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Op-Ed Columnist: Victories for the Left

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But this may be the most interesting dynamic: Some Republicans were openly rooting for Eastman, believing that she represents less of a threat. The seat is currently held by a Republican, Don Bacon, who’s running for re-election.

Republican operatives inserted themselves in the primary campaign, referring to Ashford as “flip-flop Brad.” Last night, after the results were coming in, some Republicans were clearly pulling for Eastman and exulted when she won. “This is a nightmare” for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Jack Pandol of the National Republican Congressional Committee, tweeted.

Of course, the Republicans may ultimately rue their glee. If Eastman and others like her can win, the Democratic Party will move to the left. As I wrote yesterday, it’s still not clear in which circumstances moderate candidates are actually more electable than strongly liberal (or conservative) ones. Yet 2018 is going to offer a fascinating batch of evidence.

In some competitive districts, the Democrats will have nominated proud progressives like Eastman. In others, they will have nominated moderates. Come November, it will be possible to compare the outcomes.

Night of the woman. Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation currently includes zero women. “After last night there could be four Dem women from metro Philly alone,” writes Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report. Garance Franke-Ruta of Yahoo News noted that their victories are, in an indirect way, Hillary Clinton’s “cracks in the glass ceiling.”

Among the victories by women: “Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee, both members of Pittsburgh’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, have defeated Dom and Paul Costa, both incumbent state representatives, in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary,” reports Mother Jones. These are statehouse races, not congressional ones, but they’re still big wins for the Bernie Sanders wing of the party.


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