For this timeline, I would like to first look at the fallout from the 2016 general election. Then I will look at the 2017 elections, in order to provide a greater context for the midterms and for Democratic successes and failures in the age of Trump.
As I discussed in my Rift on the Left series, the Democrats had lost 1,042 seats across the country from 2009 to 2017, so the party had lots of ground to cover. The Democrats were provided a few openings in the first half of 2017, as Donald Trump plucked four congressional Republicans to join his cabinet. However, Democrats went 0 for 4 in the special elections where they tried to flip those seats.
The latter half of 2017 offered much more promise. As Democrats picked up in fundraising, individual candidates began to outraise Republicans. Also, November 2017 saw a host of Democratic and progressive victories across the country, even in places where Democrats were not expected to win. These victories gave Democrats a lot of momentum, which was met by a series of Republican retirements in Congress.
With that understood, let’s look at the events of late 2016 and the elections that occurred in 2017.