Alan Keyes
Conor Lamb's win: A portent of things to come?
By Alan Keyes
March 19, 2018

Like a phantom blip on a radar screen, the special election in Pennsylvania is the result of a momentary systemic anomaly. Democrat Conor Lamb's apparent victory may not be a harbinger of things to come. Thanks to a federal court decision, district lines in that region of Pennsylvania have changed. For purposes of the upcoming midterms, the district Republican Tim Murphy represented has already ceased to exist. But Lamb's campaign may nonetheless have significant implications for our politics as a whole. Rush Limbaugh is right when he says, "This guy ran as Trump Jr.":
    Even Democrats have to pretend to be like Trump in – and this is Pennsylvania. This is blue-state Pennsylvania, and even this guy is out there running as a quasi-conservative and running as somebody, you know, who agrees with Trump on guns, agrees with Trump on tariffs, agrees with Trump on trade. This is the Democrat. Now, I know the guy wouldn't vote that way if he got elected, but there's still a lesson here. And this guy is only gonna serve 'til November.
Given our history with "Reagan Democrats," Limbaugh's assumption that Lamb "wouldn't vote that way if he got elected" may be premature. On some issues, such Democrats helped Reagan to maintain a "vast sway...over the House of Representatives during his presidency, even though the House had a Democratic majority during both of his terms." If Lamb backs President Trump on the issues that helped him to victory in Pennsylvania in 2016, he could see himself winning re-election, even if he doesn't make good on his promise to oppose Nancy Pelosi's re-election as top Democrat in the House.

If the GOP continues in the majority, it would be in their interest, and President Trump's, to woo Lamb into switching his party affiliation. He could become the poster child for a reunion of grassroots Republicans and Democrats who feel ill-served by their party's addiction to policies that put the consolidation of leftist government control above achieving results that concretely respect the best interests of the voters who elected them.

But, as the old saying goes, there's a fly in the ointment (or in this case, is it a killer mosquito?) One report describes Lamb as follows:
    Any reasonable person, Catholic or not, would acknowledge that being pro-life on the issue of abortion is a non-negotiable teaching for members of the Catholic Church. Even so, yet another Catholic politician has made a Faustian bargain on abortion, and his recycled excuses haven't aged well.

    "I just want to say; I don't use the term 'pro-life' to describe what I personally believe because that's a political term. It's not one that you learn in Catholic school or anywhere else in the church," said Conor Lamb, who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. This was his response to a question about whether he would vote for a bill to ban late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy.
With this description in mind, consider the forward-looking report that has Lamb running in the upcoming midterms as a candidate in Pennsylvania's 17th district (including Mt. Lebanon, where Lamb makes his home) with an "endorsement from the LGBT-friendly Stonewall City Democrats":
    "I believe that all Americans deserve full and equal rights and protections under the law, and I am committed to making that the reality in America," Lamb wrote in his responses to Stonewall's questionnaire. "...I served in the Marines at the same time the military got rid of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and I saw firsthand that when men and women I served with had the freedom to be who they are and be fully equal, it made us all stronger.

    "I believe that when everyone in America has the freedom to be who they are and have full and equal rights under the law, our communities and our country will be stronger," Lamb added. "I will make that case to anyone, and I think that's one of the ways we can keep changing minds and making real progress toward full equality."
Rush Limbaugh sees Conor Lamb's apparent success as a warning for the leftist leadership of the Democratic Party. But like the choke in an "artichoke," a candidate like Lamb has a bitter core that will be hard for President Trump's Christian supporters to stomach. Now, with much fanfare, President Trump has promised to champion religious liberty and support the pro-life cause. He has made some correspondingly principled pro-life, moral conservative appointments – including Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and soon to be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

But his tenure so far has also seen the quiet normalization of homosexuality in the military. Much was made of his executive order banning transgenders from the military. But the future of the ban is still hanging fire in federal court. A Newsweek story reports, "The bottom line: Transgender members of the military can still serve, can still gain access to health care, and can still enlist in the military." Candidate Trump was among those who surrendered to the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, saying, "It's the law of the land." President-elect Trump affirmed it as "settled law."

Will Trump similarly acquiesce in the federal judiciary's specious jurisprudence, though it plainly violates the U.S. Constitution's First, Ninth, and 10th Amendments? He has never shown much appreciation for the fact that this jurisprudence utterly rejects the understanding of God-endowed right upon which the whole logic of our constitutional self-government depends.

A coalition of Republicans and disaffected Democrats, indifferent to America's moral premises, may well secure Trump's re-election. But the underlying compromise involved in that victory will also assure the abandonment, in principle, of the understanding of God-endowed justice and right his Christian and moral conservative supporters uphold. This is the understanding on which the fate of all the issues of moral principle (e.g., abortion, the persecution of Christian conscience, the government pre-emption of parental authority, etc.) ultimately depends.

Trump's reunion of grassroots Republicans and disaffected Democrats may provide the basis for a great victory for him in 2020. But will it come because we implicitly jettison the moral core of our identity as a people? For people who profess to respect and cherish the premise of God's authority over justice and right, that will be a hollow victory. For it will come bereft of the hope of God's blessing that once resounded in the phrase "the blessings of liberty" which, until now, it was our ultimate goal to secure as an inheritance for our posterity.

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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