A picture is all this post really needs, so here it is, from the special election for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania yesterday.
As you can probably tell, there’s not a lot of red on that map. A district that Trump won by 20 points a year and a half ago has now gone to a Democrat.
One theme of this site is whether all politics is local. This is a prime case study of that question, and your answer depends on which way you spin it.
The talking points coming from Republican camps and Paul Ryan are that their candidate was weak and the Democrat ran as a moderate, rejecting liberalism, gun control, and Nancy Pelosi. In sum, the voters of PA-18 chose a candidate that fit their values over one that didn’t (that all politics is local). I think this is rationalization, and wrong.
In today’s media driven society, Trump overrides the traditional power of local politics. Trump sucks all the air (and air-waves) out of the room. His unpopularity and mounting personal and political trouble matter, and will matter all the way down the ticket in November.
Republicans that choose to ignore this will face a reckoning in November.
***On a side note, Trump was campaigning for the Republican and Joe Biden was campaigning for the Democrat in the closing days before the election. Kinda makes you wonder who would be president if Ol’ Joe would have run.