By Steve Hunley


“All politics is local.” – Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, late Speaker of the House.


As this is written, the special Congressional election in Pennsylvania is too close to call.  It appears Democrat Conor Lamb may have won.  The contest between Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone has been hailed as evidence of the unpopularity of President Donald Trump.  It is no such thing.

Pennsylvania’s 18th District has had a Republican congressman for quite a few years, although the voters have a Democratic tilt.  It is certainly true Donald Trump carried the district in 2016 handily.

Conor Lamb admittedly was a highly attractive candidate – – – young, handsome, a former Marine, and articulate.  Frankly, Conor Lamb has provided Democrats with a blueprint if they really want to take the House of Representatives away from Republicans this fall.  There was little difference between the candidates on some very important issues; both Lamb and Saccone support President Trump’s tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum.  Both candidates support the rights of gun owners.  Lamb swore up and down he would never vote for Nancy Pelosi to be the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.

The Washington Post has taken pains to redefine Conor Lamb as not a real conservative.  Certainly, Conor Lamb is conservative for a Democrat.  How many Democrats in the Senate voted for the tax cuts?  Not a single Democratic senator voted for the tax cuts, which put more money into the pockets of working people and has helped boost the economy.  Just how many real “moderates” are there amongst the Democrats in Congress?  They are harder to find than snipes in downtown Knoxville.

The campaign was largely about which party could brag about winning as the newly elected congressman will have about 9 months in office before having to run in a new district as the congressional map in Pennsylvania has been redrawn.  Republicans need to remember when casting votes in primaries it really does matter who carries the GOP banner in the general election.  When the Democrats nominate an attractive candidate, it helps when Republicans have one of their own.  Clearly one thing the special election in Pennsylvania has amply demonstrated the far-left positions taken by many Democrats throughout the country aren’t going to win many general elections.  The national news media, utterly wrong about Republican prospects, especially those of Donald Trump, in 2016 continue to yap and write as if they have any credibility left.  Most recently all we heard about was the “blue” tidal wave coming in Texas, which proved to be more of a ripple.

Every vote cast in special elections becomes fodder for the mainstream media who rush to interpret every little thing as a rebuke to President Trump.  In the maelstrom of media comment, few stop to remember these are the very same people who insisted Donald Trump could not win under any circumstances.  These are the very same people who disdained the people voting in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District as the kind of Democrats they did not need.  One only has to recall Barack Obama’s comments at a fundraiser in San Francisco when he faced Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania presidential primary in 2008.  Obama said about these Pennsylvanians, “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”  No less an elitist than Hillary Clinton immediately pounced on Obama’s comments to denounce him as an “elitist.”  Clearly, most of the Democrats voting for Conor Lamb are not Obama Democrats, much less Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders Democrats.  While certainly Conor Lamb will not vote for many Republican priorities in Congress, he surely will not be the sort of Democrat most congressional Democrats will like.

A Democratic candidate who supports at least some of Trump’s agenda is hardly a thorough repudiation of the president.  Despite all the talk in the mainstream media about national “unity” and bipartisanship, that usually means the Republicans must cave in to whatever the national Democrats want.  Conor Lamb’s election certainly doesn’t mean working Americans are swinging the pendulum back to the current icons of the Democratic Party: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Unemployment in the African-American community is at all time low, which certainly never happened under President Barack Obama, nor would it have happened under a President Hillary Clinton.  The economy is recovering and coming back strong, which also never happened under Obama, who liked to remind us America could never reclaim its greatness.  Of course Obama and his ilk never believed America was great in the first place.  Conor Lamb never campaigned on a platform that the majority of national Democrats would approve of and the mainstream media can’t hide that fact.

The truth is there are enough lessons for both Democrats and Republicans to ponder before the fall elections.