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Democrats won popular vote by massive margins:

Senate Races: D = 46,233,083, R = 33,654,038 = D +12,579,045

House Races: D = 51,706,917, R = 47,478,706 = D +4,228,211

(Source: New York Times, incomplete returns)

“This was, in fact, a very good election for Democrats,” a CNN commentator wrote Friday. A typical election night analysis was that voters “delivered a split decision,” but votes are still being counted, and several high-profile races that looked like GOP wins either have gone to the Democrats or are in doubt. In Montana, Sen. Jon Tester came from behind to win re-election; Krysten Sinema has pulled ahead in Arizona’s Senate race; and in Florida, the Senate and governor races are headed for recounts.

So far, Democrats — with a House majority already assured — have gained 30 House seats and lead in 5 more, their best showing since Watergate, and the final total might go over 40. In the Senate, if Sinema wins and Nelson survives in Florida, Republicans will pick up only 1 seat — and that could turn into none if a Democrat somehow wins Mississippi’s special election next month, although the most likely final outcome is still Nate Silver’s pre-election forecast of a GOP 2-seat gain. That’s not bad, considering Democrats had to defend 26 seats to the GOP’s 9, and all of their losses were in states handily carried by Trump. The GOP did not flip a single blue-state Senate seat, whereas the Democrats may have flipped 2 red-state seats.

At the state level, Democrats picked off at least 7 GOP-held governorships, and potentially as many as 9, if they ultimately win in Florida and Georgia. They knocked off two high-profile conservatives, Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Kris Kobach in Kansas, and reclaimed Illinois and Michigan. The victory that Republican Brian Kemp claimed on election night in Georgia still could go to a runoff, giving Democrat Stacey Abrams another shot at pulling that chestnut from the fire. Democrats also flipped hundreds of legislative seats and won control of legislatures in 7 states.

This isn’t saying the 2018 midterms were a Democratic sweep. They weren’t. Republicans generally held on in their strongholds. The Democrats lost 3 incumbent senators and high-profile races in Ohio and Texas, although hoping to beat Ted Cruz was a reach. But Beto O’Rourke gave Cruz a good scare, and emerged from his narrow loss in a deep-red southern state as a potential Democratic superstar.

Many Democrats initially felt disappointed that this election wasn’t a clearcut repudiation of Trump. But when you look at the nationwide aggregate vote totals above, it was. The national popular vote doesn’t decide a single election, but it’s an accurate measure of public sentiment. And in those terms, this election showed there is, in fact, a popular revolt underway against Trump, Trumpism, and a Republican Party that has embraced a man of no character and his toxic brand of politics without reservations.

Finally, as a thought exercise, Nate Silver calculated what the 2020 electoral vote would look like based on each state’s 2018 House election returns. His answer: Democrats 314, Republicans 224. (Click here for details.)


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