Conor Lamb Wins Pennsylvania Special Election
In an election that should have been an easy win for the GOP, Lamb pulls an upset.
On Tuesday, the Democratic Party did what most thought would be impossible. It pulled off a win in a congressional district that President Trump carried by twenty points in 2016. While the win was small, Lamb won by 620 votes, and largely symbolic due to the upcoming midterms and redistricting, its significance cannot be denied. At least, not when it follows the win of Doug Jones for Alabama’s open senate seat. These wins deep in the heart of GOP territory has the party nervous and the DNC riding high.
Now it would be easy to assume that this is a precursor for what is to come this November. All House seats are up for reelection as are 33 Senate seats. However, this alone is not the only factor making the GOP nervous. It must also take into account the number of Republicans who are not seeking reelection. 31 House Republicans are not returning and that leaves the GOP incredibly vulnerable. This number does not take into account the number of Republicans not seeking reelection at state levels and that number is even more troubling.
Democrats have been claiming for almost a year that a “blue wave” is coming thanks to the tumultuous tenure of Donald Trump. Furthermore, as Trump continues to alienate people on both sides of the aisle, that scenario is becoming more realistic by the day. Still, before the DNC starts throwing confetti and the GOP admits defeat, there are other factors to consider.
Quality of candidates.
Late last year as the race in Alabama heated up, things got very interesting very quickly. President Trump pick Luther Strange lost the GOP primary to bombastic Roy Moore. A man many in Alabama saw as a “common man’s Trump” due to his similar style of saying “what was on his mind”. Outlandish stunts at his campaign rallies were not uncommon. Then came the Roy Moore accusers. How much this actually hurt him with conservative voters is unclear but what is clear is Democrats showed up for Doug Jones. Jones was the candidate who hit with southern Democrats.
It was much the same in Pennsylvania. Lamb is a moderate Democrat. He hit on many of the traditional Democrat platforms such as energy, unions, healthcare and medicaid/medicare. However he then begins to deviate. He is a staunch supporter of the second amendment, a tradition Democratic no-no. He is personally pro-life (and willing to tell people he is) though does not believe that should influence legislation. His support for Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff made the DNC blink and he is anti-Pelosi. In most places, his stances would guarantee a DNC loss…except in the Pennsylvania 18th.
He was the right candidate in the right place at the right time. That’s what makes him so scary to the GOP. It is also why the DNC cannot guarantee their “blue wave” just yet.
Blue Wave or Seeing Red?
Both parties have largely become “all or nothing”. It’s a strategy that has largely worked for the GOP in the past but is killing the DNC. Sadly, most in latter party are failing to see the truth right in front of them. They need to embrace more moderate Democrats or Democrats that deviate on certain party platforms. Democrats that actually speak to the voters before them. Most of America is moderate regardless of party affiliation. This new tendency to force candidates to embrace the full platform, even the fanatic ideals, is rapidly diminishing the DNC’s power.
From this perspective, the GOP is also poised to see how their former strategy plays out. With President Trump’s numbers at an all time low and his White House in chaos, the GOP is operating without a strong leader. Even Trump’s stance on policies changes by day. As we head into November, Republican candidates will be at a crossroads. Fall in line with traditional party values? Ride the “Trump train” and hope it pulls the win? Or strike out on their own to find a middle ground.
One thing is certain in all of this. With two wins for the DNC in places there should not have been, November 2018 looks to be even more volatile than the last election.
Congratulations to Congressman Lamb.