I’m seeing a lot of articles pointing to our Congressional race as the rare GOP hold in a district that went for Hillary.
By contrast, look at the few districts where House Democrats fell short of expectations. Despite Democratic domination in the Philadelphia suburbs, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was one of the few Clinton-district Republicans to prevail. He was running against Scott Wallace, a wealthy self-funder with tenuous ties to the district who held out-of-the-mainstream views on law enforcement and foreign policy.
The other suburban districts all fell to the Dems. This is mostly due to the Dem-controlled PA Supreme Court gerrymandering those districts to favor Democrats. But it’s worth taking a look at Fitz, and understanding the key elements of his win.
- The PA Supreme Court decided to preserve the tradition that Bucks County must be contained within a single Congressional district. To make the numbers work, we’ve always had a small part of another county added to us. Once it was part of Philadelphia. Then they remove part of Philly and added a few Montco exurbs to make it a little safer for Republicans. The PA Supreme Court, to make the district lean more Democratic, moved the part of Montco that completes our district in closer to the city to make it more Dem leaning. But Bucks County is now the most red of the ring counties, so they didn’t have the free hand to completely rewrite the political map that they had with other congressional districts. It went from slight GOP lean to slight Dem lean.
- His opponent was a loon, and he wasn’t. The Bucks County Dems have usually made the mistake of running loons against the incumbent. All they had to do this time was not be crazy, and they couldn’t even manage that. Fitzpatrick might be a squishy RINO, but he’s not crazy.
- Fitz embraced more traditional Democratic positions than may Republicans in the area. He won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. I probably don’t want to know what he had to promise to get that, but it was a smart move on his part to woo the unions.
Understand that in the ring counties (and I include Chester County in this even though it’s not technically a ring county), the upper to upper middle class hoity toity were the loyal base of the Republican Party. That loyalty has flipped, and the GOP isn’t getting them back. But too many of the GOP candidates and leadership around here don’t get that: they stick to the old messaging and act as if the coalition hasn’t changed. They want to blame Trump for their losses, but aren’t looking at the coalition that brought Trump to power and how different it looks than the one they think is still viable.
For the foreseeable future, the GOP has lost the hoity toity, and they need to find voters to replace them with. There’s no path forward for the GOP here that doesn’t involve seducing the working class vote, which you aren’t going to do by embracing hoity toity issues like gun control. I only have two NRA endorsed candidates left in the area, and both did better than the candidates that did not carry endorsements. My state rep won with a comfortable margin. Tomlinson, my State Senator is holding on to a razor thin margin, and he’s probably going to a recount. It’s a squeaker, but he’s in the lead as of now. He had a strong challenger.
I’ll be honest, as long as Nancy Pelosi is taking the gavel, I couldn’t have cared less of Fitz lost his seat to a nutty Dem. We might have a chance at unseating a nutty Dem in a better year for Republicans, but I don’t see things getting better for Republicans around here with the current crop of dopes and dinosaurs that are running the party.