Surprise Trump House Victory – Establishment Republicans Lost the House
Looking at the 2018 election results in detail, you will find some surprises including an important and subtle surprise Trump House victory. Contrary to some analyst opinions, Trump did not lose the House. In fact, Trump was not the cause of the loss of the House from Republican control to Democratic control.
Similarly, there’s no reason for the Democrats to celebrate for too long because it is highly likely they will lose control of the House in 2020.
If the Democrats didn’t really win the House and the House wasn’t lost by Trump, what did happen and why?
The Establishment Republicans, also known as the moderate Republicans or the RINOs (Republicans in name only) lost the House. The numbers seem to back up that dramatic claim.
The President’s supporters in the House, the pro-Trumpers, those who supported President Trump’s major policy initiatives enthusiastically, did great. That was a surprise Trump House victory.
How Did the 42 Republican Seats in which the Incumbent Retired or Resigned Do in the Election?
All together 28 House Republicans chose to retire at the end of the current Congress. Another 14 House Republicans chose to resign.
The 42 House Republicans who either retired or resigned can be divided up according to their apparent reasons for their respective decisions:
- There were 6 House Republicans that were going to lose their House Chairperson positions. It’s not fun losing the power and being less influential in the House.
- Another 14 House Republicans in my view appeared to be like Sen. Flake and Sen. Corker in the Senate. They didn’t think they were conservative enough to survive in the long term (not just in the next Congress).
- Another 6 House Republicans were facing potential attacks over so-called scandals.
- Plus, two more House Republicans were dealing with health issues.
- Finally, 14 other House Republicans resigned to seek higher office (for example, Governor or Senator)
Among these 42 House Republican seats, new Republican candidates for office were split 35 to 7 as follows:
- 35 Republican candidates were pro-Trump supporters
- 7 were not strong pro-Trump supporters
How did the seats of these two groups, pro-Trump and not pro-Trump, do in the election?
- The pro-Trump Republicans won 30 House seats and lost 5 seats. Trump won 86% of those seats.
- The not pro-Trump Republicans won 1 House seat and lost 6 seats. Those, who were not pro-Trump supporters, won only 14% of those seats.
Clearly, among vacated House Republican seats, Trump was the big winner. The Establishment Republicans lost.
Why Did the 29 Incumbent Republicans Lose their Seats?
There were 29 incumbent Republicans who lost their seats in the 2018 midterm elections. Why did they lose?
Of the 29, there were 24 incumbents, who were not pro-Trump and who did not strongly endorse President Trump’s policy positions. Those 24 incumbents all lost.
Five incumbents, who did support the President, however, did lose for various other reasons.
Overall, How Did those Who Did Not Support President Trump Do?
If you add up all those who did not support President Trump’s policies strongly, there were 30 House Republican seats lost.
The tally of seats in the new Congress is currently:
- 233 Democrats
- 200 Republicans
- 2 Undecided
If those 30 House incumbents and candidates had supported President Trump enthusiastically and argued for his policies effectively, the results might have been a lot different. It might have turned out this way instead:
- 203 Democrats
- 230 Republicans
- 2 Undecided
What’s the Conclusion (Relative to Long-Range Trends)?
I think the House has had the old Establishment Republican members almost completely removed from office by the American voters. I think they were removed because they did not follow through on supporting their own highly visible promises, for example, “repeal and replace Obamacare.” Plus, these House members did not enthusiastically support the voters’ choice for president.
With this surprise Trump House victory, the conservative long-range trends continue. In the long-range, Establishment Republicans in the House and Senate are losing and Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are winning and replacing them.
What’s the Outlook for the House in 2020?
It will return into Republican hands, and it will be much more conservative. Expect that it will support President Trump more closely in his second term of office.