Conor Lamb’s Victory Is Not a 20-Point Swing

I don’t want to throw cold water on Conor Lamb’s apparent victory tonight, but I do want to point out one little thing: when a congressional seat opens up and there’s no longer an incumbent, that can produce a 10-point swing all by itself. Back when Democrats still ran candidates in the Pennsylvania 18th district, Tim Murphy typically won with about 63 percent of the vote. This means that a non-incumbent Republican could probably expect about 55 percent of the vote—that is, a 10-point victory. A zero-point victory for Conor Lamb is, therefore, roughly a 10-point swing in favor of the Democrats.

Everyone should probably ignore the “20-point swing” nonsense that cable news has been regurgitating endlessly. This is based on Donald Trump’s winning margin in the presidential election, but that’s apples-to-oranges. It’s congressional contests that matter. Besides, a 10-point swing is still pretty good, especially since Democrats got outspent 4-to-1, so there’s no need to exaggerate things. Let’s all stay reality-based here.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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