An irony of today’s politics is that the left and
often want the same result: the nomination of the Trumpiest GOP candidate on offer. Both got their wish in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, as
easily won the Republican primary for Governor. That’s the kind of day it was, as progressives and the Trumpist right both ran strongly.
Mr. Trump endorsed late in that race, after Mr. Mastriano already had a substantial polling lead, so he can’t claim sole credit for the state Senator’s win in a multicandidate field. But Mr. Mastriano played to Mr. Trump’s obsession that the 2020 election was stolen. Mr. Mastriano is the candidate Democrats wanted to run against in November, and they ran ads essentially telling Trump voters he was their man.
This should be a good GOP year everywhere, and certainly in Pennsylvania after two terms of Democratic Gov.
Yet Mr. Mastriano has an uphill fight against Democratic nominee
the state attorney general.
Last month Mr. Mastriano addressed a “Patriots Arise” rally, where other speakers lamented “child satanic trafficking” and other QAnon nonsense. He sponsored a bill to ban abortion after about six weeks and said at a recent debate that, “I don’t give way for exceptions either.” He wants to rip up contracts with “compromised voting machine companies,” while doing a reset of the voter rolls: “You’re going to have to re-register.”
Democrats fear that a Gov. Mastriano would be a threat to democracy, since he would appoint the secretary of state. Whom would he pick, and would that person certify a loss for Mr. Trump in 2024, if that’s what the vote tallies showed? Yet if Mr. Shapiro truly worries about this, then he was playing with fire by helping Mr. Mastriano secure the GOP nomination. Voters will note the cynicism at work.
If Republicans lose this election, it’s their own fault, and a warning about chasing 2020 ghosts instead of focusing on the future. One small prophylactic could be to pass a bill soon to let mail votes be preprocessed a few days before Election Day, as many other states permit. Pennsylvania’s current rules led this week to late results. That’s the kind of thing that Mr. Mastriano could use to claim another stolen election in November.
In the Pennsylvania Senate race, Democrats nominated Lt. Gov.
a progressive in the mold of
He backs Medicare for All, says “weed should be legal, nationwide,” and believes the “union way of life is sacred.” The fact that he wiped the floor with Rep.
a young Marine veteran centrist who was hailed as a rising star until two minutes ago, shows that primary voters in both parties want political pugilists who will pick ideological fights.
The GOP nominee remains undecided. Former hedge fund executive and Army veteran
would be the best Republican candidate in the fall. Mr. McCormick has been singing some Trumpy notes lately, but he understands the economy, and he’s most like the Senator that he hopes to replace, the invaluable
As we went to press, Mr. McCormick was a couple thousand votes behind the Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor
with a recount possible.
Elsewhere, GOP voters ratified the political suicide of North Carolina Rep.
This was an act of political hygiene, and Congressional Republicans can look forward to a day when they quit being asked about Mr. Cawthorn’s inflammatory behavior. Idaho Gov.
easily held off a challenge from his lieutenant governor, who said the conservative Mr. Little wasn’t Trumpy enough.
In Oregon, a progressive challenger,
looked close to knocking off incumbent Rep.
though many votes were outstanding as we went to press. Also, the lead in Pennsylvania’s 12th district was narrowly held by
who seems like a Squad member in waiting, and not only because she’s endorsed by Rep.
The power of the left in the Democratic Party has the paradoxical effect of strengthening those on the right who put a premium on political combat over policy—and vice versa. This is what the media fails to understand about the GOP, because the media is so psychologically wrapped up with Mr. Trump. This mutually reinforcing polarization makes it hard for either party to govern with majorities, but it’s the reality of today’s politics.
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