In PA-18, the R Spin, the D Spin, and the Reality

Both sides have their story and there is some truth to each side, but a really disturbing trend for the GOP.

Pennsylvania 18 was not the blow out predicted. But it should not have been close given that Donald Trump ran up the numbers in that district in 2016. Let me break down for you the spin and the truth.

The Republicans are saying it was close and that's a great thing. They are saying that the Republican, Saccone, was a bad candidate. President Trump had concluded he was a bad candidate before now. Candidates matter. A stronger, better Republican would have done better and even so the race was close. And, by the way, the GOP will say that the Democrat, Lamb, ran as a Republican. He ran as a God fearing Marine patriot.

The Democrat spin is that the GOP is toast, the turn out amounted to midterm level turn out, President Trump won the district by 20%, it is an R+11 district, and momentum is on their side. They will say this is about President Trump.

The reality is closer to the Democrat spin than the GOP. It is true that Saccone was not a good candidate and Lamb is a very telegenic youthful candidate who ran circles around Saccone at the campaign level. But it is also true that this is an R+11 district that Donald Trump won by about 20%. It is also true that the turnout for this special election neared midterm level turnout.

The reality is that a Democratic wave is building in the House. Seats that are suburban and bordering suburban are suddenly in play. The GOP is going to need to be on its A game with a huge and impressive GOTV operation. Unfortunately, the GOP still faces consultant-itis where highly paid consultants get paid whether they win or lose and so have not invested in the tech and data they need to really win. Democrats are hungry for wins and the GOP is not. That's a problem. Also, yes, the President's popularity matters and while you may like President Trump, the most energized voters in America hate him.

Republicans are plugging their ears and singing "La la la, I'm not listening, MAGA MAGA!" even as election losses pile and they're just going to have to learn the hard way (although they're just going to blame vote rigging) since this is all preventable. There's also a failure to picture the level of energy, drive and outrage on the left and I'll take the guess work out of it. Remember how fired up you were in 2010 and 2014 to give Obama the election loss he deserved and effectively shut down his administration? That's how the Democrats are feeling right now. And remember how badly Obama lost running up against it.


I read in comments elsewhere that there are 70,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in this district, yet that Republicans had won the last 8 elections by at least 15 percentage points. If that's true, I think what we see here is influenced by the yearning of nostalgia. The registered Democrats who have either not voted or have recently been voting Republican saw in this attractive young apparently Blue Dog candidate a chance to redeem a small portion of their party, and to send a message that this is the kind of candidate they've been wanting for years. They're telling the Democrat party that if it comes back toward the center, they're ready to hop aboard. Give them candidates they can stomach, and they'll vote against the conservative.

Does it even have anything to do with Trump? Would you want to run for public office in today's "Gotcha" climate? If you're not a Democrat, every microbic thing you may have ever done or said wrong will be run up the flagpole. You, your kids, your family will all be targets for destruction. As a conservative, I wouldn't run for dogcatcher in today's political climate.

If you look at SW Pennsylvania, for the last 30 years at least most of the Democrats sent to Congress were pretty conservative. OF COURSE registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans. They're Union members. But once they get in the booth they don't seem to vote the way the union bosses told them. Furthermore, in this campaign I did not see even one positive ad for the Republican; they were ALL attack ads. Lamb's ads were more balanced; some attacks, but a lot of positive message too.


The Clintons and the Trumps have made their millions selling raw sewage drinks and telling people how refreshing and wonderful they are. Their defenders are of the same feather telling us how good they are for us if we would just hold our noses and drink. Trumps stink was less known before the election. His daily asshattery is gagging as Obama, no one with 2 brain cells is excited about Trump. The sewage from his mouth is going to bring down everyone associated with him. Same as the Clintons they were just more careful and it took longer.