Last week, centrist Democrat and political neophyte Conor Lamb won an improbable special election victory in Pennsylvania’s 18th — a rural, white, blue-collar district that Trump previously carried by 20 points.
For Republicans, the defeat is an agonizing black eye. Conservative groups had drowned the district in $10 million worth of advertising. Trump held a fiery rally in the days preceding the election. Lamb’s opponent, Rick Saccone, was a battle-tested candidate — a Pennsylvania State Representative, a military veteran, a man so aligned with the president that he once referred to himself as “Trump before Trump was Trump.”
As America has seen in nearly every special election since Trump’s inauguration, an enthusiasm gap exists in America. In the course of a year, Democrats have closed double-digit polling deficits in some of the reddest and most conservative swatches of America. Six months before mid-term elections, the political tea leaves are already predicting a “bloodbath.” Once a wistful pipe dream, the reclamation of the two-dozen seats to regain the House now seems like a certitude.