Analyzing the Election

While the Republicans did not win the presidency, this election was far from a loss for them. With gains in the House and a strong chance at winning the Senate, the Republican ideology is far from lost and shows promise for the future.

Graphic by Cate Roser ’21/Staff

Despite running against a media that aggressively smeared him, Donald Trump managed a remarkably successful campaign. Trump won levels of support among Latinos, African Americans, and Jews unheard of for a Republican in decades. For example, the heavily Latino and Jewish congressional district 27 of Florida, which includes Miami, voted for a Republican congresswoman, and almost voted for Trump: 51-48 percent. Half of Florida Latinos voted for Trump, and over a third voted for Trump nationally. For comparison, Hillary Clinton carried the district by twenty percentage points. Former swing states Ohio, Iowa, and Florida—all states won by Barack Obama—became red states. States once considered part of the Blue Wall—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and, to a lesser degree, Minnesota—have now solidified their swing state statuses. It was thought that Trump carrying these states in 2016 was nothing more than just poor campaigning by Hillary Clinton. But each of these states were still incredibly close. Additionally, many so-called statisticians thought that Texas was in play this election, but Trump managed to hold Texas by a sizable margin. Poll after poll was wrong again, often by double digit margins; clearly little had been fixed from 2016. But Trump’s remarkable success against a predicted Biden sweep pales in comparison to the real winners of the election: House and state Republicans.

Not a single Republican incumbent lost an election in the House. In addition, Republicans have netted ten seats in the House, and are currently leading in the final two seats to be called—both Democratic districts. Republicans also managed to hold on to every previously held state legislature, on top of flipping two chambers. With redistricting coming up, Republicans may be able to create better election maps for themselves. Republicans also managed to hold every governor race and flip Montana’s governor red. Republican success down the ticket shows that the election was neither a blue wave nor a referendum against conservative principles. 

Trump, however, will one day end up the biggest winner. He will be treated the same way George W. Bush is now. George W. Bush was treated terribly by the media, called a war criminal, an idiot, and even a Nazi. But the moment the next Republican came along, the media was quick to call the newest Republican a racist, or some other sort of “ist.” The media almost immediately took back their comments on Bush, who suddenly became a “calm, rational, normal” conservative. The same thing happened with John McCain and Mitt Romney. It has also happened to George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, who were both ridiculed by Hollywood and the media. The Democrat-led Lincoln Project praised H.W. Bush, and Obama praised Reagan. Suddenly they became “normal” once a new Republican came along. Just as George W. Bush is now celebrated in comparison to Trump, so too will Trump one day be considered “rational” in comparison to future Republicans: as is already happening with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Nikki Haley. Of course, this will not be the case if Trump runs again, but FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver might lose some more hairs over screwing up another election prediction.