The Real Meaning and Impact of Conor Lamb’s Win

It’s already being called a lot of things — an “embarrassment,” a “blue blip,” even an “earthquake.” But the best description of last night’s special House election in Pennsylvania may be “wake-up call.” By tenths of a percent, Democrat Conor Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine vet, is on the verge of snatching a seat away from a district that Donald Trump won by 20 points. What does it mean? So far, the GOP’s campaign arm has the best answer: “Prepare to bear down.”

That’s exactly what Republicans will have to do if they want to protect the conservative progress of this president. Of course, as plenty of pundits have warned, there will be a tendency to exaggerate Tuesday’s results.

“Everyone in some way or another is going to get the results of the Pennsylvania House special election wrong,” Salena Zito warned in the Washington Examiner four days before polling stations even opened. After all, this was no ordinary race. Republican Rick Saccone wasn’t facing off against your average liberal zealot. On the contrary, Lamb is exactly the kind of candidate DNC officials have been chasing out of the party. A pro-gun moderate, Lamb’s profile appealed to voters in an area that might agree with some parts of the Democratic agenda — but think the party is lurching too far Left on issues like bathrooms.

As Zito points out:

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“The young, charming Democratic candidate Conor Lamb is running like a Republican on matters from guns to getting rid of Nancy Pelosi. When your message is simply I am for new leadership and cleaning up Washington, and you look like you just walked out of an Orvis catalog, you are going to connect with voters on both sides of the aisle.”

“Second, Lamb never slams President Trump; why would he? Trump won this district by double digits… Third, none of Lamb’s campaign signs say he is a Democrat. He is not part of the resistance, he does not call himself progressive, he doesn’t try to divide voters into different special interest groups.”

So while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is insisting, “These results should terrify Republicans,” others urge caution. Ned Ryun in this morning’s Hill writes, “Dems, don’t get too excited about the Pennsylvania race.” If they “can clone those exact dynamics across the country this fall, they’ll take the House back. But the reality is they won’t be able to replicate the outcome of this congressional race.” Still, with 24 seats separating Democrats from the levers of power, Tuesday’s results are nothing to sneeze at.

As of this morning, Lamb’s lead was only 641 votes — a sliver of the 224,000 cast. If you think your vote doesn’t matter this November, think again. If conservatives sit on their hands and refuse to get out and actively protect this administration’s conservative agenda, what happened yesterday will be a harbinger of things to come. Obviously, there were unique circumstances in the Pennsylvania race, but it ought to remind everyone what’s at stake this fall.

Although the liberal media won’t admit it, there’s a deliberate effort to try to discourage evangelicals from voting and being involved. That’s why we’re seeing an almost daily rehashing of Trump’s past. Americans can’t make it through a half-hour of cable news without hearing about the president’s behavior back in 2006. They can’t open a newspaper without another columnist shaming Christians for supporting Trump. That’s by design. Liberals know that if they can shame evangelicals for supporting this president, they can suppress their enthusiasm. Their aim is to translate that into a decline of our record participation in 2016. If that decline happens — even a little bit — they can retake Congress. And they understand as well as we do that if Republicans lose either chamber, the president’s conservative agenda is as good as dead.

Over the past 14 months, Americans have watched this president do more than stop Obama’s extremism — they’ve seen him reverse it. We have a rare opportunity these next two years to continue profoundly changing this nation for the better. We can’t take for granted the elections that make that possible. The balance of the Supreme Court, the future of millions of unborn children, the security of our country, and defense of our freedoms hang on them. Don’t quit now, not when we’re finally starting to pave America’s way back to greatness.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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