Conor Lamb defeats Rick “Trump 2.0” Saccone in the race for the House seat vacated by Tim “I’m anti-abortion until I knock up my mistress” Murphy. This is a good night for Pennsylvania and America.

Now that Lamb has done the unthinkable and won the special election in Pennsylvania, Republicans are scrambling, saying that Saccone’s defeat was more of a referendum on Saccone than on Trump, and that Lamb only won because he’s more of a Republican than a Democrat, but, when you strip all the political spin away, what you’re left with is the fact that the Democrats just took a seat in a district that Trump won by 19 points just a year ago. [In 2014 and 2016, Murphy ran unopposed for the seat, as no Democrats felt as though they even had a shot in the deep red district.] This is absolutely staggering. Tonight’s win, especially as it comes just after Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in the deep red state Alabama, and the big Democratic gains in Virginia, has to be terrifying to the GOP. The question is, will it be enough to make them finally start to turn on Donald Trump… Personally, I don’t have much faith that anyone left in the GOP still has the capacity for independent thought, let alone the ability to consider what would be best for the American people, but the next few weeks could be very interesting.

[Technically, there’s still a chance that Lamb could lose, given that he’s only up 500-some votes, and there are still absentee votes to count. I feel confident enough to call it, though. And I’ve never been wrong.]

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  1. Ted Lieu by proxy
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    “There are 23 districts nationwide held by a Republican in which Hillary WON the district. Think about that for a minute. The only conclusion is a massive blue wave is coming. “

  2. JM
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    No, two razor thin losses are not nearly enough for Republicans to turn against Trump, as incompetent as he is.

  3. Fox and Friends
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Fox & Friends says Lamb won because he’s cute.

    “Absolutely, cuteness counts”

  4. Lynne
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I know I am going to do my part to help Elissa Slotkin up in the 8th district. I have already donated money to her and I plan to volunteer too.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Rural PA, where I’m from, has a long history of electing candidates that are not conforming to their party platform: lots of moderate conservatives, pro-life Dems. They are serious about their morality (the origin of my unfortunate political scolding tendency) and very community oriented, but are growing increasingly suspicious of political Christian Conservatives, which is a relief. They don’t declare themselves sanctuary cities but take in many more refugees than places that do. They are still racist towards ‘urban Blacks’ though. It runs deep there. My suspicion is they voted Trump because he was economically protectionist, anti-abortion and racist, not out of party loyalty. They like candidates who defy the national political parties. They won’t like the way he brags or talks crudely like more midwestern rust belt folk may. They are tidy, rule-abiding people. The steel tariffs didn’t buy Saccone the election, which is good. Without them, Lamb would have won by more, but he could not have been elected there had he been more liberal. Not a chance.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Currently there are zero women representing PA in Congress. There have only been a handful historically, but 21 Dem women are running in 2018, quite a few with a decent chance including Laura Quick from my hometown. This would have been inconceivable in PA 5 years ago. My mom gave up on electing women candidates there years ago, after decades of effort. They folded the League of Women Voters in my home town. Shuttered from frustration and exclusion from the mainstream political process there. I don’t know if people from MI can possibly understand just how sexist people are in places like that, or how much it would mean to women’s lives if they had some (any!) political representation.

  7. Jean Henry
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    PS This is NOT a done deal. There are still absentee votes being tallied. The Dems and Lamb declared victory but Saccone has not conceded. It could still turn and will likely be contested.

  8. Erin O'Leary
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Whoop!! Whoop!! 627 vote lead after absentee votes counted!!

  9. wobblie
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    It is almost like the 3rd. party libertarian candidate took enough Republican votes to elect a Democrat.

  10. M
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    If I had to guess, I’d say that they won’t contest it, as they know the results, and contesting it would just draw more attention to a humiliating defeat.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie– the Libertarian Presidential candidate in that district received 1.8 % of the vote in 2016. The Libertarian candidate in this race received 0.6%. So, he was not the spoiler. He showed less than average Libertarian support there. Nice try though.

    It’s almost as if people are beginning to understand the risks of voting 3rd party in critical, close races..

  12. Sean Darby
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I live 30 minutes from the 18th district. Here’s my take, that the media isn’t touching on.

    1) The relentless barrage of attack ads against Lamb. They were vicious. One said, in a round about way, he supports Pelosi who supported Obama who supported Iran and terrorists, there go, Lamb supports terrorists. (An online ad compared Lamb to North Korea over abortion???) One ad even used Lamb’s own words blatantly out of context. The most confusing was attacking Pelosi and Lamb’s opposition that the middle class tax cuts were too small: “Peanuts.” Translation: Lamb thought you should get more money. How is that negative? They were hateful and divisive, and didn’t work. Lamb is a former Marine, and Conservatives love our military. On the flip side, Lamb’s ads were calm and defensive. He kept it clean, which spoke to his character, and people respect that.

    2. People really hate Hillary Clinton. The media too often paints every red district as “Trump Land” and this is (obviously now) not true. There were many Democrats (and Republicans) that apathetically voted for Trump. Anyone but Hillary. They haven’t liked Trump since day 1. They may not regret their vote, but that doesn’t make them Trump supporters.

    3. Unions. Steelworkers support Trump’s trade tariffs, but they’re weary of Republicans flipping PA to a Right-To-Work state. Lamb got the Union endorsement, and vowed to protect Medicare and Soc Security. Republicans voted for their best interests.

    4. Siccone had so many ads, that his brand never solidified. He was a strong man bully in one, and a sensitive family man in the next. He came off 2-faced and desperate, saying anything to get elected. Which he did with his Liberals hate our country and God comments. He was the definition of a political weasel.

  13. Posted March 14, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, sorry I called it before it was official, but I felt like we should claim it before there were shenanigans.

    As for the Republican spin that Lamb is basically a Republican, so they kind of actually won, here’s a great quote from Matthew Yglesias:

    MONDAY SPIN: Lamb is a tax-hiking, gun-grabbing Pelosi clone who will let illegal immigrants slaughter your unborn children.

    WEDNESDAY SPIN: Look, he’s basically a Republican.

  14. Posted March 14, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    And that you for the on-the-ground report from Pennsylvania, Sean. It’s given me a lot to think about.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted March 14, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    My hope re Saccone’s negative ads not working is that this signals that they won’t be as effective anymore, Maybe people are waking up to the reality that their political positions, no matter what they are, are being manipulated and so will become more discerning in their choices.

    It’s true that many hated Hillary. Especially in PA, The question is why.

  16. James
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Hillary was the target of shitslinging for thirty years. Once the right found out that Bill was untouchable, they concentrated on attacking her. After thirty years of negative publicity, it’s not surprising that a lot of people didn’t like her. Unfair- but not surprising.

    It really didn’t help that the Democratic Primary of 2016 had the appearance of a backdoor deal allowing Hillary to run unopposed.

  17. stupid hick
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Increasing media consolidation + “Catapult the propaganda”?

    Google and Sinclair for previous coverage

  18. wobblie
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    J. H. look at the vote totals. Given Lynn’s analysis of Jill Stein costing the election of Clinton, the Libertarian cost the Republican in Penn. Do I think either analysis is correct? NO. But the way the Democrats want to beat up on supporters of third parties, they should also acknowledge by their way of thinking, when 3rd. party candidates help them get elected.

    By the way, thanks to the Democrats the Bank’s are reopening the casino. I guess were supposed to look the other way when Stabenow supports pay day lenders and the deregulation of big banks, after all Republicans are so much worse.

  19. wobblie
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    One of the Banks that the Democrats just helped.

  20. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Jill Stein proved herself to be a total moron through her Twitter feed.

  21. wobblie
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Hillary Clinton proved herself to be a total moron through the inept campaign she ran (twice).

  22. wobblie
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    An interesting 3 part article on the make up of the candidates the DNC is backing for Congress.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    sigh. Most qualified candidate for president ever. Survived 30 years of attacks. Beat Sanders and Trump in the popular vote by more than 3 million, even though she lacked a lot of the most basic skills necessary to getting elected in this screwed up country– namely charisma, a willingness to lie about what is possible, and a dick. Her critical failing was being a woman unwilling to play to what many Americans want a woman to be– compliant and submissive. She doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Women are all expected to. HRC’s campaign made some critical strategic blunders, but she’s not a moron. Not even close.

    Jill Stein on the other hand… Well that wasn’t a principled vote for anyone. That was just a moronic vote. When third parties actually put forward candidates with any capacity for the job, maybe they’ll find more success.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Wobblie– The Greanville Post?? Really?? No, I’m not going to read any of their paranoid, conspiratorial, ideological bullshit. Much less 3 pages of it. Life’s too short.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Here’s another piece of note in the Greanville Post, wherein they allow the editor of Russia Insider to write a piece condemning the NYTimes Russia coverage. Russia Insider is an oligarch (aka Kremlin) funded, fake independent, ‘citizen journalist’ Putin propaganda rag. They not only produce propaganda but seek to legitimize and help disseminate Russian fake news stories. Whose the moron, Wobblie?

  26. wobblie
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    JH you would rather read corporate approved propaganda. I willingly read information from all sorts of sources. Closed minded liberals who can not confront their easy acceptance of war, corporate induced climate change ( pro-nuke and pro- fracking, two forms of death corporate Dems willingly support) will of course keep there blinders in place. Ostriches rarely see the world around them.

    I thought folks might be interested in the back grounds of many of the Democrats seeking election. For you it is simply enough to know they are part of your tribe I guess.

  27. Demetrius
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Hillary Clinton didn’t lose because she was a woman.

    She lost because she was Hillary Clinton.

  28. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    But was hated because she is a woman seeking a position of power?

  29. wobblie
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Who is the moron?

    When you have no argument you resort to name calling. I readily admit that I’m a slow learner. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly I’ve voted and supported the Democrats all my life. But I’ve learned. I think the definition of a moron is some one who refuses to learn.

    Your good buddy IL began the “moron” attack by the way. Obviously just to distract from the reality that our good Democratic Senators voted to enrich the financial elite most likely at the expense of the common folk. Rather than dealing with that reality he chose to call Jill Stein a moron. He has no argument so insult instead.

    JH, You support Nuclear Power. The amount of CO2 created by the concrete necessary for containing your nuclear power is greater than the CO2 generated by “clean coal” plants. You do know that it takes decades for the concrete to cure and during that entire time it emits CO2? You support fracking and all the pipe lines necessary for the movement of the dirtiest energy short of bituminous. Your total silence on our wars only leads me to believe that you support our endless carbon wars. I don’t think you are a moron. I think you are just a shill for the Corporate Democrats and lack a moral foundation on which to make decisions.

  30. Lynne
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, I *do* acknowledge when third parties help get left wing candidates elected. Bill Clinton wouldn’t have been elected if not for Perot imho. It is a *bit* more difficult to tell with the Libertarians because they appeal to the left on social issues and the right on economic ones so it is harder to tell which votes might have gone where had they not gone to the Libertarian candidate. But yes, third parties on the right are an awesome thing imho. I encouraged a LOT of the more conservative people I know to vote third party in 2016 rather than vote for Trump.

  31. Lynne
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Like it or not, there is objective research that shows that being a woman costs a candidate around 3% of the votes. Certainly enough to sway the election in 2016. That doesn’t mean that everyone who didn’t vote for Clinton didn’t because she is a woman but enough people did that it made a difference.

    The thing about 2016 is that the election was so close that any ONE factor could have swayed it. Was it her gender? Yes. Was it a 30 year smear campaign? Yes. Was it flaws in her campaign? yes (although I find it interesting that most of the people who make that claim don’t make similar claims about Sanders’s primary loss). Was it racism? Yes. Was it third party votes? Yes.

  32. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I think that beating the dead horse of 2016 is kind of a less than worthwhile activity, but Lynne is right, it wasn’t just one thing that put Trump in the White House, it was a lot of things together.

  33. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    The thought of living in an isolated agrarian communist state appeals to some people.

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie, you started with the name calling, for the record. And I simply asked a question. I would be happy to learn about the current group of candidates, but not from a source that is willingly complicit in spreading Russian propaganda. There’s no way to assure the information is accurate. If it is, I’m sure the mainstream media will pick up on it. I’m in no hurry. If I have learned anything from following too many journalists on Twitter, it’s that they get most of it wrong as news is breaking. I’m not sure why you prefer Russian oligarch funded media to public corporation owned media, but good luck with that.

    Lynne– I’d be interested to see more data on women running for office, specifically if their rates of vote loss go up as they reach for higher seats. It would be hard to figure, since many women in higher office run from very safe districts for their parties. I can only gage my assessment on how HRC was treated, as well as her supporters, and the willingness of many voters right and left to gleefully spread misinformation about her of their own free will. The ‘corporate-owned’ media, running on click bait and outrage, has copped to their bias against Clinton. Not so much in the independent press. And I have not heard a peep from Sanders or supporters. It’s true that such a close race is attributable to many factors. It’s also true that the lens we choose among them reflects our political agenda. I was keyed into the sexism and misinformation in the 2016 race from early on. I was open that in looking at the race with a feminist lens, I was not shilling for Clinton (such perspective turns off more voters than it engages), but seeking to build awareness of how sexism works, what its patterns look like, and what impact they have. So I saw it day by day, week by week. I don’t need stats to tell me that sexism played a role. I watched it happen. And now, we are living a moment of greater awareness of sexism and a lot more women finding their voices and also more women learning how to successfully support one another. So, when some Russian fake news cell or Russian funded US ‘independent journalism’ site starts hammering at Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi etc, it wont have the same impact. At least, I hope so. 2018 may prove a great year for women candidates. Then, I’m sure those who spend their time deriding HRC will say that proves it was her, not her gender. It wont matter then, because the necessary change will have rooted itself.

  35. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Side note: It amazes me that Wobblie would condemn out of hand my acceptance of Nuclear power, knowing I lived through Three Mile Island as a kid, and arrived at that conclusion seeing no other viable option. That my position there is then used to attack the legitimacy of any of my points and to imply that I’m some corporate shill, is frightening. If it is impossible to respect differing opinions based on first hand experience of an issue, I think we are sunk. Who needs Russia or Trump when we generate our own ideological propaganda of our own free will.

  36. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I received a good amount of flack for suggesting that violence was an appropriate way of receiving the NEO-NAZI Richard Spencer wherever he may be.

    Turns out I have been vindicated. Spencer has suspended his HATE TOUR because there’s been too much violence at his speaking engagements,particularly at MSU recently.

    While I did not participate in the violence (and would not), I can’t say I’m sad that it happened. Neo-nazis embody violence. Trying to treat people advocating for ethnic cleansing and genocide fairly (i.e. giving them a voice) is a non-starter.

    People who stand up for Neo-nazi speech should be considered complicit in my opinion.

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted March 15, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the Antifa organized at MSU we’re effective, organized and successful. Using free speech and right to assembly to push back on White Supremacists works. While there was some violence, by and large the day was won by creating discomfort and disruption, not just at the event itself, but anywhere else Spencer and co tried to gather. He was out strategized. And rather than being able to mainstream white supremacy with clean cut, khaki clad, ‘free speech advocate’ coded language strategies, Spencer and co were made to appear as the pariahs they are. Overall it was a guarantee of Free speech win.

  38. wobblie
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    The future is in wind and solar. Nuclear and carbon fuels are 20th century dinosaurs

  39. Jean Henry
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Well, duh.
    But we aren’t in the future yet.
    And neither are wind and solar technologies.

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Turning back to Lamb/Saccone, Lamb was, in many ways, the perfect candidate to win in that county, because he was moderate and reflected local values while tapping in to the suburban vote. I think we need to accept that the Dems who can win in the open districts will look more like those districts than our ideal candidates. I personally have no issue with the number of ex-military running for congressional seats. I have met a fair number of recent vets and have been impressed with their ability to work well in groups and hard won understanding of the problems in US politics and foreign policy. It would be a shame if we on the left start to attack on ideological grounds more moderate or more progressive Dems in the places where those candidates suit. We need to get out the vote in huge numbers and focus on turning the House and Senate. We need to accept a diversity of points of view within the left as a strength not a failure.

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