If Mr. Sanford suffered in June for his apostasy, Mr. Trump’s social gathering paid one other worth Tuesday: Ms. Arrington misplaced the common election in a closely Republican district to Joe Cunningham, a Democrat.
Mr. Trump’s capricious strategy to politics was destabilizing for Republicans up and down the poll, leaving candidates uncovered to the president’s whims and grievances and the machinations of White House advisers. Rather than approaching the midterm marketing campaign as a job of holding collectively a political coalition and steering it to victory, Mr. Trump centered mainly on rewarding perceived associates — and punishing those that crossed him.
He helped drive two senators, Mr. Corker and Mr. Flake, into retirement, castigating them in humiliating phrases on-line and driving up their unpopularity with Republicans. In gubernatorial elections, Mr. Trump helped anoint extremely divisive nominees in states like Florida and Georgia — the place the nationwide G.O.P. needed to burn hundreds of thousands staving off defeat — and Kansas, the place Mr. Trump’s favored candidate, Kris Kobach, was defeated by a Democrat, Laura Kelly.
In different instances, Mr. Trump’s associates lashed out at Republican candidates who didn’t prostrate themselves sufficiently. When Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa issued a supportive assertion a few renegotiated commerce take care of Canada and Mexico, a White House aide sharply rebuked a strategist for Ms. Reynolds’s marketing campaign — as a result of the governor didn’t reward Mr. Trump by identify in her remark. And due to the perceived slight, Mr. Trump’s aides dropped plans for the president to headline a fund-raiser for the governor, as a substitute insisting that the occasion be held for the Iowa Republican Party.
The president’s relative political inexperience additionally left him open to manipulation by aides and allies with agendas of their very own. When a bunch of lawmakers and White House aides lobbied Mr. Trump to endorse Representative Raul Labrador, a hard-liner working for governor in Idaho, supporters of a competing candidate, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, sprang into motion. They assembled footage of Mr. Labrador criticizing Mr. Trump throughout the 2016 main, when he was backing Senator Ted Cruz, and steered it to the West Wing.
The endorsement was off. The day after Idaho’s main, Mr. Trump phoned the triumphant Mr. Little and, unaware of the tape’s genesis, requested: “Did you see that video?”
And in some instances, Mr. Trump upended his social gathering’s well-laid plans, solely to vary his thoughts or lose curiosity. In Florida, he endorsed Ron DeSantis, a member of Congress who defended him often on Fox News, for governor. Yet when Mr. DeSantis broke with the president, over Mr. Trump’s false declare that the loss of life toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria had been nefariously inflated, the president turned on his handpicked candidate.