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Conor Lamb: Lunchpail Democrat, Trumpian Republican

The Democrats seem to be mass-producing Scott Browns.

First it was Jon Ossoff, the Georgia whiz kid reeking of progressive enthusiasm and tech upstarts, who lost to Karen Handel in a special House election last year. Now another model has emerged off their Wunderkind-o-Matic: Conor Lamb, the thirty-something Marine Corps vet who aimed to succeed former congressman Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania’s 18th district. Sure enough, last night Lamb skewered his GOP opponent Rick Saccone by the narrowest of margins, which, as of print time, has led him to declare victory, NBC to assent, and the Associated Press to say the race is too close to call. But even if the absentee ballots somehow inch Saccone ahead, Lamb will still have turned in an impressive performance in a scarlet section of Pennsylvania’s middle that just a year and a half ago Donald Trump won by 20 points. Democrats will now be hoping that Lamb really is another Scott Brown, that his victory will be the first whitecap on a wave that will restore them to congressional dominance, just as Brown’s election in Massachusetts heralded GOP gains in 2010.

Republicans, meanwhile, might be wondering how they managed to spend north of $10 million [1] on a congressional district that come November isn’t even going to exist anymore [2]. The GOP’s relationship with Pennsylvania has long been a tumultuous one. Involved in various political campaigns in college during the late aughts, I watched Republicans spend heavily trying to make inroads there, only to be rebuffed year after year. The boulder to the GOP’s Sisyphus, the key to the Keystone State, was what you might call John Updike’s Pennsylvania: suburban voters, and especially the ever-wealthier ones outside Philadelphia, whose libertarian-ish views were supposed to eventually gel with a modernized Republican program. Instead, 2016 saw Hillary Clinton actually run stronger in the Philly burbs [3] than Barack Obama had—yet Trump became the first GOP presidential contender to win the state since George H.W. Bush. All the tedious post-Romney white papers admonishing Republicans to become more like Jon Huntsman immediately burst into flames. Trump had orienteered a path across the Electoral College that few thought possible, and suddenly the hardhats, not the soccer moms, had become the presidential kingmakers.

America in 2016 was (and still is) suffering from a host of problems, from opioids to the aftereffects of deindustrialization, from widespread unhappiness to a growing disconnect between its subcultures, from humongous debt to a hangover from failed wars—all of which disproportionately affected places like Pennsyltucky. Republicans won because, clueless though they often are, they looked better prepared to grapple with many of those crises, if only because Donald Trump was at least willing to acknowledge that the crises existed in the first place. The Democrats, meanwhile, seemed incarcerated by a news cycle that drummed only “Russia” and “Putin,” with whatever gaps that remained filled by their usual radioactive identity politics. That’s still true today, but voters, unconstricted by partisan straitjackets, can be unpredictable. Just as the famous “Obama-Trumpers” crossed from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump four years later, so, too, have many of them now migrated over to Lamb, apparently as unimpressed by Saccone as the president reportedly was [4]. It’s a reminder that Trump won much of the Rust Belt because he sounded like a lunchpail Democrat of yore, an act that Lamb pulled off less boisterously but just as convincingly.

Saccone, meanwhile, seemed the regular-order politician, flush with money from distant grandees and remote apparatuses, supportive of right-to-work laws [5] that many unions regard as an existential threat. Up against a bright young thing who wanted reform and nothing more, the 2016 roles were flipped. Still, Democrats shouldn’t over-egg their pudding. Whereas Brown’s upset was something of a political bonus, coming as it did in a state, Massachusetts, that even wayward son Mitt Romney never expected to persuade two years later, western Pennsylvania is exactly the sort of place that Democrats must win if they’re to become electorally viable again. And while Brown aimed himself directly at Barack Obama’s health care legislation, Lamb has sounded woolly-headed on abortion, postured as NRA Lite on guns, boasted that he won’t support Nancy Pelosi for House Democratic leader, backed Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, and refused to bash the president. “Yes, Democrats can win in Trump Country,” a conservative wag might aver, “so long as they’re actually Republicans”—and so long as those Republicans are actually old-line Democrats. American politics is nothing if not fluid.

Ultimately the biggest challenge Democrats still face is that most of their national activists are in no mood to behave like Conor Lamb. They prefer instead the hash tag solidarity of the Resistance and hourly conniptions over Trump’s alleged coziness with Moscow, with primary challenges already lined up against some of those who dissent. This has left them without a Tea Party, a new ethos infused with fresh ideas that seeks a break with the past, and turned them instead into an antimatter movement, the people you support if you want Trump out. That may be enough, especially given Trump’s combustibility of late and the natural proclivity of the electorate to check presidents two years in. Still, one can’t help but think that Democrats need a fresh start, and on Tuesday all they got was a fresh face.

Matt Purple is the managing editor of The American Conservative.

48 Comments (Open | Close)

48 Comments To "Conor Lamb: Lunchpail Democrat, Trumpian Republican"

#1 Comment By collin On March 14, 2018 @ 11:34 am

Ultimately the biggest challenge Democrats still face is that most of their national activists are in no mood to behave like Conor Lamb.

Isn’t that the advantage of an Out-Party midterm election? Without a defined leader, the out-Party can maneuver local issues better. Conor Lamb could run as a very left center candidate that campaigns on working with the President on certain issues. We see this dynamic in WV and SD as well. So Democrats in Texas can run on increase energy drilling and against Trump’s tariffs (and somewhat against coal tbh) while Democrats in California can run against Trump’s Immigration policies and for free trade. (People forget how much California economy benefits from free trade of tech, Hollywood and the Inland Empire warehouses.)

#2 Comment By donny brook On March 14, 2018 @ 11:43 am

pundits ask wrong question..not why is gop losing in places trump won by double digits, but why dems are winning in places hillary lost by double digits

#3 Comment By JonF On March 14, 2018 @ 12:09 pm

Spinning Lamb as a crypto-Republican is nonsense. Sure, he might have fit in the more moderate wing of the GOP back in, say, 1976, but he’s far outside the GOP mainstream these days– he wouldn’t even qualify as a RINO now, he’d be plain unelectable if he had a “R” after his name because the base would not tolerate him for him a second. Yes, he puts some (mostly rhetorical) daylight between him and the national Democratic party on some boutique social issues but I seriously doubt you’ll find him voting to junk the ACA, cut Social Security to pay for Paul Ryan’s tax cut or undo banking regs to the enrichment of Goldman Sachs.

#4 Comment By Kurt Gayle On March 14, 2018 @ 12:40 pm

“’Yes, Democrats can win in Trump Country,’ a conservative wag might aver, ‘so long as they’re actually Republicans’—and so long as those Republicans are actually old-line Democrats. American politics is nothing if not fluid.”

There is a ton of insight in those 35 Matt Purple words.

#5 Comment By Thaomas On March 14, 2018 @ 12:42 pm

The difference between Liberals and Conservatives is that Liberals would be over-joyed if Republicans in “red” districts favored expanding health insurance, making access to assault rifles a bit more difficult, citizenship for Dreamers, and wanted to make the tax code more not less progressive.

#6 Comment By Hal Fiore On March 14, 2018 @ 1:08 pm

Not a bad article, and one that the Left dearly needs to read, but the headline only works if you concede that Trump himself would not fit the definition used here for “Trumpian Republican.” Also that the term must include campaigning on stronger unions, expanded healthcare, protecting Medicare and SS, and strengthening background checks for firearms.

#7 Comment By kevin on the left On March 14, 2018 @ 1:11 pm

“Conor Lamb: Lunchpail Democrat, Trumpian Republica

Lamb is pro unions, pro-choice, pro-tariffs, pro guns but not NRA level pro guns, pro-immigration reform, but doesn’t exactly talk about it much. In other words, he is the exact political copy of such Trumpian Republicans as Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, and Joe Manchin.

Seriously, doesn’t feel a little bit embarrassing to write nonsense like this headline?

#8 Comment By kevin on the left On March 14, 2018 @ 1:15 pm

Shorter Matt Purple: “I’ve convinced myself that all Democrats are pussyhat-wearing transgendered English majors and/or antifa activists. Lamb is not a pussyhat wearing transgendered English major and/or antifa activist, so he must be a Republican.”

#9 Comment By Joe from Pa On March 14, 2018 @ 1:35 pm

Lamb is respectable and upstanding. His views may be a tad liberal for me …. but it beats the hyperbolic rhetoric of leftists like Bernie and egocentric white nationalists like Trump — and goofballs like Saccone yammering on about his paranoia of people not liking him and extrapolating that somehow to hatred of “country” and “God”.

There’s some substance and nuance at guys like Lamb,Manchin, etc’ s core that really makes them reasonable to hear. I’m more a free trader – but Lamb and some 9f the more union oriented folks concerns for families is important. And unlike Trump, I don’t see any kind of ulterior motives.

If only Bob Casey Jr would be a tad more like his dad — beating the stooge Barletta would be (even) easier.

#10 Comment By A DC Wonk On March 14, 2018 @ 1:49 pm

Lamb supported ACA, Social Security, Medicaid, unions, for medical marijuana, and against the Trumpian boondoggle tax cut.

There are plenty of Dems who feel the same way.

For what it’s worth, it was former GOP Rep David Jolly who summed up last night as: “the Dems have a big tent, and the GOP doesn’t — the GOP should be terrified of tonight.”

#11 Comment By Rob G On March 14, 2018 @ 2:00 pm

I live in this district but did not vote — like the 2016 presidential election, I had major issues with both candidates and I’m fed up with voting for “the lesser of two evils.”

Saccone’s campaign, from what I saw of it, was almost completely negative, trying to paint Lamb as a Pelosi shill.

Lamb, on the other hand, was negative as well, but campaigned as sort of “softly” progressive on social issues, while vaguely more left-populist on fiscal matters.

Time will tell, of course, what he really is, but as a lifelong resident of this district (which is soon going away as it currently exists), I’d argue that Dems shouldn’t get too excited over it, and the GOP shouldn’t get too depressed. It’s a very strange district, quite mixed up demographically, and what will really be telling, one way or the other, is how the various communities voted.

Personally, I think that a fair amount of Lamb’s support came from the fact that he was in many ways a far more appealing candidate personally, and one who didn’t spout much by way of lefty mumbo-jumbo. Saccone tried to portray him as a radical liberal/progressive, but Lamb himself didn’t really do much in the way of confirming that portrayal.

If Lamb would have been pro-life I would have voted for him, albeit hesitantly. On the other hand, even Saccone’s pro-life stance couldn’t bring me to vote for him, given his other liabilities.

(For the record, I’m a registered Republican, but only so I can vote in the primaries, in which the GOP candidates I vote for never win. At root I consider myself an independent, which is what I’d be if Pa. had open primaries.)

#12 Comment By I live in PA 18 On March 14, 2018 @ 2:25 pm

What a dumb set of conclusions in this article. As others have posted, Lamb is pro-unions, pro-choice, pro-immigration reform, pro-Obamacare, and against the Trump Tax Cuts.

And, if you actually looked at the map of the results ( [6]) would see Lamb won not because of “lunch pail”, he won in the wealthy, highly-educated precincts of suburban Allegheny County. Some of those municipalities haven’t voted for a Democrat in decades. He won because the highly-educated suburban voters are sick of Trump acting like a toddler.

Not only this, but his uncle is the elected Controller of the City of Pittsburgh, a city which hasn’t had an elected republican in any office since about the time FDR was first elected. His grandfather was a Democratic State Senator.

#13 Comment By UltraModerate On March 14, 2018 @ 2:50 pm

LOL, I am loving the deluge of articles by deluded Republicans saying, “OK, so we lost, but, like, y’know, if you think about it, we actually won.”

How much cough syrup does one have to drink to achieve this state of mind?

#14 Comment By Rob G On March 14, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

~~~Lamb won not because of “lunch pail”, he won in the wealthy, highly-educated precincts of suburban Allegheny County. Some of those municipalities haven’t voted for a Democrat in decades. He won because the highly-educated suburban voters are sick of Trump acting like a toddler.~~~

Some truth to this, but two other things to consider in addition: 1) A sizable number of these people are “socially liberal but fiscally conservative.” Lamb did not come across as Bolshie enough to scare them off, and his mild social progressivism would be seen as attractive, given their problems with DT. 2) Lamb was far and away the more attractive candidate “optically.” Remember that in this same district both GOP and Dems had supported the very popular, very likable center-right Tim Murphy for years. That had less to do with his party than with the fact that he was perceived as one of the “good guys.” I think that this may be true for Lamb as well.

#15 Comment By William Burns On March 14, 2018 @ 3:54 pm

Lamb is “the first whitecap”? Heard of Doug Jones?

#16 Comment By Rob G On March 14, 2018 @ 4:11 pm

Also, close as the race was, consider that if the GOP candidate had been only slightly more moderate in his approach to the campaign and/or slightly better optically, he would have won without much of a problem.

~~~Lamb won not because of “lunch pail”, he won in the wealthy, highly-educated precincts of suburban Allegheny County. Some of those municipalities haven’t voted for a Democrat in decades.~~~

If this is true, and if Saccone did actually do well in the “lunch pail” districts, then this bears out the fact that we’ve got a real class problem in the U.S. If you’ve got affluent white suburbanites voting Dem, while the white working class is voting GOP, something’s askew, and it can’t be put down to an issue merely of party. As Justin Gest wrote in his book The New Minority, the Democrats are “reluctan[t] to risk their relationship with more socially liberal and diverse voting blocs” to court the WWC, while the Republicans continually demonstrate their inability to harmonize their “establishment” and “anti-establishment” strains.

In other words, the Dems are trading off their “class” concerns for the concerns of identity politics, while GOP infighting makes a substantive appeal to the WWC difficult if not impossible. Of course, the GOP never had any class concerns to begin with, so it would be quite a sea change if the party itself (its leaders and elites) veered in a populist direction.

#17 Comment By Bunk McNulty On March 14, 2018 @ 4:27 pm

“How much cough syrup does one have to drink to achieve this state of mind?”

None if you don’t have a functioning brain. 16 months of MAGA produced this win. I hope Trump keeps on MAGAing himself and every R in the country out of office.

#18 Comment By Lefty On March 14, 2018 @ 4:57 pm

I thought the conventional wisdom was that republicans will always vote for real republicans. Didn’t work that way this time, did it?
The reality is that republicans are stuck with the stench of Trump, and even real republicans won’t vote for anyone even remotely connected to that psychopath.
The NRA/GOP has tied themselves to Trump hand and foot. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of guys.

#19 Comment By Youknowho On March 14, 2018 @ 5:48 pm

Old fashioned Republicans like Heinz, Scott, and Specter would not have dreamed of doing anything to hurt Social Security or Medicare. They knew what their voters relied on.

But this new batch, who have read too much Ayn Rand and nothing else, well, how long before long time Republican voters realize that they are the enemy?

#20 Comment By Conewago On March 14, 2018 @ 6:23 pm

Conor Lamb claims to be a Catholic. Therefore, one key story here is that American Catholics – and I suppose, “Christians” generically – are *still* stupid enough to …

a) Suggest that abortion is simply a “personal choice” with strictly personal consequences – this is the Lamb approach
b) Vote for someone who handles the case with a)

There are many Catholics in western Pennsylvania, many of whom voted for these childishly stupid tenets.

Do you moderates, liberals, and faux-conservatives not realize the damage abortion is doing to the future of this country’s economy?
Yes, the Democrats do have a big tent. But it’s one built on a personal liberty principle that is nothing short of the long-term end of American sanity and prosperity.

And, by the way, unions like the PSEA, which adore Lamb, are crippling this state’s economy. So, thanks, voters. “Vox populi, vox humbug.” – William T. Sherman.

Go on, America. Keep burying your head in the sand and telling your collective self that abortion is simply a personal/religious issue. Another half-century or more of widespread abortion is going to destroy irrevocably what it’s already begun to destroy: the dynamism that made this country prosperous. Forget unions, free trade, blah blah, that’s the real story that no one wants to talk about.

Saccone wasn’t a great candidate, but he’s not an idiot, and he’s a nice guy; I’ve been somewhat close to him personally in Harrisburg. I would have been skeptical about voting for either candidate, but one is a lot faker than the other. Lamb also seems like a nice guy, but he’s as vapid as they come. A pretty boy who in no way is any more intelligent or sensible than thorough mediocrities like Bob Casey. He also got the unreserved endorsement of this state’s intransigent hack governor, Wolf, which tells you all you need to know.

#21 Comment By bbkingfish On March 14, 2018 @ 8:51 pm

The republicans spent the last three months telling PA voters Conor Lamb was Nancy Pelosi. Today, they’re saying he’s really Donald Trump.

I also love how the Democrats are the ones playing identity politics, but 87% of registered GOPers identify as “white.”

#22 Comment By kevin on the left On March 14, 2018 @ 10:01 pm

“Lamb won not because of “lunch pail”, he won in the wealthy, highly-educated precincts of suburban Allegheny County. Some of those municipalities haven’t voted for a Democrat in decades. He won because the highly-educated suburban voters are sick of Trump acting like a toddler.”

That’s actually not quite accurate. True, Lamb improved on Hillary’s improved margins in the Pittsburgh suburbs. But he also recovered all the ground she lost and then some in the rural and working class areas of the district, getting 55% of vote in Allegheny and 40-45% in the three smaller counties.

And this factoid really points at the one thing that really infuriates me about American politics: the most established conventional wisdom is that Democrats are insular, only live among people like themselves, are concentrated in big cities, etc, etc. In fact, Democrats get about 1/3 of the vote in even the reddest rural areas, have demographics that are vastly closer to how America looks like than Republicans, and even their weakest result ever among WWC folk still outdid GOP performance with minorities. A case in point is the gerrymandering/geographic sorting issue: we are supposed to believe that Democrats are at a disadvantage because they all like to live in a handful of large cities. But that’s nonsense: given that districts are constitutionally obligated to be of same side, if all Democrats lived in cities, cities would get half the legislative seats. In real life, what’s going on is that you can find Democrats living in cities, and suburbs, and exurbs, and rural areas. Republicans live only in suburbs, exurbs and rural areas, so Democrats end up winning 90 of the vote in the cities, split suburbs, and get 30% of vote in exurbs and rural areas.

In short: the bubble is real, but it contains Republicans.

#23 Comment By Ellimist000 On March 14, 2018 @ 10:56 pm

“’Yes, Democrats can win in Trump Country,’ a conservative wag might aver, ‘so long as they’re actually Republicans’—and so long as those Republicans are actually old-line Democrats. American politics is nothing if not fluid.”

I hate to break it to you Matt, but guns, abortions, and Nanci Pelosi are very, very small portions of people’s daily lives-even far right, evangelical gun nuts. Economic security, employment, and emotional health are much greater. Supporting unions, healthcare, and working class economic power, as Lamb does, are ways to address those things. Republics have…a couple of haphazard tariffs that not one other Republican besides Trump would support.

I mean honestly, I know of Rebulicans that are pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-healthcare, anti-war, anti-“tough-on-crime”, pro-racial justice, and pro-immigration, but I don’t know of a single significantly pro-union Republican.

#24 Comment By Ellimist000 On March 14, 2018 @ 11:27 pm

Rob G,

“If this is true, and if Saccone did actually do well in the “lunch pail” districts, then this bears out the fact that we’ve got a real class problem in the U.S. If you’ve got affluent white suburbanites voting Dem, while the white working class is voting GOP, something’s askew, and it can’t be put down to an issue merely of party.”

You would be right…if there were only white people in this country. Most minorities aren’t magically wealthy from favored treatment and jobs that the white working class thinks they are entitled to. The white working class isn’t the only working class in this country.

As they vote for the Dems too, I am not sure that “class problem” accurately describes the problem, unless you are suggesting that the white working class intrinsically acts as a separate economic class from the non-white working class due to systemic racial discrimination against said non-white working class. Then yea, I guess it is a class problem.

“Democrats are “reluctan[t] to risk their relationship with more socially liberal and diverse voting blocs” to court the WWC,…”

why wouldn’t they be? This is what the Clinton-era Democrats did and look how they get demonized by the culture war WWC (not all the WWC, mind you) and the media they support. Moderate Republicans can’t even get consideration these days.

And frankly speaking, I’ll explain the problem with your state by way of analogy, and give you some free advice: I don’t know in what area you work, but generally, if, in order to please one acquaintance or co-worker, you have to do things that displease or offend 10 others (aka a diverse voting bloc), you shouldn’t have to do that. Chances are that one person is bad company, and is likely going to cause you trouble. Just Sayin.

#25 Comment By Ellimist000 On March 14, 2018 @ 11:29 pm

Rob G,

“Statement” not “state” in that last paragraph. I have no idea what’s wrong with the state you are from because I don’t know what it is. It’s not Kansas, is it? 😉

#26 Comment By E Kent On March 15, 2018 @ 12:01 am

I think that this is a very good thing, no matter what your political persuasion. One of the biggest problems we have is that the political parties have hardened on opposite sides of nearly every single issue. We need more politicians who at least soften their stances on party orthodoxies, if not outright buck them, so that they better represent their districts, instead of politicians who redraw districts to better represent their party’s politics.

#27 Comment By Quantumfom On March 15, 2018 @ 12:56 am

A tale told by an idiot, full or sound and fury, signifying nothing

#28 Comment By red nature On March 15, 2018 @ 1:25 am

The problem for Saccone is that they brought Trump in to campaign for him.

Trump has completely betrayed the people who voted for him in 2016. No wall, immigrants still pouring in, more H1B visas for foreigners than under Obama, more Middle East wars and no end in sight, bad trade deals still bad, no infrastructure work, on and on and on. All we got was Gorsuch and a measly few bucks from the tax cut, and we’ll be paying for his insane budget deficits for generations.

He needs to rid his administration of neocons, halt immigration, and get us out of the Middle East. NOW. If he keeps on down this road he’s just handing the White House and Congress to the Democrats – the party that Jared and Ivanka belonged to until last year.

#29 Comment By Rob G On March 15, 2018 @ 7:05 am

~~I am loving the deluge of articles by deluded Republicans saying, “OK, so we lost, but, like, y’know, if you think about it, we actually won.”~~

I don’t know the articles you’re referring to, but there is a sense in which this can be interpreted as accurate. I know quite a few GOP anti-Trumpers who are looking at the thing exactly in this way: bad for the party in the short run, but a “victory” of sorts long term, if it helps save the GOP from Trump.

By the way, last night I was talking with a friend who was active in the Lamb campaign, and he said that the Dems were surprised when the GOP picked Saccone as the candidate, as he was generally considered one of the weakest choices among those available. He believes that Saccone’s biggest mistake was going anti-Trump on some of the economic issues. Because of that Lamb was able to show that he was more of a Paul Ryan Republican than a “populist” one, costing him middle- and working-class votes.

#30 Comment By Youknowho On March 15, 2018 @ 10:08 am

@Rob G

A more attractive candidate? The district was one where as a Republican put it “we could have run a box of hammers and won”

So you are saying that Mr. Saccone was less attractive than a box of hammers?

#31 Comment By Trump Wing Man Not Needed On March 15, 2018 @ 10:33 am

Of course Saccone lost. He said he’d serve as Trump’s “wing man”, but Trump has screwed the people who voted for him in 2016.

We need Republicans who are willing to run AGAINST Trump. Against his failures on immigration. Against his putting higher priority on starting new wars and doing favors for foreigners and Wall Street than on urgently needed help for AMERICANS.

#32 Comment By Rob G On March 15, 2018 @ 11:14 am

~~~A more attractive candidate? The district was one where as a Republican put it “we could have run a box of hammers and won”

So you are saying that Mr. Saccone was less attractive than a box of hammers?~~~

Politically speaking, yes, due to a combination of bad optics and a badly-run campaign (which included, obviously, some bad ideas). In my neck of the woods the GOP does this kind of thing a lot.

#33 Comment By A. Quinn On March 15, 2018 @ 11:30 am

I’m hoping that Pelosi will take the hint and step down as minority leader before November 2018

#34 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 15, 2018 @ 1:01 pm

“. . . when the GOP picked Saccone as the candidate . . .”

The GOP does not have a Trump problem. It has a GOP leadership problem. If anything Pres. Trump is doing what we voted against. He just doesn’t have the kind of integrity of purpose I thought he displayed in the campaign.

Now maybe, I am being still premature in this, and his election has slowed the intervention mania. But he doesn’t seem to have the will to stand and make his previous opponents make their case —

and that is too bad.

#35 Comment By Youknowho On March 15, 2018 @ 1:28 pm

@Trump wing man

You REALLY expected Trump to keep his promises?

A man who consistently fails to pay his bills, who cannot get a loan from a reputable bank, who has shafted anyone who trusted his promises?

Weren’t you warned of his M.O. before the election?

But I guess you hated Hillary too much, and you saw what you wanted to see.

Now we are all paying for your willful blindness.

#36 Comment By JonF On March 15, 2018 @ 4:39 pm

Re: Because of that Lamb was able to show that he was more of a Paul Ryan Republican than a “populist” one, costing him middle- and working-class votes.

I think this point to an important distinction. There certainly is a lot of anti-Trump sentiment out there, no doubt about it. But the GOP Congress is a good deal less popular than Trump, and any Democratic wave this year will be as much about that reality as about Trump.

#37 Comment By JonF On March 15, 2018 @ 4:51 pm

Re: Do you moderates, liberals, and faux-conservatives not realize the damage abortion is doing to the future of this country’s economy?

I entirely grasp people saying “Abortion is a sin”. I even understand those who warn that divine vengeance will fall on us because of it (although I personally believe in one Judgment at the End of Days only). I fail to see what abortion has to be do with the economy. If you’re talking about wasting huge amounts of money I would suggest the bloated defense budget is a much bigger case of that.

#38 Comment By Chassie On March 15, 2018 @ 7:44 pm

If anything Pres. Trump is doing what we voted against. He just doesn’t have the kind of integrity of purpose I thought he displayed in the campaign.

If you look up the term “willful blindness” in the dictionary, this quote should be there.

Just out of curiosity – not that I expect a real answer – what was it in the entire history of Donald Trump that made you think he had the tiniest scintilla of integrity… of any variety, type, or definition at all?

Did you really and truly pay no attention whatsoever to his decades-long history of breaking every word he ever gave, stiffing every person he ever made a deal with, lying every time he opened his mouth, bankrupting every business he ever managed, and betraying every human – man, woman, child – who ever trusted him?

Honestly, what did you base your opinion on?

#39 Comment By Youknowho On March 15, 2018 @ 8:49 pm

@JonF

Of course the GOP Congress is unpopular. They tried to take away their healthcare. And healthcare was cited as the major driver of the vote in the exit poll.

Alas, the day of Republicans like John Heinz, is gone. Arlen Specter had to leave the Republican party (or rather the Republican Party left him – as it did to “Mac” Mathias), and he voted for Obamacare, because he knew that his constituents needed it.

#40 Comment By Pragmatic On March 15, 2018 @ 9:51 pm

PA18 did not matter. The district will be gone in 6 months. And Lamb hasn’t won yet. How is all the coverage missing those two facts?

Anyone paying attention should know that Trump voters do not equate to R voters. Could’ve but Rs are too busy being moralizing d*mb*sses and really they don’t believe in what they run on – well, other than Rand Paul.

Also – Lamb is not going to govern as a moderate. He’s a progressive. End of story.

#41 Comment By Rob G On March 16, 2018 @ 8:55 am

“the GOP Congress is a good deal less popular than Trump, and any Democratic wave this year will be as much about that reality as about Trump.”

Yep — it’s stuck between being seen as too pro-DT on the one hand, and as too “obstructionist” on the other.

#42 Comment By Rob G On March 16, 2018 @ 10:46 am

“Arlen Specter had to leave the Republican party”

He should have never joined it to begin with. His “all over the map” ideas fit far better with the Dems.

“PA18 did not matter. The district will be gone in 6 months”

Not exactly. It and PA14 will be swapping names and both will have new boundaries. In November Lamb will be running against Keith Rothfus (R) in the new PA17, apparently.

#43 Comment By kevin on the left On March 16, 2018 @ 2:16 pm

“Not exactly. It and PA14 will be swapping names and both will have new boundaries. In November Lamb will be running against Keith Rothfus (R) in the new PA17, apparently.”

Yeah, and he will be running in a less GOP-leaning district, with high name recognition, and having a very thick file of Republicans from Trump down declaring him the best candidate in American history. If I were Rothfus, I’d be lining up a new job..

#44 Comment By EarlyBird On March 16, 2018 @ 4:34 pm

Living out here in La-La Land, I knew nothing about this race until Lamb won. But if Lamb represents a Democrat who doesn’t spend all day telling everyone to his right that he’s a hateful, ignorant bumpkin who needs to be exterminated, and instead focuses on growing the middle class, I hope very much the Dems take him as their template moving forward.

#45 Comment By Youknowho On March 16, 2018 @ 9:02 pm

@Rob G

So Specter did not belong there. I take neither did “Mac” Mathias of Maryland.

Nor John Heinz, that early advocate of health care reform, who fought to keep Social Security solvent.

Today he would be run out of town as a RINO.

[7]

#46 Comment By jacqueline davis On March 18, 2018 @ 4:28 am

Rob G you hit it right on . The Social Liberal Fiscal Conservative is what the Democrat Party of today now is. The GOP is now representing the working class and is the reason why I and many others have exited the Dem Party and voted for Trump and I have not been sorry no matter how wild this president gets. Trump retired the Clintons and we should all be celebrating. He is not a Washington Swamper and that makes me happy.

#47 Comment By jacqueline davis On March 18, 2018 @ 4:33 am

John F Obama Care was a disaster and no one could afford it. All the Dems did was move over those who were eligible to receive Medicaid and put them on Obama Care. The rest of the working class could not afford the premiums or the deductables. It was a half baked solution to health care reform.

#48 Comment By A DC Wonk On March 19, 2018 @ 8:21 pm

The GOP is now representing the working class

What?! By raising tarrifs? By opposing minimum wage? By passing a huge deficit-busting tax plan that gives millions to the top earners and crumbs to the working class?

He is not a Washington Swamper and that makes me happy.

Oh, please. And the evidence of that is what, exactly? All the insiders that he appointed to cabinet posts? Mueller is the only one in DC actively working on draining a swamp.