Tom Davis Warns House GOP Post PA-18
Former National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Davis remains one of the smartest, savviest, streetwise political wise men in Washington — and he landed over at MSNBC yesterday to talk with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Daily about PA-18 and its aftermath.
His message was sobering; his advice, sage.
The big elephant in the room in any post PA-18 discussion, of course, is the fact this western PA CD is a +20 Trump district — and the GOP still lost.
So what might this mean for GOP House incumbents in, say, CD’s won by Trump in 2016 with a 10% margin? And for those unlucky handful who represent districts actually won by Hillary Clinton?
“There are some members… there’s nothing they can do,” Davis deadpanned, conceding many of these GOP incumbents will simply be washed away due to respective party intensity and turnout.
And he’s right: if the Dem opponent is even semi-credible and well funded, there’s basically nothing a GOP incumbent can do in CD’s of the composition noted above.
That’s just the nature of cyclical waves that afflict both parties from time to time. Shit happens.
This is what happened to Ed Gillespie in the Virginia Governor’s race: GOP voters turned out big — his vote total was the second highest in state history. The problem? Ralph Northam’s turnout was supercharged, and set the state record. Gillespie was consequently swamped in Northern VA. Turn out the lights.
The other Davis observation: GOP lawmakers on both sides of the Hill are making a mistake to “play four corners defense” going into November — relying solely upon the GOP tax cut.
He suggests “more legislating” and passing any incremental bills that help incumbents build their profile, identity and legitimacy; keep proving day in and day out you’re working in DC to help the district.
But this is now an “every GOP man and woman for himself” cycle.
It’s not enough just to raise big money, effectively perform official duties, and aggressively define your record and that of your opponent.
As Davis says: “There’s nothing” some of them will be able to do.
Give up? Never. You can still make your own luck — and some will. But most will not.