And then the Pennsylvania Special Election for the House.
As I type this Tuesday morning, there's no official result yet, even with 100% of the vote in, down to 579 votes with Democrat Conor Lamb in the lead, and a recount possible. But the thing is, it pretty much doesn't matter.
The first thing to keep in mind is that what's most important here on a national level is that in a Republican district that Trump had won by 20 points, Democrats cut that entire margin. "Who won" only impacts this one race (and not even that very much, more on this in a moment), but the vote swing is an indication for the entire country. Regardless of who is declared winner in the race here, that 20-point drop must strike terror in Republican officials. After all, that's generally been the margin (between 15-20 points) that Democrats have cut Republican leads in most of the state and federal races they've had so far, so -- most-especially in a rock-solid blue collar very-conservative district -- this firmly confirms that reality. But also importantly is that there are 115 House races in November held by Republicans where the margins that Democrats have to make up is less than existed in this district. If Democrats only win a mere third of those, they'll take by the House -- and take it handily, since they only have to win back 24 seats. (Side note: in 22 of those districts...Hilary Clinton won the presidential vote in 2016!! So, they really only have to turn two additional seats.)
And keep in mind, this result yesterday is after the president of the United States personally came to the district to campaign for the Republican -- pompously saying "This guy should win easily, he's gonna win easily!" It's hard to know if Trump's appearance there helped or hurt, but either way it didn't likely impact too many percentage points. Even, just for the sake of argument, if he knocked off as much as five points (which I'm certain he didn't), Democrats still would have had a huge 15 point swing. But then, for all we know, he spurred the get-out-of-vote efforts of Democrats.
But the second reason that the winner here is not especially-important is a very specific, totally-old, real-world one. Pennsylvania is going to be doing redistricting, and it's likely that in November this seat probably won't even exist! So, voters here are not electing someone who'll be an incumbent -- they're electing someone (whatever his party) who will will be joining a House with a GOP majority so heavy that his vote won't matter much, and then in November his district will most-probably be gone. Yes, that's what the hoopla of this Special Election was all about.
And that's what makes this race so especially-bizarre for Republicans. They spent a fortune on this race, an estimated $10 million -- all for a result that didn't really matter. Even if all of that money ends up helping the Republican win the seat (which at the moment doesn't seem to be the case) -- it's a seat that will only exist for 10 months in a House that's already heavily Republican. They get pretty close to zero for it. The most they got -- maybe, possibly -- is that spending all that money tempered the vote onslaught, and instead of the swing being, say, 24 points, it was "only" 20. That doesn't strike me as money well-spent -- money that could probably be much better used in November.
But hey, it's their money. Fine by me.