Pennsylvania 18: A Red Flag for the GOP

The results in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District confirm problems for Republicans.

The size of the Democratic general election wave is still unclear, but something is happening. Districts won comfortably by President Donald Trump in 2016 are more competitive now, which suggests that districts won by Hillary Clinton are likely to go Democratic in the midterms.

It looks like Democrat Conor Lamb either narrowly won a congressional district that went for Trump by 20 points, or he lost it narrowly. Either way, that’s bad news for the GOP.

If GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone ends up winning, Republicans may heave a sigh of relief that they didn’t lose a seat. But that is not the story.

The real story is Saccone badly underperforming Trump.

Clearly, either some Trump voters didn’t turn out, or other Trump voters defected to Lamb. Or both things happened.

No matter what, the result is a problem for Republicans in western Pennsylvania but also in other suburban areas.

Of course, there are always reasons to be cautious about reading too much into the results of a special election, especially when we don’t have exit polling to help us understand who voted and how demographic groups behaved.

Lamb, 33, was widely regarded as the better candidate — more articulate, more attractive and more energetic. The Marine veteran served as an assistant U.S. attorney and ran as a moderate by applauding Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, opposing new laws restricting gun…

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