Monday, April 11, 2016

How Right-Wing Opportunists In Pennsylvania Are Using Trump For Their Own Crackpot Schemes


Trump is way ahead of Cruz and Kasich among Pennsylvania Republican voters. Early yesterday, Fox released a new poll showing that likely Pennsylvania GOP primary votes for April 26's Super Tuesday are looking like this right now:
Trump- 48%
Kasich- 22%
Cruz- 20%
Hard to believe that after the intense spotlight that's been shining on Trump lately, he can still muster that kind of support, even among Republicans. Friday Trump opened a campaign office in tiny suburban Clarks Summit, an all-white suburb northwest of Scranton in NEPA. Only 8 members of Congress have endorsed Trump but two of them are NEPA representatives, anti-immigrant fanatic Lou Barletta and anti-regulations nut Tom Marino. Marino may be against regulations for corporations that poison the drinking water and pollute the air or companies that want to ride roughshod on workers, but he-- like Barletta-- is a stalwart on regulations in people's personal lives. Two anti-LGBT extremists, they both favor ending a woman's right choose. And neither seems very turned off the Trump's clumsy admission that Republican law-makers want to punish women who get abortions. Both Barletta and Marino showed up in Clarks Summit Friday for the opening of the Trumpist office. Re-endorsing Trump's crackpot views, Marino-- safe in a carefully gerrymandered deep red district, to the folks who came to the ribbon-cutting ceremony "When you know in your heart and in your mind you're doing the right thing: step out front and do it and don't be afraid to do that."

And of course, Barletta and Marino aren't the only Pennsylvania Republican politicians eager to jump onto Trump’s "Women Must Be Punished" bandwagon. The state House's Health Committee votes today to ban abortions after 20 weeks and to criminalize doctors who perform the new definition of "late-term" abortions, giving Pennsylvania the most restrictive and harmful abortion ban in the nation. The strategy of the anti-choice zealots eager to punish women and criminalize doctors who perform abortions is to rush a full House vote by Wednesday. This is what Pennsylvania Trumpists are not telling their constituents:
20-Week Bans Are Part of an Agenda to Ban All Abortion: The introduction of these bans doesn’t come in isolation. They’re part of a dangerous, out-of-touch, and coordinated effort to chip away at abortion access. Anti-abortion politicians in Congress and state legislatures are pushing their agenda, bit by bit, to ultimately outlaw abortion completely.

20-Week Bans Criminalize Doctors: Politicians shouldn’t have the right to take options away from doctors in dangerous medical situations or prevent them from informing patients about all their health care options-- and politicians certainly shouldn’t be allowed to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term with no chance of survival.

20-Week Bans Are Unpopular: These bills-- and the extreme agenda they are part of-- are deeply unpopular with the public. When Americans understand the real-world impact of 20-week bans, a solid 60 percent of voters oppose them. In fact, 78 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of Republicans, and 71 percent of Independents-- say this is the wrong issue for Congress and their state legislators to be spending time on.

20-Week Bans Are Unconstitutional: 20-week bans are unconstitutional and a clear attempt to erode Roe v. Wade at the expense of women’s health. In fact, 20-week ban proponents are outspoken about their goal to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.
Last cycle we met Kerith Strano Taylor, then a first-time congressional candidate who ran in Pennsylvania's biggest congressional district, PA-05 (currently represented by lazy backbencher Glenn Thompson) which covers almost a quarter of the state and includes everything from Huntingdon, State College and Lock Haven in the east, through Punxsutawney, the Allegheny National Forest and up into the eastern and southern suburbs of Erie. Kerith-- far better known to the voters today-- is taking on Thompson again. She is a Bernie Sanders progressive and has endorsed him and is running on the same issues of economic opportunity and equality that he's running on (and is on the Blue America Bernie Congress page). Last night Kerith gave us some of the background on how draconian the Pennsylvania legislators have become:
Representative Kathy Rapp, the sponsor of the 20 week abortion ban that is being fast-tracked in the Pennsylvania House, legislates from a safe seat in the northwest of Pennsylvania. She has had a challenger in one of the six elections she has endured since taking office. She does not face a challenger this year.

She and her cosponsors are trying to fully leverage the lopsided registration of their districts. This bill was presented last Friday and was scheduled for a vote on the following Monday. They have shut down debate. The leadership is refusing to hold hearings. What makes this most outrageous, is that this band of merry men (and women), held the entire state budget hostage for almost a year. By refusing to negotiate with the governor on education funding, many social services agencies and schools were being starved out. Foster care families were given IOUs to care for children. Domestic violence shelters were closed for lack of funding. We still have social workers working for reduced pay. Schools had to borrow millions, the interest for which will not be reimbursed, or close their doors. Early-childhood education programs were closed mid-year.

This is a pro-birth measure. It is not a pro-life measure. Anyone who believes it is a pro-life measure is ignoring the lives of millions of children that are being affected by this recalcitrant behavior. The governor has pledged to veto this bill if it makes it to his desk. After the budget impasse many people who were not paying attention to their politics before, started asking "Whose fault is this?" When they were encouraged to call their state Representatives, they blanched, "I voted for him." Of course they did. They didn't have any other option.

Sadly, this is the logical consequence of the redistricting in 2011. Pennsylvania is a blue state, with almost 1 million more Democrats that Republicans. The Democrats won all statewide Judicial seats in November 2015; 3 Supreme Court seats, 1 Superior Court seat and 1 Commonwealth Court seat. Yet, in the general elections, the State House and Senate enjoy a Republican majority because of the careful gerrymandering that was done after the last census. Despite being a Democratic state, we only hold 5 of the 18 Congressional seats, and only 7 Republicans are even being challenged this year. Obviously, Governor Wolf was elected with a clear margin. This could have been interpreted as a mandate for him to repair what he pledged to while campaigning: education funding. But each of the extreme, Tea Party Republicans were also elected with what could have been interpreted as a mandate to stop him. A perfect political storm, and entirely man-made.
Kerith road her bike to the Clinton County Fair and met with county Democratic chair Joe Waltz

Re-read what Kerith told us in the summer of 2014 about working across the aisle for the people of the commonwealth instead of for scoring points from hyper-partisan extremists hopped up on Hate Talk Radio. "Imagine," she wrote at the time, "what could happen if those who served in Congress were adept at the very thing we need them to do: negotiate, compromise, and promote the best interests of their districts and their nation. But, we don’t require this, and instead get a body of legislators that is incapable of negotiation, demonizes the art of compromise, and puts their self interests over our interests. Negotiation is critical to solving the challenges that we face as a nation, and yet our elected representatives can’t do it. Climate change is threatening our safety and security, yet Congress won’t touch the issue with a 10 foot poll. Our minimum wage has remained stagnant since 2009, yet our Representatives can’t be bothered to talk about poverty and income. They cannot even muster the will to have a discussion about crisis on our Southern border. I could give example after example, but suffice to say that reason and negotiation has been tossed aside in favor of affect and soundbites, and compromise has been thrown out the window."

Please consider helping her get her message out in Pennsylvania's biggest district, a district where voters are just so turned off to the system that many are eager to cast anti-establishment votes in 2 weeks, whether for Trump or for Bernie.
Goal Thermometer

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At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Tracy B Ann said...

I didn't know that was a George Carlin saying. I have that on a sign hanging on one of my dog houses. A giant dog house for a Great Dane, who does agree that you should never underestimate the stupidity of humans.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

As a native Pennsylvanian, the huge amount of support for Trump comes as no surprise to me at all. What most don't know is that Pennsylvania has been host to one of the oldest northern enclaves of the KKK practically since the organization started. In addition, the fact its population is made up largely of the descendants of immigrants who have ingested with their mother's milk the idea that black and brown people are subhumans and born criminals, and who have the government's help stealing their jobs is fertile ground for the Trumpian message.

Please don't take that as a condemnation of these people. It's not. They're good people. They're just so saturated with cultural racism and anger it's natural they're going to embrace someone who tells them they're right.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Lawrence said...

"Please don't take that as a condemnation of these people. It's not. They're good people. They're just so saturated with cultural racism and anger it's natural they're going to embrace someone who tells them they're right."
Actually, this means that they are not good people.

At 12:53 AM, Blogger Ed said...

The Irrational Hatred of Donald Trump


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