Dems, don't get too excited about Pennsylvania race — it's just a blue blip

Dems, don't get too excited about Pennsylvania race — it's just a blue blip
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In light of last night’s razor-thin Pennsylvania congressional race in the 18th district, there’ll be plenty of people trying to draw conclusions about what it means for the midterms later this year.

Honestly, there’s not much to draw from it: Republicans ran a deeply mediocre candidate against the perfect Democrat, who ran more like a blue-dog Democrat or moderate Republican. If Democrats can clone those exact dynamics across the country this fall, they’ll take the House back. But the reality is they won’t be able to replicate the outcome of this congressional race. Moreover, if Conor Lamb is able pull off this upset, there is an indicator of a blue wave that’s building.

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With all the chatter of said blue wave, you’d think it almost inevitable. There should be concerns among Republicans with Democrats picking up 39 state legislative seats in traditionally strong Republican districts. But it should be noted Democrats lost hundreds of state legislative seats between 2010-2016, so they have over 900 more seats to take back just to return to pre-2010 levels.

 

While it’s never a good sign when 37 Republicans retire from the U.S. House — thereby losing the power of incumbency to hold on to those seats — most of those retirements are actually taking place in red districts.

There are better candidates than Scannone, with better fundamentals of campaigning, and the odds favor Republicans holding a lot of those seats. However, with President Trump’s approval numbers still below 50 percent, all of these things should give Republicans pause.

Yet it’s hard to see 2018 developing into a blue wave. For example, the Texas primaries were hyped as a signal of the great and awesome blue wave. In the midst of a “blue wave,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz calls for 'every penny' of El Chapo's criminal enterprise to be used for Trump's wall after sentencing Conservatives defend Chris Pratt for wearing 'Don't Tread On Me' T-shirt Google official denies allegations of ties to China MORE (R-Texas) won his primary with more votes than all the candidates in the Democratic Senate primary combined. There were half a million more votes in the Republican primary than the Democratic primary; the wave looked more like a blue trickle or a blue blip.

While Democrat numbers in Texas were higher than normal, a lot of those numbers were in places where there were contested Democratic primaries, with progressives vs. centrists.

The higher numbers were, in fact, an indication of the continuing civil war inside the Democratic Party between the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton slams Trump rally: 'The time has come again' to fight for democracy Trump blasts minority Democrats, rally crowd chants 'send her back' The Memo: Democrats debate Trump response – 'Being righteous and losing sucks' MORE types vs. the Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar #IStandWithIlhan trends after crowd at Trump rally chants 'send her back' MORE Bros. Take, for example, the 7th Congressional District in Texas: it’s one of the 23 Republican-held Congressional districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.  

It stands to reason that if Democrats are going to win the 24 seats necessary to take back the House, those 23 seats are prime targets. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) knows this and actually spent money in that race, against progressive candidate Laura Moser. Yet, the DCCC didn’t succeed in knocking Moser out; instead she forced a run-off on May 22.

Not a terribly good sign for Democrats hoping to take the House back. Not only are there more messy primaries in their 2018 future, Democrats are confronting the fact that they might actually end up putting progressive and far-left candidates up as their nominees in the general election.

Democrats also appear to be struggling on what they’re actually running on in 2018. It would appear from the last several weeks their message is crystallizing, and it’s a real winner: “We’ll raise your taxes if you put us in the majority, ban your guns, side with violent illegal immigrants and defy federal immigration laws with sanctuary cities, work to impeach Trump and keep the Russiagate hoax going.”

When you’re being eaten from within by far-left donors and grassroots, it is hard to comprehend reality, as many on the far-left do seem to live in an alternate reality. But when the tax cuts now have majority support among the American people, it will be hard to run against the tax cut “crumbs.”

While many in the Democrat Party would like to virtue signal on the gun issue, it will be telling how many of them actually run on banning guns and confiscation, especially Democrat senators running in red states; this of course is doubtful, considering the recent Axios poll showing red-state Democrat senators in trouble. 

While many on the left want to make the NRA the great bogeyman, remember that the NRA really only represents maybe 5 percent of all gun owners in America: There are by some estimates up to 100 million gun owners in America. Perhaps for once Democrats will openly campaign on gun confiscation and we can see how that works out for them.

In regards to illegal immigration, Democrats have more issues on this than the mainstream media would choose to discuss: the 800-plus illegal immigrants that the erstwhile mayor of Oakland decided to warn regarding ICE raids were in fact criminals, with violent records of robbery and sexual natures who had been deemed threats to public safety. Most Americans would likely agree that violent illegals should be deported, not protected.

Beyond the messaging issues for Democrats, one can’t ignore the fundamentals of money and organization. The Republican National Committee is sitting on four times as much cash on hand at this moment than it had in 2014. It’s also planning on sending hundreds of more staff into the field in targeted states before the summer.  

The Democratic National Committee, on the other hand, began the year barely financially viable, and while their fundraising has ticked up a bit, they’re still behind the curve on all fronts. And the congressional generic polls are telling an interesting story as well: In 2006, when Democrats picked up 31 seats to take back the House, their RealClearPolitics final average was 11.5 percent in the generic poll. Right now they’re at 7.9 percent, which indicates Democrats will pick up seats in the House — hardly a blue tsunami.

So what if in fact the 2018 midterms turn out like this: Republicans pick up a half-dozen seats in the Senate, and Democrats maybe pick up a dozen or so seats in the House?

What if in fact the 2018 midterms are a soul-sucking event for Democrats, as they watch their blue wave become a blue trickle and they are confronted with the horrifying idea that their current path of leftism is making them into the Coastal Regional Party?

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority.