Stunning Loss! – Pennsylvania Shows Flashing Trump Card Won’t Work All The Time

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Mar 14 2018
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Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District should be an easy meat for President Donald Trump and Republicans. After all, this is the same district where Trump won by about 20 points in 2016. But as stunning as his victory in the 2016 Presidential Election, Trump finally gets a taste of a loss – a stunning loss – in a deep-red district.


Democrat Conor Lamb appears to have win Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. With 99% of the votes counted, Lamb was leading by razor-thin 641 votes over Republican Rick Saccone. Although the contest was never supposed to be competitive, it is being closely watched as an indicator on Trump’s political influence.


Trump put all his chips on Saccone. He sent his eldest son, his vice president and his daughter. And he even visited the district twice, whining and bitching until foaming at the mouth about his newly introduced 25% tariff on steel imports in a district of 7,000 steelworkers and almost 90,000 voters from union households. Obviously the voters were more sophisticated than Trump had thought.

Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District - Rick Saccone Republican and Conor Lamb Democrat

Still, Republican Party couldn’t avoid another embarrassing loss ahead of this fall’s midterms in November. In December, the GOP suffered an embarrassing loss when Democrat Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race. A month earlier, Democrats also won a governor’s race in Virginia when Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie.


This time, Trump can’t blame Steve Bannon, his former White House chief strategist, the same way the U.S. president had blamed him after the Alabama’s loss. Mr. Bannon was blamed by not only Trump but also the Republicans for supporting former judge Roy Moore, despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.


The stunning win by 33-year-old Lamb gives the Democratic Party a shot of confidence that they can win control of the U.S. House of Representatives from Republicans in the November elections. Unlike Trump’s over-confidence, and sometimes arrogance, approach in demanding for locals’ vote, Lamb’s moderate image has won the hearts of the district.

Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District - Rick Saccone and Donald Trump

As Trump was campaigning for his candidate Rick Saccone, he told Pennsylvania voters that his new tariffs were saving the steel industry and urged them to send a Republican to the House so he can keep delivering those kinds of results. Heck, he even revealed his 2020 re-election slogan – “Keep America Great!” – after bragging he can’t use MAGA because he had already done that.


Trump also thought he could insult Democrat Conor Lamb by calling him “Lamb the Sham” during a campaign rally. On the other hand, Lamb rarely mentions Trump, focusing on economic issues, healthcare and protecting Social Security and Medicare. After declared the winner, Mr. Lamb can have the last laugh, mocking the foolish campaigning by President Trump.


Lamb said – “There was a lot of foolishness in this election and a lot of really cartoonish campaigning, and I think by the time of the president’s visit last weekend, people were kind of tired of that entire approach.” The over-confidence Trump appeared to have had forgotten how Hillary Clinton lost to him during the 2016 Presidential Election – excessive advertising.

Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District - Democrat Conor Lamb - Pelosi Sheep

Now that he is the POTUS, Trump foolishly reuse Clinton’s strategy, spending more than US$10 million in the district to boost Rick Saccone, only to backfire spectacularly. Lamb said – “I had people coming up to me, especially elderly people coming up to me every day and saying, ‘man, I hate those ads against you. It’s not right, it’s not worthy of us,’ ”


Lots of money was spent on advertisements condemning Mr. Lamb as a “Rubber Stamp for Nancy Pelosi,” the Democratic leader in the House. A deceptive video purported to show Mr. Lamb in a fight with labour unions was also unleashed. Voters didn’t buy it when Trump called Mr. Saccone “an extraordinary person” but dismissed Mr. Lamb as someone who should not be trusted by voters.


Democrats must flip 24 Republican-held seats this November to seize control of the House. With first-time Democrat Conor Lamb achieving what was once unthinkable victory, President Trump, and Republicans for that matter, should think again if they believe there is no way the Democratic Party could snatch their House in another 8 months.

Donald Trump Thinking

The failure to secure an outright win, despite Trump’s aggressive drumming of steel and aluminium tariffs in the Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, means the U.S. president isn’t invincible at all. The results of this election also prove that if the Republican candidates suck, nobody, not even Donald Trump’s political brand could save the day.


There are roughly 120 House seats currently controlled by Republicans in districts that are not as solidly Republican as Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. Obviously, the latest defeat is the wake-up call for both Donald Trump and Republican Party. If a seat of 15 years could easily fall today, so do those 120 seats.


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