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PA-18 Special Election Result

While Connor Lamb’s victory in PA-18 is bad news for the Republican Party, there’s a few takeaways that I think are worth looking at:

  • Both candidates were hand picked by the party. The Dems picked a pro-gun, pro-union Blue Dog who is the kind of candidate that traditionally won in that district when it was a Dem district. The GOP picked Rick Saccone, who ran on a platform of Right-to-Work, practically guaranteeing that unions, who are strong in that district, would spend and organize heavily against him. Candidates matter. We don’t elect parties in our system.
  • If the Dems replicate that strategy, which they will struggle to do where the candidate has to fight an actual primary, we shall be in good shape gun rights wise. Because that sell out by the GOP in Florida? They know all they have to do is be better than the other guy. The reason the Dems are so ra-ra for gun control is because it doesn’t cost them anything. If suddenly they have their majority back on a Blue Dog wave, we’ll be in the situation again where both parties will compete for our vote, as we saw in PA-18. It also gives the leadership something to lose.
  • On the downside, the Dem leadership sacrificed the last Blue Dog wave on the altar of Obamacare. But they got it, and the hapless GOP has so far been unable to undo it. What will the next Blue Dog wave be sacrificed for? Gun Control? It’s happened before, so I would not rule it out. Remember, what brought us to this present situation is that the NRA could not single-handedly save the Blue Dogs from voters angry at the Blue Dogs over Obamacare. That greatly changed the calculus for the Dem leadership, who then had nothing more to lose.

That said, the GOP is almost certainly in trouble for 2018. The Dems have more to defend in the Senate race, so I don’t know what chance I give them of taking the Senate, but I’d say it’s an uphill climb. However, if they can successfully execute a Blue Dog return to power, I’d say the GOP loses the house. That’s going to be hard, because it’s pretty apparent the Dems will celebrate for now, their progressive base isn’t happy they had to win that election with a conservative leaning Democrat.

20 Responses to “PA-18 Special Election Result”

  1. Dave says:

    You’re misreading the impact as well as ACA fallout.

    So called blue dog dems were practically extinct during the first Obama wave election. ACA was an extinction event for this brand of democrat. As in, they are no more.

    The current rules of congress only permit so much leeway within a party or you don’t get reelection help from the party and right now gun confiscation is the end game of democrat leadership. When push comes to shove, how do dems vote?
    Look to guys like Jim Webb and Mark Warner of VA. While paying homage to gun rights for no votes, they weren’t there for yes votes and both voted to approve the racist sotomayor, and Kagan . Both of whom were bad votes.

    This new guy is not going to be “with us” but he will at least say he is with us. Dems learned back in ’06 that you only need to SAY you are pro-gun, you don’t have to follow through.

    Thanks to NRA-ILA’s incumbent protection policy, you don’t need to actually do anything to have an A rating and endorsement. This effectively prevents good candidates or better candidates from getting support.

    These are but a few reasons that our rights are not coming back at the federal level.

    • Joe says:

      Yup. The NRA is, regarding political campaign tactics, stuck in the late 90’s through late 2000’s (pre-2010). Gun Owners of America has pointed that out about the NRA, pertaining to your description, that words on gun-policy matter to them more than actions through votes. Part of the reason that National Reciprocity and the removals of Suppressors, Short Barrel Rifles, and Short Barrel Shotguns from the NFA haven’t, and as of now looking into America’s Political future (IMHO) will never happen now. Those things should’ve happened during the first 6 years of George W. Bush, when we still had powerfull momentum, even though a decade passed, after the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

      Unfortunately, Bloomberg and his ilk were watching and analyzing that race very closely, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they start funding fraudulent “Blue Dogs” as Trojan Horses, who will than swing up a full 180, and endorse outright gun-bans.

  2. Joe says:

    The Democrat Party sacrificed the Reagan-Conservative Democrats in the Spring of 1994 with the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but, it wiped out the Democrat Party for 1/2 generation (they were the National Minority Party from 1995 to 2007). As of the present date, I fully expect the Democrats to utilize a “Blue-Dog Wave” to take back the House of Representatives and storm back to power at the Local, County-wide, and State Level. Those Bluedogs, however, will be fraudulent and phony. They will swing far Left if they take the Senate and Whitehouse in 2020, because Illegal Immigration has forcefully changed the Demographics of America to the far Left, just as what happened to California by the mid-90’s. If the Democrats win in 2018, I think that will begin a 40 to 50 year reign of Power for them in the Federal Legislature like what occurred from 1954 to 1994.

    2020 and beyond is what scares me right now. Something tells me that the 2020 Democrat Presidential Ticket will be Joe Biden with a female VP Selection like Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris, and right now I need to be honest….Joe Biden would beat Trump in a 6 to 8 percentage point landslide with 320-380 Electoral College Votes. Notice how Joe Biden has been campaigning in a very “Blue-Dog” manner.

    Overall, phenomenal analysis of the race. Connor Lamb=Jack Murtha 2.0 Need I add that 12 days before last night’s special election, Donald Trump released his tariff proposals, and something “Very Interesting” happened not even a day afterward that swung the race to Connor Lamb.

    Connor Lamb, the Democrat, came out forcefully in favor of the tariff proposals, while Rick Saccone was mum on the issue….Big Mistake. Also, some of my relatives who live in Washington County notified me that The US Chamber Of Commerce was running radio-ads to endorse Saccone……Not good for the GOP. No matter the Party Voter Registration, Western PA Voters despise Free Trade, and are pro-tariff, and how can you blame them on the economic issues. Combine the US Chamber Of Commerce sticking it’s filthy hands into that race, and National GOP Leadership led by Paul Ryan denouncing the Trump Tariffs, those instances definitely swung this race to Connor Lamb. Connor Lamb campaigned against Pelosi and Schumer, but one genius thing he did in the final 10 days of the Campaign, was tie Rick Saccone to the Chamber of Commerce, Paul Ryan and other National GOP Leaders to decry him as anti-tariff, pro-Free-Trade, and as someone who would continue screwing over and destroying the hollowed out Steel Industry in that area.

    I’m almost convinced that the GOP is scuttling the House of Representatives and Senate Majorities to hand the Federal Legislature back to the Democrats. About 40% of the GOP is still beholden to the Chamber Of Commerce/Establishment Country Club/Bush-Mafia wing of the RNC that wants to impeach Trump. They did everything possible to lose that Election last night.

  3. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    That’s going to be hard, because it’s pretty apparent the Dems will celebrate for now, their progressive base isn’t happy they had to win that election with a conservative leaning Democrat.

    I saw the sentiment that “who hopes a terrible Democrat wins in PA?”. I doubt the Dems can replicate the strategy across the country. Especially with the major Dems pushing gun control.

    • Joe says:

      It doesn’t matter what you think regarding what the Democrats will replicate. Connor Lamb gave the Democrats a winning template to potentially flip 40-50 seats in the House of Representatives, going from a 25 seat minority right now to a potential 15 to 25 seat majority by January of 2019: It’s dusting off the 2006 Blue-Dog Playbook when they went from a 15 seat minority to a 30 seat majority over the GOP by January of 2007, flipping a net-gaine of 45 seats.

      Also, not just on the topic of Legislation going through Congress and the Senate right now, Chuck Schumer and the Democrat Party Leadership want to make a “Blue-Dog Army” for 2018, which is why they’re trying to supress the Progressive Sanders/Warren Commie wing of the Party over Legislative Issues right now.

      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/14/schumer-warren-democrats-dodd-frank-460563

      • Bitter says:

        Joe,

        This response has little do with this specific comment, but I’m going to point that you are responsible for about 1/4 of the comments on the main comment page we see on the backend. You’re trying to take over all of the posts with long threads and poorly formatted links.

        The last time that someone behaved like a concern troll and took over to this degree, others complained and we lost some of the most interesting and engaged commenters. He finally left and now you’ve apparently decided we need more of that behavior. I happen to think we don’t.

        I’m not saying this to say that you’re not welcome to comment. You are. But I’m going to nip this “take over the comments” behavior in the bud. Please limit your comments in a post from now on. There’s no hard and fast rule that you have to follow, but use better judgement about where you can really add to the conversation.

        • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

          Thank you Bitter. It was definitely getting out of hand.

        • Richard says:

          I welcome your policing of the blog. I don’t think Joe is a leftist troll like the earlier guy so I don’t feel the need to call him out like I did before but he is excessive.

      • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

        It doesn’t matter what you think regarding what the Democrats will replicate.

        Yes it does.

        Connor Lamb gave the Democrats a winning template

        But my point is A) they’d have to be able to follow it (doubtful especially when it comes to gun control) and B) be willing to follow it (doubtful for the same reason and others, such as they are too arrogant to think they need to).

  4. HappyWarrior6 says:

    We’ve always said, at least I know Sebastian’s said, that the future of gun rights just can not fall on the GOP only. Parties win and lose with or without the gun issue as motivator at the polls. For those of us who invest, it’s very similar to market performance. You invest in index funds to get the most exposure to the entire market. Individual stocks will fall and rise, sometimes pretty rapidly, sometimes slowly over time.

    When I think about my interest in politics predating my interest in guns, I have to laugh. I really could have cared less about the bill of rights for probably the first few years since I started following politics. That’s just the truth. I’ve since learned my lesson, and advocacy now looks way different to me than it did when all I was angry about was state legislators voting themselves a pay raise and Bob Durgin screaming about it on WHP radio.

    For Western PA, the issue yesterday was clearly a concern over being left behind by the new economy. It’s a valid concern, and I actually see many “wonks” properly reporting this as such. But it’s the same issue that got Trump elected. And the only reason Trump should be concerned is that very little of his agenda he promised to these people has been accomplished. Tariffs were a big deal and I suspect Trump would still win that district, but not by 20 points. Sack supports free trade and is against unions.

    The other elephant in the room: If the congressional map redraw wins at the high court, PA-18 will no longer exist in its current form two months from now. Saccone will run and be elected to the area he won, and Rothfus will most likely be replaced with a pro-gun Dem. Win/win for PA for guns? I’m not sure, since I don’t know who we would lose overall from the delegation.

    • Sebastian says:

      The trick is to make it such that the Dems can’t come back without abandoning gun control.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        BINGO.

        Virginia would be next cause for worry before Florida, but I see that state under siege from the federal administrative leviathan more than anything. It’s been the slow burn.

        • Greg says:

          The democrat party has been taking over Virginia one federal employee at a time for yrs. they have so bloated the population of NoVA that the rest of the state can’t overcome the the mass.

  5. emdfl says:

    Anyone who thinks that Lamb(if he is,in fact, declared the winner) will be anything other than a typical democrap-prog as far as votes-in-congress go has been spending too much time inhaling the fumes in a wacky-weed shop.

  6. Joe_in_Pitt says:

    I feel like there were two main reasons why this election ended up the way it did:

    1) Lamb was the perfect focus-tested Dem for Western PA. He managed to be conservative enough to trick enough fudds in Washington and Greene county and country club Republicans in Southeastern Allegheny and Western Westmoreland into voting for him. This is the guy who in one ad is shooting an AR, and in another is bashing Saccone for voting to eliminate PICS. He pulled it off perfectly. It also helped that he is young, energetic, and well-spoken.

    2) Saccone is about as exciting as an ant race. He has bonafide conservative cred but had a terrible ground game and relied on the national GOP to do a lot of his work for him. I wish the party went with Reschenthaler instead.

    The good news is if the redistricting holds, the new 14th will be even more red than before, hard for even a conservative Dem (which I fully doubt Lamb will be) to win. Bad news is the new 18th picks up the entire city of Pittsburgh so it won’t even be remotely competitive for a Rep, and the new 17th includes the other half of Allegheny so it will be leaning R but not by much.

    • Bitter says:

      I think I saw that Saccone has started circulating petitions for 14, but Lamb is going with 17. So that whole “lean red” may need some extra GOTV to defeat who will then be a short-term incumbent. If Lamb has good press staff, he’ll be in every district paper referred to as Congressman Lamb every day between being sworn in and Election Day.

      I think one fair question that I’d be curious about – and I don’t know the areas well enough to speculate – with the Democratic base there support someone like Lamb in a primary. That’s one reason the parties tend to prefer to pick candidates. They can survey what will likely work best for the district (not that it means they will get it right) rather than having candidates have to ponder to a more frothing base (on both sides of the aisle).

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