This is going to be interesting: “Democrat Katie McGinty, the former chief of staff for Gov. Wolf, launched her campaign for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, setting the stage for a hard-fought primary against former Rep. Joe Sestak as their party desperately tries to unseat the Republican incumbent, Pat Toomey.” Partially because you usually don’t see a news media organization admit things are this bad for a Democratic challenger. Of course, in this particular situation ‘desperately’ only barely begins to describe the Democrats’ problems here.
The fundamental problem for Democrats hoping to take back the Senate is that their optimistic strategy – look at all those Republican-held seats! – looks great from twenty thousand feet, but when you start zooming in to see the details things start looking considerably less rosy. In Pennsylvania, for example: people generally like Pat Toomey and he’s an incumbent. It’s not really explained how Joe Sestak hopes to do better than he did in 2010, given that Toomey’s advantages in being a reasonably popular incumbent will roughly offset the hypothetical advantage of Democrats during a Presidential year. On the other hand, it’s even harder to explain why Katie McGinty would do any better, seeing as she’s never held elected office, lost resoundingly in her last primary, and is apparently running on the fact that she and the likely Democratic nominee will both be women*. Fortunately, the difficulties of the Democratic party here are not my difficulties. Or, in fact, yours.
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*Take it up with philly.com: “McGinty’s candidacy – along with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s for president – raises the prospect of having two women vying to make history atop the Democratic ticket, an idea sure to thrill some of the party’s base.” That’s a polite way of saying that McGinty is running a gimmick campaign. Gimmick campaigns can work, but let’s not pretend that they’re intellectually rigorous, all right?