Election Day was, no doubt, a great night for Republicans and for those resisting the progressive agenda. But I think much of the rhetoric about this and past contests is overheated. My view about these matters is primarily structural or cyclical.
It was the sixth year of a two term President and therefore the President’s party was likely to lose a significant number of seats. The President is unpopular and so that makes it even more likely.
Of course, this is not meant to downplay the results. Rather, the point is that the Republicans should have won and probably would have still won (with a smaller victory) even if the President was more popular than he is.
I had a similar reaction to Obama’s reelection in 2012. It is difficult to defeat a sitting President and the economy, while weak, was good enough to allow him to be reelected. He was not challenged in the primaries and there were no other enormous problems that would lead him to be defeated. Still, Romney might have won had he run a more competent campaign – had he, for example, been better in the second debate – but probably that debate did not decide the election.