The Republican versus Democrat split in the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District special election shows a virtual tie between Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb, with Lamb with the slight edge.
It was a district that President Donald Trump carried by 20 points, but on the other hand, is one with a slight voter registration advantage for Democrats.
It’s also a district that is being eliminated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s latest redistricting scheme. Come November its geography won’t matter for the Congressional midterms.
So, what is the takeaway from this race? President Trump’s trade policies remain overwhelmingly popular in Pennsylvania.
Beneath the razor thin margin between the two parties is an overwhelming consensus in western Pennsylvania in favor of Trump’s call for “fair and reciprocal” trade. A mandate. Trump owes his presidency to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, and the silver lining in this result is that he should be in solid shape in these states headed into 2020. Trump remains popular in the district.
Both candidates nominally backed Trump’s 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, with more than 99 percent of the vote going to the candidates who favored trade protection.
If there was a candidate in favor of the globalist position on trade, it was Libertarian candidate Drew Miller, who drew less than 1 percent of the vote. In western Pennsylvania, there is almost no constituency for that line.
If Saccone had not adopted the Trump position on trade, and if Trump and the national party had not come to the rescue for the campaign for funds and crowds, he would have been shellacked.
Also at play was Lamb’s more moderate stance on the Second Amendment and at least a professed pro-life stance on abortion compared to other Democrats. He ran on infrastructure and jobs and used union politics to his advantage. That plus an energized Democrat base — always the case for opposition parties when the midterms come around — made a huge difference for Lamb.
It tells Democrats how they might want to run their races in 2018, running more Blue Dog, Joe Manchin-style Democrats that were once prevalent in their caucus. Time will tell how that plays out in the coming months, as the national Democrat party moves further to the left.
For Congressional Republicans, who in Washington, D.C. remain deeply divided on Trump’s trade politics — unlike Republican voters who support it decisively — there is a tougher slog. They do not have much of a record on the issue, and their rhetoric following Trump’s announced tariffs sounded nominally like outright opposition.
White House Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn resigned over the issue.
Could that gut reaction by the GOP establishment against the President have made a difference in Pennsylvania? By all accounts, Saccone was an underwhelming candidate who lacked fundraising ability, organization and did not have any momentum to speak of until Trump came to the district the weekend before the election.
If you were a voter on the fence in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, Saccone’s appeals could have sounded insincere. His campaign website and letter does not even mention the trade issue. The material hardly mentioned jobs, either. Instead it was more a boilerplate Republican platform, not something tailor made for Pennsylvania.
To win, Saccone needed to pick up many of the Democrat votes that Trump carried in 2016, bringing the Trump base out but also having that crossover appeal that helped Trump win in Pennsylvania. Again, in this district, Democrats had a slight voter registration edge. This could have been an easy win but it required more targeting of Democrats and Independents who have voted Republican in the past few election cycles. Remind voters that Democrats have not delivered on their rhetoric.
At the end of the day it’s about in-roads. In Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, Lamb with a more moderate platform was able to bring Democrat votes home in a more conservative area. The lesson for Republicans in 2018 is to pay attention and in these swing districts build their coalitions beyond the traditional Republican base the way Trump did in 2016, and rally to the President, or pay the price in November.
So??? We are all good with Trump’s new economic advisor being an alcoholic and coke head, right??!
A wack job writer writing about a wack job president.
Wow, used wack twice and it’s in your name, d’ya really thinking you’re a net plus on the discussion? But you’re right though, he is the President.
Frankly, I don’t think predicting how the midterms will go is a practical activity. This is not a horse race. If you are placing bets instead of figuring out which positions deserve your support (because they are morally upright), you are not behaving as a good citizen should behave.
We’re wallowing in the comment section of a political blog, we’re practically screaming our impracticality.
We wish we could support positions deserving of support — lookittme, I’m actually going to have to successfully argue that Babs is Trumpier and more Republican than Shak!!
Political campaigning in this region has got to be some kind of punishment for transgressions in a past life, probably New Deal or Teapot Dome.
“We wish we could support positions deserving of support — lookittme, I’m
actually going to have to successfully argue that Babs is Trumpier and
more Republican than Shak!!”
That’s suppose to inspire sympathy, the fact you have to say something that is not true?
Is commenting on a political blog a waste of time? The depends upon who we spend our time conversing with. Conversation with some people is more valuable than with others.
No, very true. The sympathy should come from Shak making Babs the best nominee in the race.
Commenting on a political blog is a splendid exercise of time, the sharing of enlightened opinion, the elucidation and pleasant interaction of calmly and rationally reaching an intellectual pinnacle of agreement is totally rewarding and positively enriches everyone who is fortunate enough to read what I write.
I am a national treasure and I literally vomit up true pearls of wisdom, ask around.
Comstock can assure herself a win if she promises a vote for impeachment. So far she isn’t commenting.
I’d put money on Shak voting for impeachment before Barbara would (the Trump-Hate is verra strong in him.) It’s a perfect storm primary, dems tied up in a fight, low historical turnout, mostly conservatives running for Senate, Babs has had a couple of terms of being Babs — perfect opportunity for a decent Conservative Republican electable candidate… and we draw RINO incumbency protection. If the libs had a few more on the Supreme Court, we coulda elected an inflatable Punchinello to Congress in this district.
Agreed, not a practical activity. Besides, their outcome of the midterms is increasingly apparent.
The RPV has a choice: Compete for the average Virginian’s support, or continue the current policy of telling the average Virginian what the average Virginian should support.
This latter approach is more akin to preaching and less useful for electoral politics. It’s passed for politics for many years in these parts, which worked when it coincided with the interests of the average Virginian. Now, not so much.
This past election the R candidate said that he would cut DPOR Regulations and that would spur job growth.
I don’t know of any DPOR regulations that I adhere to if cut would cause me to employ more people.
I reached out to local R’s, the campaign and those on this site, I asked;
What would be the expected number of jobs created?
Would these regulatory cuts just shift jobs from employers that are adhering to the regs to a different form of employment or demographic of employees?
I have employeed for over 30 years only in the Commonwealth. I thought all these questions to be reasonable but not one soul would answer.
I honestly think there was no answer.
I do not not support blind dart throwing employment or economics.
Is it wrong for me to expect any less out of a candidate or those who support him with so vigorously?
I can only give the transient college student volunteer a free pass.
It will be an interesting Republican Primary in Virginia.
Will Stewart or the other Republican finally speak of how the Va. AFLCIO has bailed on the Va. worker and should be renamed the MFLCIO?
Perhaps you should go to the debate at 11AM this Saturday in Richmond and see what they have to say about the subject.
Oh I would love to but unfortunately I Coach 2 youth ball teams a total of 23 boys all conservative families that is a whole lot of votes I am trying to swing to Stewart.
On the Va. AFLCIO pretty interesting that D received her post via Kaine only after working for Boucher.
Then Ray Davenport the Ex AFLCIO Lobbyist became the Commissioner of DOLI.
And we all know how both are protecting the immigrant employee at the Union not the Virginian.
But then again I am a nativist hillbilly one note wonder.
Your priorities are very much in order — much better use of time and best payout in the long run. — We have some good candidates this year, entertainment seems to be saved for the house races though. All politicians have a certain sheen of slime to them, it goes with spending so much time trying to be all things to all people. I think that all of our guys would see your position and realize how critical your issues are to the Commonwealth. But I think that Corey has that streak of Trump in him, (or Trump has a streak of Corey) that will press that issue to a satisfactory resolution. He will listen and he will do what’s right. That’s what puts him at the top of the list for me. And he’s not afraid to fight to win — at whatever level is necessary. BTW, we require one helluva lot of one note wonders to make beautiful music.
I firmly believe that Corey would be 100% “Comprehensive” not just use the word 100% of the time. He is the person to look open to thoughts on dynamics that are involved in the Commonwealths particular situation.
And Corey seems to be the only guy who can and will jam his thumb into their eye.
With a kinder worded approach (for the thinned skinned) thumb in the eye will be successful.
Always be tenacious.
I am unable to go to the debate since I will be working at the Hampton Gun Show this weekend.
Have heard that Hampton Roads Republicans gathered over 3,500 signatures for Corey Stewart. He is “The Man” in this area.
Well I am fully in support of Corey.
Northam is to cozy with the AFLCIO instead of the Virginia workers , something fishy is happening and it is not right.
During the first two years of the McAuliffe Administration VOSHA/DOLI fines were piling up and unpaid this is why July 1st 2015 the policy change also included the fines be passed on to the Licensed General Contractor so as the documentation would not remain visible as illegal alien labor.
This is easy enough to see through FOIA request.
What am I missing? Didn’t Republicans just lose in PA in a Trump+20 district? Doesn’t seem like much of a ‘winner’ to me.
Both candidates in this particular race ran on Trump’s agenda. Now let’s see whether Republicans or Democrats will want to run on his agenda as well.
So Trump agenda now includes support for Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, and abortion rights. Got it.
Losing election in district previously carried by 20+ equals “Trump’s … big winner.”
Only on TBE.
Agree, except the part about TBE.
A different take from a man who is dumb as a box of rocks;
Ford F-150 plant leaves Virginia, no issue with anyone but the workers.
F-150 doesn’t get cheaper but is an excess of $50,000.00
Alcoa who supplies the aluminum lays off 500 employees , why?
A Marine beats a Republican in PA, trade is part of his campaign and the incumbent is stale and dry as a popcorn fart.
Who looses out on the tariffs? Maybe
Republicans like that Brian fellow at the Bearings Adrift , a Maritime Union lawyer.
So is this loss to blame Trump or the Republicans that must need a pledge to support him and UAW Virginia Workers and American Aluminum producers?
I will support the worker on our shores rather than the minimal amount of Union Shipping importers.
RPV needs new ideas, loyal ideas , if not every day is another nail in their own coffins.
Perhaps Pro- American candidates.
Of course as he never takes a stance on an issue for more than one or two tweets, ANY agenda can be a Trump agenda.
Assuming standard GOP = Trump in an equation has not paid off in any election since The President was elected. DJ Trump is doing the job that none of our nominees could and/or would do.
Look no farther than our own tri-unit area with our stellar motley crew of #never delegates, contributors, and luminaries. Nothing turns out the Trump vote more than some party vocalists publicly nevering all over themselves…. Worked for the last election right?
Lamb won because he ran as a conservative Democrat – not giving into the Planned Parenthood, Mike Bloomberg wing of the Democratic party – he promised to support Trump where they agree and to respectfully disagree – but most important of all – he promised to NOT support San Fran Nan for Speaker.
Again assuming this district is done away with – his pledges may not mean much. But Lamb is a smart campaigner, and quite frankly Saccone did a horrible job and deserved to lose.