1. Two Americas: amplified, tearing apart
The midterms produced a divided Congress that's emblematic of a split America, drifting further apart and pointing to poisonous years ahead.
The net result: Two parties with two wildly different bases and philosophies are pulling farther and farther apart — and are certain to double down on divisiveness heading into 2020.
- The Democratic strategy of targeting women, minorities and the young was vindicated with the new House majority. We saw record liberal turnout in many suburbs.
- The Republican strategy of targeting men, whites and rural voters was vindicated with the larger Senate majority. We saw record conservative turnout in rural Trump country.
Fox News' Karl Rove, the former George W. Bush architect, said: "Let’s be clear. ... Both parties are broken."
- A GOP lobbyist emailed: "Poisonous gridlock. Hemlock?"
Shades of 2016: The blue wave was a lot less ferocious and unanimous than much of the polling, forecasts and commentary had led Americans to expect.
- It's a reminder that, even after all the post-2016 angst, all the supposed experts still don't fully understand the country.
- Republican pollster Frank Luntz told me in a phone interview that there’s a "hidden Trump" vote" of 2% or 3% that refuses to respond to pollsters: "They see it as helping the elite control them."
- Former Obama strategist David Axelrod said on CNN: "I think this is going to prompt a new round of soul-searching about whether and how you can poll accurately ... A lot of these races that were blowouts ... polled as tight."
Be smart: Although President Trump lost the House, he made the midterms about the Senate during his final swing. And the White House feels vindicated by wins in Indiana and — likely — Florida.
- Look for Trump to act like he won re-election, even though he faces a treacherous two years, with Congress and with his own 2020 re-election map.