by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
National Republicans were fearing the worst, since they have frequently found themselves powerless to stop primary candidates who jeopardized winnable general elections — in fact, their opposition only seemed to make these candidates stronger. Some of these Republicans put Trump himself in this category.
Trump won, of course, receiving more electoral votes than former President George W. Bush and carrying states that hadn’t gone Republican since Ronald Reagan was president. But many populist upstarts struggled mightily, culminating in Judge Roy Moore losing a Senate race to a conventional liberal Democrat in the overwhelmingly Republican state of Alabama.
If Tuesday night’s Republican primary winners were not like Moore, they were not exactly rejecting Trump either. …
… Republicans are now hopeful Tuesday night’s results put them in a good position to pick up Senate seats in the states Trump won easily in 2016, despite a tough national environment and scandals swirling the White House.
“Tonight is a great night for the Majority,” tweeted National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Chris Hansen. “Maybe it’s time to do fewer deep dives on [Ted Cruz’s Democratic challenger] Beto [O’Rourke] and more pieces on all of the VERY vulnerable Democrats on the map in 2018.”
Republican primary voters may not have opted for the Trumpiest nominees. They settled for just Trumpy enough to possibly win.