ST. CHARLES, Ill. — Democrats did what was once unthinkable when they flipped two suburban Chicago congressional districts that had been held by Republicans pretty much since World War II.
But the Democratic successes didn’t extend south to the farms and small towns of central and southern Illinois. There, GOP congressmen held on to two other seats Democrats had targeted, including one district that was reliably Democratic until a few years ago.
The same pattern emerged across the U.S.: Democrats captured control of the House by winning in suburban areas such as northern Virginia and communities outside Los Angeles, Detroit and Minneapolis. Republicans fared better in smaller towns and rural areas.
The depth of the divide emerged during 2016, when President Donald Trump was elected. It’s clear he was also the driving factor this year.