[Ed. – Reason for optimism?]
Results from voting Tuesday showed once again that few things have more power in American politics than an endorsement from President Trump. Empirical evidence proves it.
The Trump endorsement has changed the trajectory of races, given a tailwind to outsiders and unseated one incumbent while saving another. During this election cycle, nearly 90 percent of Trump-endorsed candidates won their primaries or special elections – a powerful record. But the topline doesn’t tell the whole story. The details do.
At the end of July, Iraq War veteran John James, a candidate in the Michigan Republican primary for the U.S. Senate that was held Tuesday, was losing to opponent Sandy Pensler. James began to make headway in the polls by mid-July, leading Pensler by 7 points, but President Trump’s endorsement increased his lead dramatically. Post-endorsement, James jumped in the polls before going on to secure a near 10-point victory in the primary.
Elections throughout the 2018 cycle paint a similar picture. In Georgia’s highly touted congressional special election in June last year, Democrats spent $30 million trying to propel Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff to victory. Prior to President Trump’s June endorsement of Republican nominee Karen Handel, Ossoff maintained a 1-point lead.