5 Takeaways from PA-18

The first seat of 2018 has fallen. Let's take a look at what that means.

1. Republicans should be scared out of their minds:

This was a district that Donald Trump won by over 20 points just 16 months ago, and to swing all the way back to a toss-up represents a massive shift towards the Democrats. Even if the overall shift in the midterms is half that; Democrats will most likely take back the House and even the Senate would be in play. Put it this way, there are over 100 currently-held GOP seats that are more blue than PA-18.

2. Don't listen to any spin from the White House or GOP, this was a bad night for Republicans:

There has been some noise out of the White House that since the final polls began looking bad for Saccone, an effectively even split isn't all that bad. But to quote Nate Silver, "This is just not credible spin. This result is really awful for the GOP." Once again, when a +20 district is even, there is no room for optimism.

3. This was just one election but it continues a trend:

Every election is different, and it is wrong to draw major conclusions from a single election result. However this isn't one election, it is another in a trend that has consistently shown Democrats doing well. GA-6, SC-5, KS-4, all Republican districts that saw a swing towards the Democrats. With this trend, all aboard the blue wave.

4. Democrats are making real inroads in the suburbs:

The biggest media narrative from the 2016 election was how the Democrats totally lost white working class people, with the rise of the Obama Trump voters. While Trump still seems to hold onto some support among these voters, it is starting to look like the story of 2018 might be Democrats taking a classic GOP stronghold: well educated suburbs. With this, we could see a real realignment with education level becoming more and more the defining aspect of party affiliation.

5. Let's not get carried away:

This was a great night for Democrats, and we should enjoy it, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Republicans have a built-in 6-8 point advantage in the midterms due to incumbency and gerrymandering. In order to retake the House the Democrats are going to have to run active and engaged candidates who are right for each district.    

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