Today, current Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter and Congressman Joe Sestak face off in the state’s Democratic primary. Polls show the candidates in a dead heat. The number of undecideds is still in the double digits, meaning that roughly one third of eligible voters have yet to make up their minds. With momentum clearly with Sestak, today could be the day that Pennsylvanians send their longest serving Senator packing. Here’s what that outcome would mean.
1. This cycle is anti-incumbent and anti-liberal.
Many are claiming that both Democrats and Republicans are feeling the pressure of an anti-Washington sentiment, and while that’s true, it should be noted that “incumbent” isn’t the only dirty word this election cycle. Fiscally liberal members – be they Republicans (look at Bennett of Utah and Crist's troubles in Florida) or Democrats (Corzine and Scott Brown challenger Martha Coakley) face real challenges to stay alive. Case in point: fiscally conservative Democrats aren’t facing the same troubles as a David Obey would be.
Specter is evidence of this anti-liberal incumbent revolt. Voters in the Keystone State are exhausted with his embrace of big government, from the stimulus to the healthcare bill -- a decision that's causing him troubles with seniors. Pennsylvania has the second oldest population and Specter’s embrace of the takeover, which cuts billions from Medicare and will ultimately lead to rationing, has them petrified.
Watch the liberal media continue to chalk up any Democratic losses tonight and til Election Day up to an anti-incumbent movement when the focus is more about a repudiation of their agenda, and thus President Obama.
2. The White House is out of juice, even in a state they won handily.
A Specter loss would be a devastating blow to the White House and the President, just like Democratic defeats in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia – especially in a state the President won easily.
Though Obama is officially backing Specter, he’s only offered his support in absentia. The President has been featured prominently by the Specter campaign in ads but he hasn’t visited the state to help rally support and turn out votes, which speaks volumes. When asked about the state of play, The White House is claiming it’s not paying attention to the showdown. A laughable response considering media reports surfaced that the Administration is so worried it allegedly tried to bribe Sestak to drop out with a high level government appointment to Secretary of the Navy. And though the charge isn’t confirmed, it’s hardly believable that Obama will be more concerned with the results of Dancing with the Stars tomorrow evening and not the fate of a critical seat in the Senate.
If Specter loses, expect the Obama machine to spin like crazy, even though the message will be clear: the President (and his base), besides helping to raise cash, is no good to anyone but himself.
3. Party affiliation aside, Pennsylvanians are tired of Arlen Specter. Period.
After five long terms in Washington, a loss for the Senator would demonstrate that political opportunism doesn’t pay. Specter could have never beaten Pat Toomey in the GOP primary. Moreover, the fact that Sestak, an anti-gun pro-choice Democrat is beating him when most voters in the state don't share those two values, proves today's finale is really a referendum on his flip flops and his record. What Specter clearly belived would save him – a switch to the Democratic Party after purple Pennsylvania propelled Obama into office, very well might be the move that killed his candidacy.
No matter what today’s results are, Specter should have bowed out gracefully and on his own terms. He’s had his chance to serve the people of Pennsylvania; the writing is on the wall and now it’s time to step down.
The ad that best sums up the race shows a picture of Specter with a narrative explaining that "Specter switched parties to save one job: his own—not yours." Whether it happens today or in November, here’s hoping Pennsylvania voters have the courage to change that and elect someone that puts them first.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative columnist and FoxNews.com contributor. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros.
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