Lamb: A model for Democrats?
Democrats, it’s time to trade in leftism for “Lambism,” said Ronald Radosh in TheDailyBeast.com. Last week, Democrat Conor Lamb eked out a special-election win in a western Pennsylvania congressional district that President Trump won by 20 points. Lamb, a former Marine with deep ties to the district, vowed to protect Obamacare, condemned the Republican tax cuts, and embraced organized labor. But he ran as a centrist Democrat, shunning the far-left template favored by the anti-Trump “Resistance.” Lamb refused to parrot the progressive line on guns (he supports expanded background checks but opposes an assault weapons ban) and abortion (Lamb is personally opposed but supports the legal right to choose), and he barely mentioned Trump by name. “If Democrats want to take back the House,” they need to run moderates like Lamb in rural and blue-collar districts.
Actually, Lamb’s victory “proves the ‘Resistance’ is real,” said Robert Borosage in TheNation.com. With a “blue wave” building, energized Democrats turned out to vote in droves, as they have in virtually every election in recent months. Lamb ran “as a champion of working people”—the role Democrats once championed and should again. Nationwide, there are more than 100 Republican-held congressional districts more competitive than the heavily white, working-class district that Lamb won. His victory “doesn’t prove that every Democrat on the ballot in November should run just like him,” said Bill Scher in Politico.com. But the truth is that it’s moderate Democrats who have won the biggest election victories of the Trump era, such as Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama. Remember that Montana’s Rob Quist and Georgia’s Jon Ossoff went down to special-election defeats in conservative districts last year after they were caricatured “as rubber stamps for Washington Democrats.”
“There will be plenty of time before 2020 to argue over the Democratic Party’s direction,” said E.J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post. But first, Democrats need to take back the House from a “supine GOP” in order to provide a desperately needed check on Trump. That means supporting the most electable candidate in each district. Full stop. In some cases that will be a full-throated liberal, and in others it will be a centrist like Lamb. “Whatever their differences, Democrats will not allow Russia’s meddling or the many forms of Trump administration corruption to be buried.” Right now, that’s all that really matters.