The GOP can redirect those politicians back toward the actual party planks. It's not that the Republican platform has failing issues, it's that so few Republicans have actually embraced the platform and focused on it over the past 25 years. The GOP has also dropped the ball badly when it allows the opposition to frame the issues for media consumption. These are fixable problems.
The Democrats can't scale back government, reduce entitlement spending, toughen law enforcement, or call public school educators to account for content issues. To do so would alienate the base but it would also repudiate 40 or 50 years of idealogical thought and implementation. It would be like the Baptists suddenly discovering that the baby sprinkling thing is just fine.
- Democrats had a 2:1 advantage in registration in PA-12.
- The Democratic senate primary boosted turnout among Democrats statewide, which impacted turnout in this election in their favor
- Murtha's district has subsisted on federal largesse for so long that the economy there is entirely driven by government spending. In that district, the Democratic candidate, Murtha's former aide, argued that he would continue to keep them on the gravy train, and they bought it.
- Republicans were split due to a conflict between the candidate and the previous Republican candidate, a retired Army LTC who had moved to the district to run against Murtha following his attack on the Haditha Marines.
So, what this tells us that that in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2:1, where the economy is entirely dependent on the pork barrel spending that Murtha and his former aid specialized in securing, during a high profile primary that boosted Democratic turnout, the Republican candidate still scored a higher percentage of the vote than any other Republican candidate had ever done in that district. It wasn't exactly a perfect storm, more like a perfect drizzle, but by all means, keep believing that the New Jersey, Virginia and Massachussetts votes were a fluke, and the congressional race in PA is the trend. As you said, this is going to be great.
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