Skip to comments.GOP Panic Spreads to Pennsylvania
Posted on 03/06/2018 4:42:30 PM PST by lasereye
Republicans are learning an uncomfortable reality about the political environment for 2018: Tax cuts, conservative culture-war staples, and even Nancy Pelosi herself probably wont be enough to overcome the deep hole that President Trump has put them in. With the White House awash in scandal and struggling to articulate its agenda, the political mood has turned so grim that Republicans are in danger of losing an upcoming special election in the heart of Trump country.
Thats the lesson to draw from the surprisingly competitive campaign Democrat Conor Lamb is running in a Pittsburgh-area district Trump easily carried by 20 points, surviving millions of dollars in outside GOP attack ads portraying Lamb as a liberal in disguise. Even a close loss in such a reliably conservative area would raise red flags that Democrats are on the verge of a major landslide in the November midterms.
If Lamb wins, it would be an unmistakable verdict that the healthy economy and Trump tax cuts will be overshadowed by the administrations dysfunction and roiling suburban anger. Though the economy may play to the GOPs advantage, the culture wars have turned squarely in the Democratic Partys favorand thats what matters in todays politics.
Heres how tricky things have gotten for Republicans: GOP outside groups have dramatically scaled back their ads promoting the partys tax cut, with the messaging barely moving the needle in the districts working-class confines. The latest round of advertisements focus on law-and-order issues, like immigration and crime. A new spot from the Paul Ryan-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC slams Lamb for supporting amnesty to illegal immigrants because he worked in the Obama administration. A National Republican Congressional Committee ad portrays Lamb as soft on crime because he negotiated a plea deal with a notorious drug kingpin during his tenure as a federal prosecutor. These culture-war ads are reminiscent of those run by Ed Gillespie in his failed Virginia gubernatorial campaign, and they carry the whiff of desperation.
Meanwhile, Republicans are sufficiently concerned about the energy from the Democratic base that CLF is distributing a mailer in suburban precincts of Allegheny County thanking Lamb for supporting gun rights. Its a cynical attempt to dampen Democratic enthusiasm for his campaign. The mailer, first reported by The Washington Post, underscores how even in a district where Second Amendment support is strong, gun control has become a fresh rallying cry for a supercharged Democratic electorate post-Parkland.
In another warning sign for Republicans, there are indications that conservative-minded voters in this district value government entitlements as much as tax cuts. Lambs rebuttal to the GOP tax-cut argument was that he supported middle-class tax cuts but not ones that could lead to cuts to Social Security and Medicare. In an acknowledgment that the Democratic message resonated, a new CLF ad turns the tables and accuses Pelosi of supporting massive Medicare cuts while arguing that Lamb wont protect seniors. As Republicans learned in the 2016 presidential campaign, the agenda backed by GOP donors doesnt necessarily jibe with the issues that the GOP rank-and-file cares aboutespecially in a blue-collar district like this one.
Republicans are eager to pin a disappointing result in this election on their candidatestate Rep. Rick Sacconebut the reality is the race is being defined on Trumps terms. Saccone is running as an unapologetic Trump supporter, calling himself the presidents wingman in an interview with National Journal last month. Trump will be campaigning for Saccone on March 10, and he is likely to promote his newly announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Its a protectionist position that Saccone quickly embraced, and one that is popular with the districts sizable union membership.
This southwest Pennsylvania district is about as Trumpian as it gets: racially homogeneous, predominantly blue-collar, and filled with energy workers revolutionizing the regions economy. To Lambs credit, hes run a disciplined campaign and staked out moderate views on guns and fracking that have distinguished him from typical Democrats. But if Republicans cant hold onto this seat with more than $9 million of outside GOP money invested here, it will serve as an awfully rude awakening to whats likely to come for the midterms.
Something that might counteract what's happening: making it clear that the Democrats want to impeach Trump if they take control. I think a good part of the populace is not fully aware of that. It would energize the base and I would think it would certainly cause people who voted for him, but who are not part of the rock solid base, to reconsider voting for a Dem. I think even quite a few squishy middle of the road types are uncomfortable with the idea of impeaching Trump. This has to be the counter attack in these kinds of districts, but the GOP professional consultants will not tell their candidates to do that.
“wont be enough to overcome the deep hole that President Trump has put them in”
Trump didn’t put them in it, the GOP did. The GOP created and gave succor to the special counsel, to the Russia story, they stopped the wall, they stopped the repeal of Obamacare, they have forced Trump to keep Sessions. They were dragged kicking and screaming to a half-assed tax cut.
And they blame Trump.
I don't think so. I think it will be a push, no real change in seats.
Sir you are delusional.
No reason to panic.
The GOP has acted like limp wristed do nothing noodles agreeing with the Democrats.
This has nothing to do with Trump.
Professional "consultants" from the Beltway will for the most part, get the messaging wrong.
“making it clear that the Democrats want to impeach Trump if they take control”
Clinton was impeached, and then reelected. I don’t think the Rats even know that ‘impeachment’ does not mean ‘removal from office.’ So he’s impeached? We already know they hate him.
“... a Democrat wave in November ... take the ... Senate ...”
I would like to know what scenario you see for the democrats take the senate.
I’m in suburban Pittsburgh. There is no “roiling suburban anger aimed at Trump” here.
If the “political environment” is Trump’s fault, why is he polling higher today than Obama? He is at nearly 50% now, with the economy still getting better.
Care to weigh in on this thread?
This district does not cover the City of Pittsburgh proper. That’s represented my Mike Doyle, whose as deep blue Rat as they come.
I still keep asking the same question-—what’s he done wrong? He’s cut taxes, in a very good way, he pulled out of that monstrous Paris Climate Accord, and jobs are coming back in very big way.
Republicans are learning an uncomfortable reality about the political environment for 2018
Voter fraud is real!!! Get a on it, jerks
Clintons was impeached well after his re-election. He was not re-elected after impeachment. Re-election was in Nov 1996, and impeachment and senate trial happened Dec 1998-Feb 1999.
I am now concerned. Latest poll has dem up +3.
If the democrat corruption is exposed then it will be a big help. We will find out if that is going to happen when the OIG report is released.
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