Never Trumpers’ split ballots helped Joe Biden, House GOP win races, analysis finds


Never Trump Republicans’ impact in the Nov. 3 election can be seen in the widespread split ballots that handed wins to President-elect Joseph R. Biden and congressional Republicans, according to an analysis of election results.

In other words, the Never Trumpers won.

“Biden really does seem to be elected by the so-called Never Trump Republicans. They are the people who came out for him,” said Michael Miller, a political science professor at Barnard College.

That helps explain how Republicans picked up nearly a dozen seats in the House, slicing the Democratic majority to the smallest margin in decades even as President Trump lost the White House.

A Fox News Voter Analysis revealed that Mr. Biden won 96% of voters who also cast their ballot for a House Democratic candidate, while Mr. Trump won 93% of voters who also voted for a House Republican.

“That gap seems small, but can be very important in close states,” Mr. Miller said. “One of the conclusions from the data here is that Joe Biden was elected by Republicans.”

There’s also an assumption among political strategists that when turnout is high, it hurts the Republican Party.

Mr. Miller said an analysis of congressional district races in Texas and Florida suggests that was not true in the 2020 election.

“It seems like Republicans can craft a winning coalition there if they are driving turnout in the right places,” he said. “The game, as always, is identifying who those people are who you want to vote for and working hard to get them out.”

Christopher Mooney, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois, reasoned that the turnout was higher than anticipated for both sides because voters had a strong opinion of Mr. Trump, either good or bad.

“To have both sides be so energized is pretty unusual,” he said. “The Democrats just had harder seats to defend, so that is part of it.”

The president had an opportunity to unite the country during a crisis much like President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War or President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression and World War II. Mr. Trump took a different approach.

He could have done photo ops and press conferences with face masks, Mr. Mooney suggested, noting he could have pushed various drives to help combat COVID-19, but he did not.

“COVID was a gift from God to Donald J. Trump. It was exactly what he needed — he needed to demonstrate a level of competence,” he said. “There are a million opportunities for that sort of thing, and he just threw it in the garbage.”

The president’s supporters say he did use the private and public sectors to produce a significant amount of ventilators for coronavirus patients. No patient was left without one, which was not the case in other countries.

Bringing in the private sector also helped produce more personal protective equipment such as face masks.

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed also succeeded in producing a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year, which is a record time for developing a vaccine.

The announcement of the vaccine’s approval, however, arrived after the Nov. 3 election.

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