Washington, PA—It was a frigid Saturday afternoon but Ellen Cicconi, a 53-year-old stay-at-home mom from Canonsburg, chose to brave the elements to check out the next great American political campaign playing out in her proverbial backyard.
In nearby Washington, a city about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh proper, Conor Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran was opening up a new campaign office. And as he laid out his legislative and political vision for a crowd of more than 100, Cicconi stood nearby, watching attentively, hoping that this would be the next Democratic dent in Donald Trump’s political aura.
The room was packed and the campaign ran out of signs by the time Lamb had made his way around to greet and listen to voters. His supporters appeared to be a mix of Resistance moms, local Democrats, and mustachioed men in jean jackets. They had come not just to hear Lamb speak, but to walk through the cold and canvass on his behalf.
After Lamb finished making the rounds, the crowd departed, leaving behind a vacant, carpeted hall with a couple staffers, a pile of cookies that had not been eaten, and a piece of literature from an attendee, which warned about the possibility that President Trump—“an idiot”—would tweet an evacuation order during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Cicconi, who has a Ph.D. in history and cares for two children with special needs, was there in search of hope. She had been left dismayed in 2016 when she noticed that there were barely any signs for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her neighborhood (those that were there would often disappear in a matter of days). She felt like she was the lone person on her street who went to the booth and supported the Democratic nominee. She had been an independent prior to the election. But after Donald Trump became president, Cicconi decided to become a Democrat.
“It’s horrid, it’s the worst nightmare,” Cicconi described the administration in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I go to bed at night angry and I wake up in the morning afraid.”
Cicconi’s visceral displeasure with the Trump agenda is shared by millions of other liberals across the nation, which in turn has led to overwhelming Democratic victories in Virginia and New Jersey, shock wins in deep-red Alabama and coups in various statewide races across the country.