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As readers will know, the young well-connected Democrat Conor Lamb won an extremely narrow victory over the older establishment Republican Rick Saccone. He won by 613 votes of the 238,378 cast. Lamb ran as a conservative Democrat, Saccone as a near clone of the president. Saccone should have won big. The district had gone for Trump by twenty points just two years ago. Congressman Murphy ran unopposed in the last two elections, the Democrats seeing no point in running anyone against him.
It was a reading-the-tea-leaves election, the kind political observers think might tell us something about the future. It might tell us whether more Democrats can win in Republican districts by running as conservatives. It might also tell us whether those conservative Democrats need to be pro-life. I think the answers are yes to the first and no to the second.
Idea - Party - Voters - Reagan - Democrats
If I understand it, the idea is that the Democratic Party can win back some of the voters once called “Reagan Democrats.” These voters support the Republicans partly because they share the party’s view on social issues like abortion and homosexuality, as well as on immigration and gun control—in other words, they reject the cultural left—but they still hold old Democratic positions on economics. A candidate who opposed cultural liberalism while supporting unions and a moderate welfare state would win their vote. It would help if he were sensitive to local issues, as Lamb was in supporting fracking and Trump’s tariffs. Lamb also claimed independence from the Democratic establishment by swearing never to support the bogeyman Nancy Pelosi.
The possibility that Lamb’s election showed that the party needed to run pro-life candidates seems to have occurred to pro-choicers as well, given how many stories denying the possibility appeared after the election. Just yesterday the influential site The Hill published an article...
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