2020 Elections Recap: Great Expectations

By Nathan L. Gonzales and Jacob Rubashkin 

Whenever Donald Trump is on the ballot, things don’t go according to plan. It may only be fitting for a year such as 2020 that we’re staring at a strange combination of election results and reaction.

Republicans are taking victory laps while Trump is about to become the first incumbent president to lose re-election in 28 years, Democrats maintained their House majority and gained at least one seat in the Senate. Yet the post-election mood within the Democratic Party is largely funereal.

The GOP euphoria is fueled by potentially keeping the Senate and dramatically overperforming expectations in the House. Those expectations were set by a majority of national, state, and district level polls (partisan and nonpartisan, public and private) which showed the president severely underperforming in nearly every part of the country. With the benefit of election results, it’s clear that the data under-estimated Trump’s support once again.

Rather than taking President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as a reason to turn the page from Trump, most Republicans are grateful for how the current president boosted the party’s prospects down the ballot. Meanwhile the progressive and pragmatic wings of the Democratic Party are back to fighting with each other after accomplishing their collective mission of preventing Trump from getting a second term.

From a 30,000-foot level, our projection that the most likely outcome was a Democratic trifecta in…

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