2018 Midterms header graphic

A Referendum on Donald Trump 

Aligning with Trump in the Primaries

Hoosiers for Rokita (IN)
"MAGA"  April 9, 2018
Ron DeSantis for Governor (FL)
"Casey" July 2018

To what extent did Republican primary candidates sought to align with Trump?  Trump endorsed or made statements of support on behalf of a number of candidates in the primaries (+), and those candidates used clips, imagery and mentions of Trump in their ads and internet presences.  Other candidates who were not backed by Trump likewise highlighted their support for him.  One of the more dramatic demonstrations of support for Trump came from Rep. Todd Rokita in his unsuccessful primary campaign for U.S. Senate in Indiana; although Trump did not endorse Rokita, for one ad Rokita donned a MAGA hat.  Running in the Republican primary for governor of Florida, Rep. Ron DeSantis ran an ad, narrated by his wife, showing him playing with his young children—building a wall with daughter Madison, reading to four-month old Mason from one of Trump's books, and teaching Madison to read from a "Make America Great Again" sign; the ad closes on Mason in his crib a red MAGA jumper.  In other Republican primary ads, candidates accused their opponents of not being sufficently pro-Trump. 

candidates touting support for Trump...

Kelli Ward for Senate (AZ)
"Pretender" Jan. 12, 2018

Tim Burchett for Congress (TN-2)
ad July 13, 2018

Raúl Labrador for Governor (ID)

primary candidates highlight Trump endorsement...


John Cox for Governor (CA)
facebook video, late May 2018

Lou Barletta for Senate (PA)
"The Lottery Winner" May 1, 2018

Renacci for Ohio
"Jim Renacci: Ohio First" May 2, 2018

In the fall Trump has redoubled his efforts, for example holding 15 rallies in the month of October (+) to help bring his favored candidates over the finish line on Nov. 6.

Democrats Target Trump

Jennifer Wexton for Congress (VA-10)
"Trumpstock"  Oct. 18, 2018
To what extent do Democratic candidates, campaigns and committees invoke Trump...and are those appeals effective in swaying voters?  See  Elena Schneider,  "Trump fades to background of House ad wars," Politico, Oct. 24, 2018.

Northam for Governor (VA)
"Standing"  Nov. 2, 2017

 Villaraigosa for Governor (CA)
web ad June 2, 2018 for June 5 primary (2/3rds size)

DCCC website Sept. 7, 2018 screen grab

...and then there's Nancy Pelosi

     Pelosi Liberals
     Republicans and their allies sought to brand Democratic candidates as "Pelosi liberals."

Congressional Leadership Fund
"Sanctuary Cities"  Feb. 28, 2018
from the Mar.13, 2018 special election in PA-18.
Hoosiers for Rokita (IN Sen.)
"Fight Back"  Feb. 28, 2018
Matt Rosendale for Senate (MT)
"Stepped in It"  May 13, 2018

French Hill for Arkansas (AR-2)
ad, May 16, 2018
Balderson for Congress
"Difference" July 2018
from the Aug. 7, 2018 special election in OH-12