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Trump hung over midterms like a 'monster' while Republicans appeared 'ill at ease'

The President of the United States dominated the recent midterm elections, looming over them like a "monster" according to a group of US experts at the University of Sussex.

Speaking on the podcast ‘Trump Watch Sussex’, Professor of Politics Paul Taggart said: “Trump hung over these midterms like a monster and dominated the whole process – that’s clearly what he wanted to do.”

The episode discussing the midterm results featured Professor Paul Taggart, Professor Steve Burman, Dr Anne-Marie Angelo and Dr Melissa Milewski - all from the University of Sussex.

With expertise in both US politics and history, the group analysed the campaigns for the elections as well as the results, arguing that Trump was a dominating presence over both, overshadowing his party.

Dr Anne-Marie Angelo, Lecturer in US History, explained: “What Trump has done so effectively is control the rhetoric about what is going on.”

Dr Angelo suggested that by controlling the narrative, Trump successfully distracted voters from what little he had actually accomplished since taking power

Professor Taggart added: “We expect the first midterms to be pretty bad for a president and things weren't hellish for Trump.”

Regarding the state of his party, though, the group were in agreement that things didn’t look good for the Republicans.

Professor of History and Politics Steve Burman described the Republicans as having “had very little strategy in this election”, suggesting that they were merely following Trump’s lead.

Professor Taggart added: "What we see is a Republican party ill at ease with a Republican president. Trump is a very singular individual in that respect."

Hosted by Dr Melissa Milewski, Senior Lecturer in US History, the episode also drew attention to the success of women and people of colour as both candidates and voters, in a year which saw these groups turn out in record numbers for a midterm election.

Dr Milewski said: “Perhaps this is the path forward for the Democratic Party, perhaps even for the presidency in the 2020 election.”

Dr Angelo added: “There’s the potential for the Democratic Party to really capitalize on this idea of women in politics and people of colour in politics and it remains to be seen if they’ll take that forward.

“There’s a really strong counter message to Trump and everything else he represents right now.”



By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Thursday, 15 November 2018