November 8, 2018

HOW TO BLOW A BOOM:

How the House Fell: Republican Chaos and Democratic Focus (Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, Nov. 7, 2018, NY Times)

Democrats, in turn, delivered a message about health care with the repetitive force of a jackhammer. They cracked congressional maps drawn to favor Republicans and seized an array of open seats, while also felling longtime incumbents who had grown complacent.

And in the end, President Trump may have delivered the final blow to his party across the diverse and growing metropolitan communities that decided control of the House. In the last weeks of the campaign, Mr. Trump cast aside a positive Republican message about economic prosperity in favor of stoking racial panic about immigration -- with appeals that veered into overt racism, alienating moderate swing voters and further enraging Democrats.

Republicans lost control of the House Tuesday night after eight years in power, with Democrats picking up seats in several suburban districts where the party traditionally did well. But if House Republicans were badly shaken by their defeat, few party leaders were genuinely surprised at the nature of their losses. In interviews with dozens of lawmakers, campaign strategists, activists and donors in both parties, a clear consensus emerged about the arc of the 2018 election.

It was a campaign defined early by Mr. Trump's divisive persona and hard-right ideology, and by Republican leaders' unswerving decision to align themselves with Mr. Trump and his overwhelmingly white, rural base rather than politically vulnerable moderates in Congress who hailed from the country's population centers and represented the political middle.

A campaign of retribution against Republicans who did not pledge fealty to Mr. Trump -- and to Speaker Paul D. Ryan's legislative agenda -- triggered an exodus of senior legislators that opened the way for a Democratic takeover.

Posted by at November 8, 2018 4:00 AM

  

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