Democratic party candidate Conor Lamb shocked the political world as he either won a House seat in a very red Pennsylvania district or came very close to doing so and he did it by copying Bill Clinton’s 1996 strategy of triangulation.
Traingulate verb 1. The act of a political candidate presenting his or her views as being above and between the left and right sides of the political spectrum. It’s sometimes called the “third way.”1
Lamb went on the record to distance himself from the extremist wing of the Democrat party.
“I’ve already said on the front page of the newspaper that I don’t support Nancy Pelosi,” he said in response to Republican charges that he was a member of Pelosi’s “flock.”
“If we’re going to take the majority, it’s going to be because we win districts like that,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tx). “Running against Nancy Pelosi is going to help you a lot more than running with her.”
Lamb positioned himself as a pro-gun, pro-coal, Trump-aligned, anti-progressive, conservative Democrat. Other Democrats see his strategy as a model for the 2018 midterms.
“I think everyone’s watching what Conor Lamb’s doing, and I hope they’re taking notes,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).
The strategy may be sound.
Nancy Pelosi polls much worse than President Trump so there is little risk in Democrats distancing themselves from her. Leader Pelosi’s ratings are underwater with a 48.7% unfavorable rating and only 28.6% approve of the job she’s doing according to a HuffPost average of polls – a 20.1-point spread. Real Clear Politics average of polls has the president at 54% disapproval and 41% approval – a 13.3-point spread with a much larger portion liking the job he’s doing.
Lamb managed to do well in a red district despite obvious conflicts between his Catholic upbringing and the Democratic party’s pro-choice agenda. He did so by
waffling triangulating on answers to questions about late-term abortions using incorrect constitutional and Catholic doctrinal references.
Based on his comments, Lamb would also have failed biology and civics: “We believe that life begins at conception,” he said, “but as a matter of separation of church and state, I think a woman has the right to choose under the law, so I would vote against” a ban on abortion after 20 weeks. A unique human life does begin at conception — that is a scientific fact, not an article of faith — but what does conception have to do with a five-month-old unborn baby? As WebMD tells us, at this stage the developing baby’s “eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails, and hair are formed. . . . Your baby can even suck his or her thumb, yawn, stretch, and make faces.”
The trouble for conservative Democrats, or those running as such, is that once they get to Congress, they will be expected by their constituents to live up to the positions they ran on and the DNC leadership will expect them to toe the party line – or else. So far, there hasn’t been much rebellion against the Nancy and Chuck “resist” agenda. This conundrum could be remedied if a wave of conservative and moderate Democrats win in Republican districts or successfully primary leftist incumbents. Should that occur, Nancy Pelosi’s bid to lead the Democrats in the House is could be over if the new Democrat delegation decides they want more moderate leadership.
1 PoliticalDictionary.com referenced 3/15/18 https://politicaldictionary.com/words/triangulation/