Ted Cruz seemingly benefitted from the structural electoral benefits that Republicans get pleasure from in Texas — in addition to a wholesome dose of political tribalism. However because of his charisma and sharp political instincts, O’Rourke has made a considerable affect on Texas politics. He’s well-positioned to problem Sen. John Cornyn, and even take into account a presidential run. Likelihood is, we’ve not heard the final from Beto.
Jennifer L. Lawless: Three classes from Texas 23
Republican incumbent Will Hurd’s win over Gina Jones in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District race demonstrates three necessary classes in regards to the midterms.
First, TX-23 is without doubt one of the 23 Home districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, however which despatched a Republican to Congress. Each events had been laser-focused on this 12 months’s race as a result of it was prime actual property to flip. The truth that the GOP held it but the Democrats nonetheless discovered a path to regulate the Home highlights the significance of broadening the electoral map. A loss in TX-23 would have been devastating for Democrats had fewer districts been in play.
Second, a compelling profile can solely take a candidate up to now. Gina Jones’ background was a progressive Democratic voter’s dream come true. She’s younger. She’s homosexual. She’s a lady of coloration. She’s an Iraq Struggle veteran. However even when she motivated and energized Democrats, there weren’t sufficient of them within the district.
Third, Hurd’s win is not synonymous with a Donald Trump victory. Hurd is not a Trump acolyte. He differs from the President on DACA and the border wall (not stunning provided that the district is 55% Hispanic). And as a former CIA official, he is condemned the administration for the way it dealt with Russian interference within the 2016 election. Hurd did not embrace Trump and managed to eke out a win, most likely to the president’s chagrin.
TX-23 reminds us that even in a nationalized election, some politics are nonetheless native.
Jennifer L. Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics on the College of Virginia.
Julian Zelizer: Trumpism was victorious in Tennessee
Tennessee produced an necessary victory for Trumpism, a Republican agenda that revolves round nativism, tariffs and nationalism — in addition to an unorthodox fashion of governance. The state’s Senate race was perceived by each events as an excellent take a look at of what sort of affect Trump was having in territory that was pleasant to him in 2016.
Democrats had been hoping that the previous governor, Phil Bredesen, a reasonable and beloved politician, may defeat the conservative Consultant Marsha Blackburn, an in depth ally of Trump.
If the Senate stays in Republican arms, the administration and the Republican management will definitely learn into the outcomes indicators that the final month’s aggressive partisan technique labored — play to the bottom, be as rightward as attainable and don’t cede something to moderation.
The message from Tennessee may also impact Democrats, as they begin sorting via what sort of candidates they need to run in 2020 — with an inevitable battle between those that favor centrists and people who need progressives. Bredesen’s incapacity to tug off a victory in Tennessee means there’s little hope that anybody else within the celebration can.
With Tennessee, even in a night when Republicans suffered in swing Home districts, rating one for Trumpism.
Jeff Yang: By no means underestimate a well-run Democratic marketing campaign
In an evening the place the Democratic Social gathering’s hope for a blue tidal wave was tempered by a redder-than-expected actuality, Antonio Delgado’s victory in New York’s 19th Congressional District was a sterling instance of how the standard mixture of an interesting candidate, methodical grassroots organizing, and, in fact, an ample warfare chest continues to be the components for achievement in demographically difficult areas.
Republicans tried to struggle him by taking part in the racial worry card, working an advert referring to Delgado as an ex-rapper whose profane lyrics and left-wing politics confirmed him to be out of contact with the values of the neighborhood — obscuring Delgado’s standing as a Harvard-educated lawyer and Rhodes scholar.
The adverts could have backfired; in any case, they led to articles shaming Faso’s clumsy try at race-baiting within the New York Occasions, Washington Publish, New York journal and native papers just like the Occasions-Union. This allowed Delgado to keep away from immediately responding to the assaults, whereas specializing in extra pertinent issues for the district, akin to well being care, a subject on which Faso, who had voted to kill Obamacare, was already weak. The victory polishes Delgado’s standing as a possible rising star within the Democratic Social gathering — which the celebration wants, given its lackluster bench going ahead into 2020 and past.
Jeff Yang is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion, a featured author for Quartz and different publications, and the co-host of the podcast “They Name Us Bruce.”
Scott Jennings: Progressives can’t win in Kentucky
Republican incumbent Andy Barr in Kentucky’s sixth Congressional District discovered himself in a dogfight with Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot who got here house to storm her major and provides Democrats hope in a district that covers Kentucky’s stunning bluegrass area.
However Barr introduced in a wingman — President Donald Trump — and defeated McGrath in one of many closest congressional races in latest Kentucky historical past.
Republican turnout within the district’s rural counties overcame McGrath’s robust displaying in Fayette County, the city coronary heart of the district. There was some Republican handwringing over whether or not Barr ought to cleave so intently to Trump, however the marketing campaign made the proper name and used the President in simply the fitting means, giving Barr his glad touchdown.
This marketing campaign confirmed the worth of opposition analysis. Insiders say McGrath had a double-digit polling lead in the course of the summer time, however crashed again to earth when the Barr marketing campaign unleashed tapes of her speaking to liberal donors at out-of-state fundraisers.
McGrath’s robust displaying may make her a participant for a future contest, maybe a state workplace in 2019 or a run for US Senate in 2020 or 2022 when senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul subsequent face the voters, respectively. However given the injury the opposition analysis did to McGrath’s picture in a purplish district like Kentucky’s sixth, it is onerous to think about her phrases taking part in any higher all through the redder parts of Kentucky.
Trump will likely be on the high of the ticket in 2020, and his alliance with McConnell will make it onerous for any self-professed progressive to beat the President and Senate majority chief in a state that is among the many most receptive to the #MAGA agenda.
Jen Psaki: Generally the nationwide celebration will get it proper
On an evening when Texas despatched Ted Cruz again to the Senate, his opponent nonetheless made a major contribution to a giant democratic night time. Beto O’Rourke’s grassroots turnout operation,and energizing message helped convey extra Democrats to the polls and helped Lizzie Fletcher defeat John Culberson in Texas’ seventh Congressional District.
Fletcher ran a wise race centered on well being care and Culberson’s votes to repeal the Reasonably priced Care Act. And she or he efficiently appealed to the anger and frustration of girls within the Houston suburbs, together with impartial and Republican girls, who had been wanting to ship a message to President Donald Trump.
This race additionally confirmed that, as soon as once more, Democrats can come collectively after a bruising major contest — even one the place the nationwide celebration ham-handedly weighed in with opposition analysis towards the first candidate they considered as weaker. Whether or not or not it was the fitting tactic, the Democrats ended up with the nominee they needed and a nominee who gained a vital southern seat.
Robby Soave: It is robust on the market for third-party candidates
Former Gov. Gary Johnson got here up properly brief in his third-party bid for New Mexico’s Senate seat — a well-known end result for the Libertarian presidential aspirant.
It is robust on the market for third-party candidates. Dissatisfied voters who plan to spurn the 2 main events usually come round and forged a lesser-of-two-evils vote for one or the opposite. Johnson, for example, was polling at 10% at numerous factors in 2016, however the closing tally — whereas nonetheless the strongest displaying for a third-party candidate since Ross Perot — was simply over 3%.
Johnson’s loss just isn’t surprising, but it surely’s nonetheless a pity. An impartial senator keen to problem Trump and the Democratic Social gathering would have been a welcome change of tempo. Alas, the two-party duopoly is hard to interrupt, regardless of what number of People would like a greater variety of selections.
Haroon Moghul: Ojeda represented one thing uncommon
I needed Richard Ojeda to win, not simply because he’s a Democrat, however as a result of he represented one thing as necessary as it’s uncommon. A one-time Trump supporter, the army veteran switched sides, not out of crass political calculation — West Virginia, whose third Congressional District he ran in, is clearly not a blue state — however out of real conviction. He believed, and rightly, that the President was not conserving his guarantees, that his fellow West Virginians had been higher represented by a celebration that cared for and fought for them. Ojeda represented, in different phrases, the potential of partisan fluidity.
It might be that, in a district the place he had little, if any, reasonable probability of victory, there is no such thing as a bigger lesson to be realized. It could possibly be, although, that this speaks to a disquieting impediment; that, come 2020, Democrats will likely be doomed by a horrible trinity: gerrymandering, an Electoral School that slights majorities and celebration loyalty unattainable to transcend.
However in the identical state the place Ojeda misplaced to Carol Miller, the state Trump gained by a whopping 42%, Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin held on. Nonetheless, Manchin voted to substantiate Kavanaugh. That is one other type of partisan fluidity.
Watch out what you would like for.
Haroon Moghul is Fellow in Jewish-Muslim Relations on the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, and creator of “Find out how to be a Muslim: An American Story.”