August 22, 2022

Pennsylvania Senate Race

As of early Monday morning, polls show Democrat John Fetterman leading Republican Mehmet Oz 47.8 percent to 40.3 percent in the Pennsylvania Senate race. RealClearPolitics

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From the Left

The left is critical of Oz and praises Fetterman’s campaign strategy.

“Oz was undoubtedly good on TV, but outside the warm embrace of daytime teevee cameras, he becomes wooden and stiff off-the-cuff. Fabulously wealthy—he owns 10 houses, even if he claims to only own two—he has a distinct Lucille Bluth vibe; ordinary things seem to confuse him. Another problem Oz faced in the battle to seem like a normal human in the Pennsylvania Senate race was the small matter of him not being from Pennsylvania. Oz had been—and by many accounts still very much is—a resident of New Jersey, a state despised by many Pennsylvanians…

“Fetterman has successfully, and hilariously, played up the fact that Oz is a carpetbagger with all kinds of eye-catching stunts: He’s flown a banner over the Jersey shore reading, ‘HEY DR. OZ, WELCOME HOME TO NJ! ♥ JOHN’; enlisted the help of Snooki and Bruce Springsteen guitarist Steven Van Zandt to roast the longtime Jersey resident; he’s even kick-started a campaign to get the doctor inducted into the Garden State’s Hall of Fame… Authenticity campaigns rarely work… but Fetterman is the perfect rival for Dr. Oz in this regard.”

Alex Shephard, New Republic

“Republican ‘populism’ is a facade. Whether it is multimillionaire Oz or Yale Law School graduate and millionaire J.D. Vance in Ohio or one of the Ivy League-educated Republican senators, the notion that the GOP MAGA panderers represent the average American is farcical. (Their policies, including taxing the poor, protecting corporations from paying at least something in taxes, repealing the Affordable Care Act and sunsetting Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid surely are not ‘populist’ in any sense of the word.)…

“Fetterman is a walking, talking, veggie-tray-buying rebuttal to the argument that Democrats have to change their policies to appeal to non-college-educated voters. Fetterman’s center-left policies (e.g., pro-choice, capping insulin at $35, supporting the Inflation Reduction Act) are popular. It’s his cultural persona and personal connection that have made a difference in the race. For his successful campaign strategy, depicting Oz as a phony out-of-stater and showing Democrats what a real populist looks and sounds like, we can say, ‘Well done, Mr. Fetterman.’”

Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Several high-profile Republican Senate candidates are struggling. Most of them, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, have proven to be extremely problematic candidates. In addition to Oz, former football star Herschel Walker is struggling to pull ahead and maintain a solid lead in the race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia. Meanwhile, a number of Republicans are privately worried about bestselling author JD Vance…

“Although there is still sufficient time for Republicans to regain their strength in these races, there is evidence the Senate is up for grabs in what was previously thought to be a midterm from hell for the Democrats. In other words, the Republican Party, in putting forward untested candidates and refusing to cut ties with the former president, might do for the Democrats what Biden himself has not been able to achieve even with his major legislative victories.”

Julian Zelizer, CNN

From the Right

The right is critical of Oz’s campaign so far, but highlights Fetterman’s weaknesses.

The right is critical of Oz’s campaign so far, but highlights Fetterman’s weaknesses.

“The problem isn’t that the Pennsylvania candidate is actually from New Jersey. It’s not that the supposed ‘Make America Great Again’ candidate is [also a Turkish citizen], and it’s not that ‘Dr. Oz’ is an inauthentic doctor — quite the contrary. Mehmet Oz was once one of the world’s premier cardiothoracic surgeons. Rather, the telegenic TV doc, capable of charming the sort of suburban women for decades that the GOP needs right now to recoup the Keystone State, does not seem to want to actually become a senator

“During the GOP primary recount, Oz should have been fighting for his political life and smoothing over the divisions sown by a contentious primary. Instead, he vacationed in Palm Beach until June 9. Then, Oz jetted off to a second vacation in Ireland at the end of June. Donald Trump is reportedly unhappy with the candidate he carried over the finish line for only returning to the campaign trail in July… Until Oz steps up and proves himself the sort of candidate I was foolish enough to believe could win, we can only assume he doesn't want to downgrade his first-class lifestyle to the swamp of the United States Senate.”

Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

Fetterman wants Pennsylvania voters to very much know that he is an Everyman… [But] Fetterman is the type of Everyman™ who apparently lives for free in a swanky industrial loft purchased by his sister. For a brief two years he held a job as a risk-management underwriter with Chubb, but beyond that has hasn’t held a job in the private sector — and hasn’t had to — a luxury not [known] to most everymen. The 53 year-old lived off his parents until he got a six-figure elected seat…

“Then there was the time Fetterman, ever the tough Everyman™, once thought the sound of fireworks was that of an AR-15 and so he ran down a random black jogger with his shotgun and held the jogger at gunpoint and waited for police. ‘It clearly sounded like ‘assault rifle’ fire,’ said Everyman™ Fetterman in his most expert tone. ‘I believe I did the right thing but I may have broken the law’… Democrats have no problems with white politicians chasing down black joggers with shotguns so long as the politicians are Democrats.”

Dana Loesch, Substack

“After the ginormous polling miss in 2020 that saw supposedly tight Senate races end in comfortable wins for several Republicans, how much can we trust this new data? Again, the fact that there’s a uniform shift towards Democrats across polls lately strongly suggests that a shift really is happening — but that’s different from saying that the polls showing candidates like [Mandela] Barnes ahead must be accurate…

“Remember that the leading explanation for why the polls missed so badly in 2020 was ‘nonresponse bias,’ the theory that a small but significant percentage of Republicans have stopped cooperating with pollsters on principle, refusing to take their calls due to perceived anti-Trump bias. If that’s true then there’s no way for pollsters to accurately gauge the true extent of support for Republicans among the electorate. And there’s also no obvious reason to think that the problem has since been solved in the two years since.”

Allahpundit, Hot Air

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