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Matthew Yglesias

John Fetterman’s Vaguely Encouraging Politics

The candidate for US Senate in Pennsylvania doesn’t offer a lot of details, but voters know where he stands.

The Democratic Party’s future?

The Democratic Party’s future?

Photographer: Michelle Gustafson/Bloomberg

John Fetterman — the hulking, tattooed, hoodie-wearing lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania — constitutes Democrats’ best hope to steal a Senate seat from Republicans this fall. And while few politicians can match his style, or could pull it off, Democrats can learn a lot from his approach.

Part of Fetterman’s skill as a politician is that he seems to have successfully transcended some of the factional divides that have hobbled Democrats in recent years. He has many of the same friends and enemies as the party’s progressive faction, having endorsed Bernie Sanders for president in 2016 and stomped moderate favorite Conor Lamb in last week’s primary for US Senate. Yet he has managed to avoid progressives’ demands to make suicidal policy commitments.