President Trump’s efforts to whip up concern round immigration in the closing days of the midterm cycle could have helped some Republicans clinch wins round the nation.
But in locations like the numerous Denver suburbs, it had the reverse impact.
“We are a part of this nation,” mentioned Saad Salim, who fled Iraq together with his household in 2005 and voted towards Mike Coffman, a Republican congressman representing a swing district the place almost one in 5 residents is foreign-born.
Mr. Coffman had constructed ties to immigrant communities and tried to distance himself from Mr. Trump’s immigration insurance policies, however on Election Day, immigrants in his district from El Salvador, Ghana, Burkina Faso and past mentioned they wished to ship a message about these insurance policies by voting towards Republicans. Mr. Coffman, who had survived various Democratic challenges earlier than, misplaced to his opponent, Jason Crow, by 9 factors.
In the closing weeks of the marketing campaign, Mr. Trump led the Republican Party in pumping out darkish narratives about the risks of unlawful immigrants. Voter surveys and political analysts say the invective appeared to assist Republicans maintain the Senate. But it additionally backfired in locations like Colorado and Kansas, the place some reasonable and extremely educated conservatives felt alienated and broke to the left.
Voters who supported Republicans in the Senate races in Texas, Indiana and Missouri cited immigration as the most essential situation going through the nation, based on CNN exit polls. By distinction, Democratic voters have been extra involved with well being care, gun management and different points.
In CNN’s ballot of the Texas Senate election, 72 % of voters who supported Ted Cruz, the Republican, mentioned that immigration was a significant situation, in contrast with 27 % of the voters who backed his Democratic rival, Beto O’Rourke.
An election-eve survey of congressional battlegrounds by the polling agency Latino Decisions confirmed the variations unfold throughout racial strains, in addition to partisan splits. While black, Latino and Asian voters ranked border safety amongst their lowest considerations, white voters have been extra anxious about it than some other situation other than well being care.
And in locations the place the president’s 11th-hour rollout of harsh proposals to fortify the border resonated with voters, a go to from the president himself appeared to shut the deal for Republican candidates competing in tossup races for Senate in Arizona and Indiana.
Mr. Trump traveled to Indiana thrice in the two months earlier than Election Day, serving to Mike Braun oust the incumbent Democrat, Joe Donnelly. During raucous rallies, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that the Democrats wished to “invite caravan after caravan” of asylum seekers into the United States. He added, “A blue wave will equal a criminal offense wave, and a purple wave will equal legislation and security.”
It was in Indiana the place the president used his finger to attract in the air the center preliminary of his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama, in an obvious nod to “birtherism,” a conspiracy idea over Mr. Obama’s citizenship that Mr. Trump has fueled.
“It’s no shock Joe Donnelly is holding a rally this weekend with Barack H. Obama,” Mr. Trump declared with the added emphasis.
Mr. Donnelly had been seen as particularly weak: The president gained the state of Indiana by 19 factors in 2016. Mr. Donnelly tried to guard himself by veering to the proper on immigration, touting his help for a border wall and for growing cooperation between the police and immigration authorities. Toward the finish of his marketing campaign, he started to name out the “radical left,” hoping to distance himself from the most liberal members of his social gathering.
His makes an attempt weren’t sufficient to fulfill voters. He misplaced to Mr. Braun on Tuesday by a large margin.
But there was a transparent hazard on Tuesday for Republicans working in reasonable battlegrounds who relied too closely on Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda.
In Virginia, Representative Dave Brat aligned himself with Mr. Trump on the border wall and journey ban, and on Tuesday he was narrowly defeated largely due to a backlash from suburban voters. In Pennsylvania, Scott Wagner ended his Republican bid for governor with a marketing campaign advert warning voters that “a harmful caravan of illegals careens to the border” and that the Democratic incumbent, Tom Wolf, was doing nothing to cease it. Mr. Wagner misplaced by almost 17 factors.
Some Republican candidates gained in upset major races by presenting themselves to voters in Mr. Trump’s picture, solely to be rejected in the midterms by the broader vary of voters who turned out, a lot of whom felt alienated by the president’s harsh rhetoric.
Perhaps the starkest instance was in Kansas, a deep purple state, the place Kris Kobach hoped to capitalize on a fame he had constructed over many years as an immigration hard-liner and shut ally of Mr. Trump.
During the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Kobach helped to create a system for monitoring Muslims that was later dismantled by Mr. Obama. He additionally drafted controversial immigration legal guidelines in Arizona that have been enforced by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one other buddy of the president and the recipient of his first presidential pardon.
After investigating voter fraud by unlawful immigrants in his personal state, Mr. Kobach was appointed as vice chairman of Mr. Trump’s fee to research the situation on a nationwide degree. (Neither effort turned up proof of fraud and the president’s fee was later dismantled.)
Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Kobach in his marketing campaign to interchange the Republican incumbent governor of Kansas, Jeff Colyer. But voters rejected Mr. Kobach on Tuesday. In one other race, they picked a Democratic challenger, Sharice Davids, to be the first Native American girl to serve in Congress. The state Republican Party had run advertisements suggesting that Ms. Davids supported unlawful immigration.
“It’s only a whole nightmare for them, utterly pushed by these hard-line insurance policies,” mentioned Todd Schulte, president of the pro-immigration group FWD.us. Mr. Schulte added, “The Republican Party committee spent a ton of cash saying she was for open borders, and it simply didn’t work.”
Within the nation’s more and more numerous suburbs, there was proof that for a lot of voters, Mr. Trump’s closing argument on immigration had gone too far.
Outside Denver, Alaa Shaker, 26, an Iraqi immigrant, mentioned her fiancé had been caught in Jordan for the previous two years and that she had not been capable of get him into the United States. She drew no distinction between Mr. Coffman and different Republicans on immigration.
“Republicans don’t like us,” she mentioned. “They like individuals who seem like them.”
Mr. Crow, the former Army ranger and first-time candidate who defeated Mr. Coffman in Colorado, mentioned he wished the House to carry hearings on the border separations of migrant households and what he referred to as the “harmful insurance policies and really harmful rhetoric popping out of this administration.”
As Moussa Kompoare, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, hustled out of his polling place in Aurora., Colo., he mentioned he was sick of feeling maligned as a legal in the nationwide debate over immigration, and had voted straight Democratic on Tuesday. “They will battle for change,” he mentioned.