Pennsylvania vote shows that Trumpism has its limits – even in Trump country

By Robert Costa | The Washington Post

The neck-and-neck result in Tuesday’s special congressional election in a reliably Republican Pennsylvania district revealed that the appetite for President Donald Trump’s style of politics may have its limits in the land of shuttered steel mills and coal mines that has been the core of his support base.

The president went all in for Republican candidate Rick Saccone, a seemingly safe bet in a district Trump had carried by 20 percentage points in 2016.

Trump visited there twice in recent weeks. He dispatched his eldest son. He sent top White House aides. Yet, with all that political capital on the line, the president watched his favored candidate finish, in effect, in a tie in what should have been an easy win.

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The razor-thin vote count – three months after Democrats picked up a U.S. Senate seat in deeply conservative Alabama and coming on a whirlwind day when Trump tried to wrangle control of his administration by ousting his secretary of state – left Republicans feeling jittery just months ahead of the midterm elections.

And, with Democrat Conor Lamb coming close to a once unthinkable victory, other Democrats running this fall in Trump-friendly districts may find a formula to boost their hopes of retaking the House.

“We should be able to elect a box of hammers in this district. If we’re losing here, you can bet there is a Democratic wave coming,” said veteran Republican consultant Mike Murphy, a Trump critic.

Uncertainty now pervades the party that Trump leads.

Tuesday’s effective tie, coming in the aftermath of Trump’s aggressive push for steel and aluminum tariffs that were backed by both Pennsylvania candidates, suggests the power of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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