate.
Runaway early voting procedures ensured Republican losses in Arizona, California and Nevada, and there is nothing Trump could have done to avert that. But Trump brought victories where none were expected, such as all-important U.S. Senate seats representing middle America.
The campaign for the presidency starts after the midterm elections, and Democratic contenders are already jockeying for position. But Trump appears invincible in the South, most of the Midwest, much of the Rust Belt, and nearly all of flyover country, which doesn’t leave enough Electoral College Votes for the Democrats to regain the White House.
Trump worked harder in campaigning for his supporters than any president in history, Republican or Democrat. House Republicans would have done better if more candidates had stood strongly with him.