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.

You make some good points about the candidates running. A favorable environment gets better candidates and an unfavorable one keeps the best ones out. It seems like on the GOP side you have to either be 100% for Trump and never offer any criticism for anything without excusing it or you are considered insufficiently loyal and attacked for it in the primary. As to Alabama, it may be seen that way, but that was abnormality. If the GOP hadn't screwed up with the major blame lying at the feet of Roy Moore, Luther Strange, Mitch McConnell, Robert Bentley, Donald Trump and Richard Shelby, that would have been a safe seat. The allegations against Moore when combined with the fact that 35% of the party hated his guts anyway, keep GOP voters at home and turned out Democrats. Most knew this was the last time in the foreseeable future they would ever have a chance to vote for a winning Democrat Senator and they took it. That said, there is a wave of enthusiasm that favors the Democrats right now. The odds are that they take the House and limit the losses in the Senate to a seat or two (a GOP wave could result in a 60 seat majority, but isn't extremely unlikely). It is unlikely that the Democrats take the Senate. The GOP only has to win 1 of the 12 to 15 contested seats (2 if you include Tennessee). In review of all of the wave elections, a party has never failed to win at least 2 of the "tossup" category when there are more than 5 or 6 "tossup" races. A wave is 8 of 10. The Democrats could have a wave and still not capture the Senate.

"impeached" on what grounds? No crime, no treason, no misconduct in office. (1) Being hated is not an impeachable offense. (2) Bad hair is not an impeachable offense. (3) Icky history is not an impeachable offense. And BTW, being "impeached"means no more than receiving a formal accusation of wrongdoing. Clinton was impeached but not removed from office. Trump won, and the Left is now engaged in a long-term hissy fit in which they can somehow make it all un-happen. Poor deluded babies---but then, delusion is a major component of Leftism. It wouldn't exist without it. "Prefer Pence"? To whom? What would it matter who the Senate prefers? You make no sense, Benjy. Take a breath, take a pill, read the Constitution and get over your snit..


It really comes down to candidates. Good candidate win races and bad candidates lose. The environment will flip close races, but they aren't going to make a bad candidate good and a good candidate bad. When the GOP puts up good candidates like Rubio (a comment on his political skills, not his political positions), they win, even in purple states. Bad candidates can lose in states like Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, etc. One of our biggest problems is that the GOP leadership tries to control who wins the primary. They claim they are trying to keep out the Roy Moore's of the world, but they are really trying to lock the seats up for the corrupt duds, like Luther Strange. There are dynamic conservative candidates that can win the seats and take on the left, not just occupy a seat on the bench of Team GOP. I go back to Alabama because it was such a screw up job by leadership. They went after Mo Brooks with millions of dollars in lying, slandering ads because they knew he was the biggest threat. Moore was more well known and harder to knock out because he had a high floor of loyal support, but he also had a low ceiling, which would make him vulnerable in a runoff. So they effectively damaged Brooks in areas of the state that didn't know him that well (he won the Senate primary in his House District) and got the matchup they wanted. Then the corrupt, lying Luther got beat by Moore. Moore had allegations of sexual assault and relationships with high school girls when he was in his 30s (completely unknown and unreported prior to the general election of this race in spite of some claims otherwise). Then Doug Jones and the Democrats won the seat. Jones didn't run anything on issues, policy, goals, etc. He ran "Roy Moore is a predator" ads and ads that he was a good guy, faithful Christian and prosecuted the Birmingham church bomber. And that was enough. Guys like Cruz, Lee, Cotton, Rubio, etc. would never let that happen because they don't have the personal scandals and have the ability to keep the race focused on messaging.


They really should get Cruz and his people involved. Cruz had the best GOTV effort of any candidate in the GOP primary as a testament to his success despite the media disadvantage and the open hostility of GOP leadership. The GOP would be wise to bring him in to modernize their efforts. However, the GOP is more interested in making sure their pals the lucrative consulting contracts than they are in winning elections.


@Jules @KeremO I think you are misinterpreting @stoney11 's post. He is saying that he Democrats will impeach Trump if they win the House, not that they should or have any grounds to. And then that he only hopes the GOP Senate does not prefer Pence (resulting in them convicting Trump). That action would make the US a banana republic. I took the post to mean removing Trump without any legitimate reason would be bad. He is opposed to that by the post, not arguing for it. And @stoney11 can correct me if I am wrong, but that is how I read the post.

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.