|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
To get a sense of Sestak’s sweep, consider that he carried all but three of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. He carried Obama strongholds – he got 63 percent in Lancaster County, for example – but also swept through smaller counties in the central and western parts of the state that had supported Clinton. Sestak put together a kind of left-right coalition.
Philadelphia was the one part of Obama’s old coalition that the president’s endorsement (along with that of Gov. Ed Rendell and Mayor Michael Nutter) helped deliver for Specter. The Republican-turned-Democrat won 64 percent of the vote in Philly, but Sestak was winning 57 percent of the vote in the rest of the state – and that number might rise when all the votes are counted.
This suggests that something quite interesting happened here today: Sestak was clearly the candidate of middle class and upper middle class liberals, and he ran a campaign that sought to convey the activist feel of Obama’s ’08 race. But as Sestak suggested in his victory speech tonight, he also profited from being the anti-establishment candidate, and this helped him in a long list of rural and small town counties that are anything but liberal.
Who knows if he can repeat this in November – especially since many of the smaller counties Sestak carried will no doubt vote Republican this fall. But the surge toward Sestak after he ran his ad questioning Specter’s motives in switching to the Democratic Party was quite comprehensive. And the breadth of his victory suggests he could be the sort of coalition-builder a politician needs to be to carry this complicated state.