By Colleen O'Connor
Every major media outlet on the left and right and in print, television, cable and online, has been abuzz about Diane Feinstein not receiving the California Democratic Party’s endorsement for reelection to the U.S. Senate.
As if that portends the end of her career.
And the pundits are just as unnerved about Conor Lamb–the Democratic congressional nominee from Pennsylvania’s deep red 18th District–taking out a newspaper ad declaring that he will not support Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House!
No way to treat a lady.
Seriously, both of these women are seasoned politicians. You don’t think they are Machiavellian enough to have figured this out—to their own advantage?
Obviously, Pelosi wants to take back the House — again. Surely, she has given every Democratic candidate in a marginal district permission to distance themselves from her. Call her names, if necessary.
How else are they going to win in Trump country?
And Lamb, a former Marine, a hunter, and an Irish-Catholic anti-abortion candidate, is running in a district that Trump won by more than 20 points. Tough race. Clear divides.
His Republican opponent, also a retired Marine, Rick Saccone, proudly announces that he was “Trump before Trump.”
Yet, Lamb is only single digits behind behind the Republican—while being outspent by 17 10 1.
No need for Pelosi to intervene.
She has already raised over $50 million for the Democratic party this cycle. She enjoys a safe seat and has ushered in a massive 16 percent lead for the “generic Democratic over the Republican,” according to the latest polls.
Regardless of the outcome, the Democrats win. Either a new House seat, bragging rights about a shift in percentage win, and/or a huge drain of GOP money spent to win a once safe seat.
Just how close is this race? It is still closing.
Just a few weeks away, Saccone holds a 45.5 percent to 40 percent lead over Lamb. The previous poll gave Saccone a larger 46.4 percent to 33.7 percent advantage.
And a rule of thumb in politics, if the presumed favorite cannot break 50 percent, the undecided go to the challenger. Hence, the late breaking decision to send $1 million from the Trump super PAC to the once favorite Republican.
As for Feinstein, she knew she wouldn’t get 60 percent of the votes with the progressive Bernie Sanders-leaning California delegates, who met in San Diego over the weekend. Neither did her challenger.
However, by showing up—meeting those who are unhappy with her over being “too easy” on Trump and his Supreme Court appointee, she avoided a bigger, unforced error. Snubbing the attendees by being AWOL would have generated even more rancor against her.
As it is, her best ad for re-election came from the President himself.
When Feinstein defied the Republican Senate “gentlemen’s club” and boldly released the Judiciary Committee’s transcript on the Russian investigation, Trump tweeted:
“The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. Must have tough Primary!
Good luck with that. A Trump nickname is now a badge of honor in California. As usual, he underestimates powerful women.
Furthermore, Feinstein enjoys a 27 point lead over her opponent and a multi-million-dollar lead in campaign funds.
Feinstein and Pelosi can both afford to take symbolic hits and survive atop their game. That’s what they have learned from decades in California politics. Survival.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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