Some thoughts on PA-18
Unless something changes, it seems as if Conor Lamb has pulled off the second Democratic congressional victory in a row, after Doug Jones' triumph in Alabama.
The race is still too close to call, as absentee ballots are being counted. And Republicans, who never tire of telling us to "get over it, Trump won", are now weighing legal challenges against alleged voting irregularities. As usual, they're not seeing the forest for the trees.
Even if Lamb winds up losing, Democrats still win. This was as safe a Republican seat as you could get. Saccone should have had a cakewalk of it. Instead, Lamb outraised him, and external groups had to pour money into the race for a district that won't exist in November. And they still lost.
The message is clear: If a Trump +20 seat falls to a Democrat, there are almost no safe Republican seats. Republicans in Texas, Florida, California, New Jersey, and Illinois should be quaking in their boots. This race reinforces what we've been seeing since January 2017: a massive shift in votes towards Democrats.
Of course, insert the usual caveats about complacency. But numbers don't lie. Democrats are energized and Republicans aren't. The tax scam is not the panacea Republicans had hoped for, especially as people learn that it's a temporary cut. Donald Trump is weighing down the GOP. He put what political capital he had on Saccone, and it backfired spectacularly. His rally this weekend was much more to fluff up his ego than to secure a victory for Saccone. Any Republican in a tough race this fall should stay as far away from Trump as he or she can. His interventions in Alabama and Pennsylvania have been the kiss of death.
So, have a drink, enjoy the victory, then back to work. We have a country to save.
ADDENDUM: And as I clicked "publish" on this, NBC has called the race for Lamb.
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