Democratic candidate Conor Lamb’s victory in Pennsylvania’s special election is as important as it is symbolic, suggests Frank Bruni of The New York Times. It signals a huge turnaround for Democrats who lost the district by 20 points to Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. It had voted so red for almost a decade that the Democrats didn’t even propose candidates for the 2014 and 2016 House races. The president’s divisive style of governing has fired up the opposition to him. More than anything, the Republican campaign strategy of highlighting tax cuts, among other things, doesn’t resonate with voters as much anymore.
Pennsylvania’s special election is not as special or consequential as some believe, asserts Patricia Murphy of Roll Call. It won’t affect the GOP’s dominance of Congress, or even who gets the state’s Congressional seat in the midterms. The district lines are set to be redrawn, which changes the playing field, so the winner of this election simply won’t have that much sway. One way or another, it was symbolic more than anything else. For both parties, this race was primarily about bragging rights. It will not shape the path that the country goes down in 2018. The national attention this election has gotten is over-the-top.