The 2018 midterm elections resulted in record levels of turnout, campaign funding, and the representation of women and minorities in Congress. Moreover, Democrats regained control of the US House of Representatives while Republicans shored up their minimal majority in the Senate. What made such a historic outcome possible? This article examines the candidates, expectations, outcomes, and implications of the 2018 midterm elections. In doing so, it offers an analysis into the primary elections, suggesting that the 2018 midterm results in the House were largely a result of successful nominations of quality Democratic candidates who were able to capitalize on the unpopularity of President Donald Trump despite an otherwise strong national economy. It closes with an in-depth analysis into the implications of the 2018 midterm election on both the incoming 116th Congress as well as the upcoming 2020 Presidential election.
About the authors
Jamie L. Carson is the UGA Athletic Association Professor of Public and International Affairs II in the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia. He is interested in the study of American political institutions with an emphasis on congressional politics and elections, American political development, and separation of powers. His most recent books include Electoral Incentives in Congress with Joel Sievert, Change and Continuity in the 2016 and 2018 Elections with John Aldrich, Brad Gomez, and David Rohde, and The Politics of Congressional Elections, 10th edition (forthcoming) with Gary Jacobson.
Aaron A. Hitefield is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia. He is broadly interested in the US Congress, Congressional Elections, the US Presidency, and Separation of Powers.
We thank Jordan McKissick for assistance with data collection on congressional primaries and Ryan Williamson for helpful comments and suggestions on the paper.
Aldrich, John, Jamie Carson, Brad Gomez, and David Rohde. 2018. Change and Continuity in the 2016 Elections. Thousand Oaks: CQ Press.Search in Google Scholar
Byers, Jason, and Jamie L. Carson. 2018. “What’s Rules Got to Do with It? Parties, Reform, and Selection in the Presidential Nomination Process.” In Changing How America Votes, edited by Todd Donavan. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Search in Google Scholar
Carson, Jamie, Michael Crespin, Carrie Eaves, and Emily Wanless. 2012. “Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in Primary Elections for the U.S. House.” State Politics & Policy Quarterly 12 (June): 127–145.10.1177/1532440012438892Search in Google Scholar
Hopkins, Daniel J. 2018. The Increasingly United States: How and Why American Political Behavior Nationalized. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.10.7208/chicago/9780226530406.001.0001Search in Google Scholar
Jacobson, Gary C. 1989. “Strategic Politicians and the Dynamics of U.S. House Elections, 1946–1986.” American Political Science Review 83 (September): 773–793.10.1017/CBO9780511816406.010Search in Google Scholar
Jacobson, Gary C., and Samuel Kernell. 1981. Strategy and Choice in Congressional Elections. New Haven: Yale University Press.Search in Google Scholar
Jacobson, Gary C., and Jamie L. Carson. 2016. The Politics of Congressional Elections. 9th ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Search in Google Scholar
Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter. 2017. “Trump, Condorcet, and Birda: Voting Paradoxes in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries.” European Journal of Political Economy 50.Search in Google Scholar
Sides, John, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck. 2018. Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.10.1515/9781400888306Search in Google Scholar
©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston