Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) broke down why he thinks he was able to win a district also carried by President Biden for NBC News' Chuck Todd, and his reasoning was fairly simple.
Bacon won Nebraska's 2nd congressional district by five points, and Biden won by six, which means the congressman ran ahead of former President Donald Trump by double digits. That suggests he benefited from split tickets. Bacon's "main takeaway" from the race is that "Republican and conservatives and our ideas, they win ... but also the difference is civility, it's a diplomacy. This election became about values versus personality. If it's gonna be about values and policy, the Republicans are gonna win at the national level. We did congressionally and at the local level." He didn't mention Trump specifically, but he did say he found voters found "decency and civility ... lacking," which pushed them toward Biden.
The point seems sound — Bacon was even able to pick up an endorsement from his 2016 Democratic rival ahead of the 2020 vote — but it may be another example of the pickle the party is in, as previously shown in a recent Georgia poll. Republicans who take their cues from Trump pose a significant primary threat to incumbents, but they also seem more likely to lose in the general election. So, as things stand, it's unclear whether Bacon's advice will register on a larger scale or if it works particularly in his district. Tim O'Donnell