Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania voters sent the GOP a message on Tuesday. They need to listen.

This comment originally appeared in the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Though their reasons and motivations may have differed, as Pennsylvania voters turned out to vote Tuesday, they sent a clear message about the people they want to represent in Washington and in Harrisburg.

They wanted someone who would hear the voices of the state’s black residents and not take their support for granted, Kenny Payne, 60, of West Philadelphia, said last month when now-elect Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro stumbled upon a barber shop on Chestnut Street .

“Democrats need to know how to engage black voters — particularly young black voters and the issues that are affecting them,” Payne, who works in tech sales, told the Pennsylvania Capital star while awaiting a Philly Cuts cut. “We have to do something to engage young people.”

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They were looking for someone to stand as a bulwark against attacks on reproductive rights, Yardley’s Alexandria Albrecht, 23, said on the Saturday before Election Day as she prepared to knock on the door with some Planned Parenthood promoters.

“No one should be forced into an unwanted pregnancy,” said Albrecht. “It takes such a toll on a person’s body. And if you’re not ready for it, so many things won’t be set for you. It’s not fair to anyone. It’s so dystopian.”

They were looking for someone who would break down barriers to economic opportunity and create a space where they don’t run uphill when the playing field isn’t quite level, as Alex Hames III of MainLine Focus in Philadelphia said.

Most importantly, they were looking for someone who could ease the worries and nurture the hopes of every parent: that when they send their children to school in the morning, they would walk the safe streets and get home safely to them by the end of the day.

“So many of the issues that affect Philadelphia are related to money, power and respect,” school administrator Will Mega said. “Power comes from a quality education. Respect is linked to love. And love is the ultimate way to end gun violence. You can’t kill someone you love.”

At every level, Pennsylvania Republicans failed to deliver.

Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman (L) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro (R)
Campaign file photos.

Such are the challenges facing Shapiro and US Senator-elect John Fetterman, who each clinched convincing victories on Tuesday night against GOP opponents who, each in their own way, have fallen dramatically out of step with the majority of the state’s voters .

Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor, slapped Republican star surgeon Mehmet Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident whose efforts to escape from the wealthy Carpetbagger label might have dealt the final blow when he didn’t know the Sunday before Election Day was approaching Steelers was bye week.

“This campaign was for everyone who got knocked down and got back up,” said Fetterman, who suffered a stroke just before the May primary while repeating a phrase that became a staple of the campaign’s final weeks.

Fetterman is anything but a perfect messenger. He too comes from a wealthy background and was supported by his parents for years when he was mayor of Braddock outside Pittsburgh.

Nonetheless, Fetterman’s working-class swagger, underscored by unmistakably progressive values, connected with working-class voters in the counties of southwestern Pennsylvania running for former President Donald Trump in 2016.

More importantly, Fetterman outperformed President Joe Biden in the precincts he carried in 2020, while Oz trailed Trump on the turf the former president won two years ago.

In Lackawanna County, for example, Fetterman received 56.6 percent of the vote Tuesday, according to unofficial figures, compared to Biden’s 53.7 percent two years ago.

And in Warren County, where Trump romped with 68.9 percent of the vote in 2020, Oz underperformed by 9 points with 59 percent of the vote, according to unofficial figures.

You’d be hard pressed to find a clearer signal that even the GOP believers in a ruby ​​county didn’t see him as one of their own — even with Trump’s endorsement.

Volunteers and workers for Planned Parenthood Elections gather in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on November 5, 2022 to plan a long day of campaigning and door knocking (Capital Star photo by John L. Micek)

During Tuesday night’s acceptance speech, Shapiro presented his election as a choice between a government that would protect children and the vulnerable and defend reproductive rights, and an authoritarian regime that would erode reproductive freedoms, besiege voting rights and cut school funding.

“Chance won. A woman’s right to vote won. The right to organize here in Pennsylvania won,” Shapiro said from the stage at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Montgomery County.

“Your right to vote won. And in the face of all the lies, conspiracies and unsubstantiated claims, you also ensured tonight that truth prevailed right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Shapiro continued. “And you know what else won tonight? True freedom won tonight.”

Shapiro’s near 14-point loss (based on unofficial tally) of ultraconservative Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, who has traded on unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and disguised himself as Christian nationalism, strongly suggests that many Pennsylvania Republicans also have no part in the Want to have distant -MAGA fringes.

As in the case of Oz, Mastriano performed in the counties Trump wore in 2020, like Crawford County, which the former president wore two years ago with 68 percent of the vote. Mastriano was 9 percentage points behind at 59 percent, unofficial figures showed.

Shapiro also rolled past Biden on the president’s old home turf in Lackawanna County, receiving 61 percent of the vote on Biden’s 2020 total of 53.7 percent, according to unofficial counts.

Not only does this result demonstrate broad and deep support, it is also an unequivocal rejection of the extreme right-wing extremism that is poisoning and threatening to overwhelm our politics.

As he exited a polling station in suburban Harrisburg on Tuesday morning, lifelong voter Bill Fulton, a Democrat, summed up the sentiment that occupied thousands of his fellow citizens on Election Day.

“I just want to turn the tide of authoritarianism,” he said.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star retains editorial independence. Contact Editor John Micek with any questions: [email protected]. Follow Pennsylvania Capital Star on Facebook and Twitter.

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