By John Solomon
Two election waves — one blue, the other Trumpian — collided on Tuesday night and left the electorate with a split decision that defies history and further exposes the tale of two Americas.
Democrats won control of the House they so coveted, giving them a check on Donald Trump’s hold on Washington and a platform for relentless investigation of their arch nemesis.
But the blue wave Democrats so ferociously sought to build, with record fundraising and relentless Hollywood celebrity endorsements, crashed right into the Trump tsunami we discovered in 2016, which has not yet crested.
As a result, Republicans picked up at least three — it could be as many as five — extra seats in the Senate, expanding their majority in an election in which history almost always imposes losses for the party controlling the White House.
The GOP was poised to hold three of the most cherished statehouses for the 2020 election — Florida, Ohio and Iowa — which will give the party a key advantage when redistricting begins.
And without much fanfare, Republican chief executives in Northeast — once declared as extinct as the T-rex — continued a steady comeback, as popular GOP governors in traditionally Democratic Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont won reelection and were joined by fellow Republican Chris Sununu in New Hampshire.
So what does one make from this muddled election that gave us both Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, the Trump protege in Florida, and likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the bastion of California liberalism?
First, it means America wants some form of divided government when it sees a powerful chief executive, even if they are happy with the economy he has revived.
Second, it means we still have two distinct American electorates, a division first exposed in the 2010 election that gave rise to the Tea Party and then reaffirmed in the 2016 election that dumped Hillary Clinton for a brasher New Yorker.
The blue faction favors college graduates, suburban moms, millennials, minorities and power urban centers like Manhattan, Hollywood and Seattle. It gets riled by Trump’s bad-boy act and stretches to help immigrants — legal or not — along with transgenders, the environment and other progressive causes.
It was those forces that unseated GOP Congressman Dave Brat from a deep-red House seat near Richmond, Va., and kept Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach from claiming the statehouse in perennially red Kansas.
The red segment gathers its strength from those who did not graduate from college, blue-collar white males, evangelicals, Second Amendment adherents and Southerners, all of whom see Trump as someone willing to fight to preserve a way of life that they consider to be under attack from liberal elitists.
The latter saved Ted Cruz from rising-star Beto O’Rourke in Texas, kept Andrew Gillum from the statehouse in Florida, and ousted Claire McCaskill from Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.
These two forces are poised to clash again in two years. And both sides should take note about battle lines that emerged Tuesday night.
Democrats will have a hard time winning statewide races in Middle America states if their candidates propose increased taxes or push for open borders. And they need to find a message in the immigration debate that doesn’t cast those who oppose open borders as racist bigots when, in fact, issues of fairness and security weigh heavily.
And Republicans should learn the Carlos Curbelo rule: The Florida Republican from Miami got dumped after running from Trump. Republicans can’t run from their president in 2020.
Finally, Republicans learned in House races where health care played big that they don’t have a message to counter an increasingly popular Medicare-for-all prescription. They’d better get one before the next election.
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.