They're only fooling themselves.
The morning after Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb’s stunning special election victory, the GOP is tying itself in knots to ignore what really happened.
On his way into a Republican House conference meeting Wednesday morning, New York Rep. Chris Collins told a reporter that Lamb’s “victory was a one-off. We’ve won five; they’ve won one. I’m feeling pretty good.”
“Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade falsely claimed Lamb only won because he ran as a “pro-life” conservative. But that’s a lie. Lamb supports abortion rights, and he blasted several other Republican positions as well, including the tax scam and attempts to repeal Obamacare.
But Republicans are desperately pretending Lamb’s victory doesn’t spell disaster for the rest of the party come this year’s midterm elections.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Speaker Paul Ryan was parroting the same lies about Lamb’s positions and even trying to claim that coming within “a few hundred votes” — in a district so red, Democrats didn’t even bother fielding a candidate in 2016 — was some sort of victory.
He even tried to credit Trump for making the race competitive.
“I think the president helped close this race,” Ryan told reporters.
Ryan is lying to himself if he actually believes any of that. Lamb was trailing by 12 percent before Trump decided to “help” Republican Rick Saccone, and actually increased his lead over Saccone during Trump’s final campaign visit last weekend.
Republicans have also tried to excuse their defeat by claiming that Saccone was a particularly weak candidate. But Saccone ran on a typically Republican platform and still lost in a deep-red district.
And unlike the stunning upset in the Alabama Senate race last December, where Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore, Saccone didn’t have a single allegation of child molestation leveled against him.
The sad fact for Republicans is that Conor Lamb’s victory is the latest in a wave of special election flips for Democrats in red states and districts. And those dozens of victories suggest a massive blue wave is coming in November.