The realignment is consolidating. Republicans won in solid Donald Trump states. Democrats won in solid Hillary Clinton states.
There were exceptions: Senator Joe Manchin won another term in West Virginia despite being a Democrat. But the states where the presidential election of 2016 was the tightest are the ones still figuring out who and what they are.
There’s Ohio, which easily reelected Sherrod Brown, a liberal who’s been in politics for 50 years, to a third term in the U.S. Senate. On the same night, it narrowly made the Republican Mike DeWine the state’s governor. There’s Florida, which proved that sheer numbers outweigh movement enthusiasm in making Ron DeSantis, a Republican, the governor over Andrew Gillum. And there’s Iowa, which knocked out two incumbent Republicans in the House as it reelected GOP Governor Kim Reynolds, who has been running a stringently spending-cutting administration. Most Democrats in Iowa and Washington, D.C., had for weeks been expecting Reynolds to go down hard.
Democrats woke up Wednesday deflated, despite winning the House, and worried about the way forward in Ohio and, especially, Florida. Like two years ago, the voter surge in Florida had them thinking they were on their way to big wins, only to realize late that they’d lose instead. Republicans, though, did not lock in at nearly the levels that could make Trump’s reelection campaign breathe easy. And with Democrats scoring layup statewide wins in Minnesota and Colorado, the president didn’t show any expansion into states where his campaign has said it wants to compete. Trump didn’t show up in Michigan or Pennsylvania, and Democrats trounced Republicans there in races for the Senate, for governor, and all the way down the ticket. Liberal Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin skated to another term in Wisconsin and the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, went down in what was both a significant electoral and moral win for Democrats.