Monday, May 16, 2022

As Long as There's No Eagle or Birdie, Pennsylvania Looks Like a Hole in One of the GOP's Must-Win States

In Pennsylvania, lieutenant governor John Fetterman probably has the Democratic Party's US Senate nomination nailed down -- even though he suffered a stroke over the weekend. For one thing, there's been a lot of early voting during a period when he's enjoyed a double-digit lead over both of his significant opponents.

And, assuming there's no second or third major health event, his nomination will likely nail down a win for Democrats in Pennslyvania. In fact, the stroke and the fact that he's talking normally after it tend to accentuate his powerful physicality (he's 6'9" tall, shaved-headed/goateed, and tattooed).

The seat is currently held by a Republican who's not seeking re-election (Pat Toomey), and the GOP field is a dumpster fire. Trump has endorsed one not-very-Trumpist candidate, and the MAGA base seems to like a different, very Trumpist, candidate.

All the Democrats really have to do to win this race is not nominate Conor Lamb. And it doesn't look like they will.

As I pointed out in a previous post, in order to get their net gain of one seat to assume control of the Senate, the Republicans have to win both of the "toss-up" seats currently occupied by a Republican, AND one of the "toss-up" seats currently held by a Democrat, while the Democrats could retain control just by winning all three of their currently held "toss-ups."

At the moment, the Democrats look reasonably, though not certainly, set up to hold their own "toss-ups," and flip Pennsylvania, and flip Wisconsin (the other GOP-held "toss-up"), and possibly flip Ohio, which wasn't a "toss-up" before JD Vance got the GOP nomination but may well become one now.

And as I always like to point out, and pointed out vis a vis Pennsylvania in a 2019 post, these "toss-up" races always come down to turnout -- which party gets its voters to actually vote. The GOP seems to be divided three ways this year, especially in Pennsylvania: Trumpists who do what Trump says, Trumpists who are Trumpier than Trump, and non-Trumpists. It's unlikely that any GOP nominee will satisfy all three of those camps as much as Fetterman will enthuse a less divided Democratic base.

Of course, Fetterman could always have a fatal heart attack on the hustings or whatever, and the effect of that on the outcome in November isn't really knowable (I lived in Missouri when Mel Carnahan won a US Senate race after he died). But if his health holds out, I'm pretty sure he's going to whip ass in November.

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