I wish that this were simply hyperbole, but since 2010 this has become closer and closer to the truth. A voter ID bill was introduced in Pennsylvania in 2012, and many of us still remember Mike Turzai’s assertion that voter ID will “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania…”
Presently, the latest high profile Republican to place his foot in his mouth in an effort to outlaw eligible voters is Val Digiorgio, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, who accused Central High School teacher Thomas Quinn of handing out anti-Republican literature in his classroom. To prove his point, DiGiorgio showcased some doctored wall hangings from the teachers lounge that Quinn was allegedly distributing to students. The story was then picked up by Breitbart News, and it was not long before both Quinn and his students were the subjects of death threats.
The actual offending materials that Quinn was distributing were voter registration forms. We have come to the point where offering citizens 18 and older the opportunity to vote is actually considered to be anti-Republican, and therefore something that should be prohibited.
For the time being, we still live in a democracy, and stifling the vote is therefore insufficient in many places for Republicans to achieve their objectives. In such cases, they simply supplement such shortcomings by spreading false information about their opponents.
To achieve this goal, Republican strategists often attempt to duplicate the deftness of 12 year old Facebook bullies. Through voiceovers in television commercials that are characterized by intonations more suitable to gossip rather than the dissemination of important political information, we learn:
(1) That constituents of PA-1 (Bucks/Montgomery counties) need to be more concerned by Scott Wallace’s television preferences than the fact that Brian Fitzpatrick helped to make their health care premiums more expensive – thanks to Fitzpatrick’s vote to do away with the individual mandate;
(2) That Republican incumbent Joe Emrick (PA HD-137, Northampton county), in a television ad has attempted to link Democratic challenger Amy Cozze to a terrorist plot by referencing a letter that she received from Police Chef Randall Miller, stating “I am asking you to refrain from sending any sort of foreign substance in any manner in the supplied return envelope.” What the ad fails to mention is that the foreign substance was gold glitter that Cozze had used to make holiday baskets, and that some of the glitter got into an envelop used by Cozze to pay some parking tickets. A clear reference was made to the glitter in Miller’s letter, and that, in Miller’s opinion, it presented more of an clean-up annoyance for his staff than any other problems;
(3) That In Northeast Philadelphia, where Republican incumbent Martina White is running against Democratic challenger Mike Doyle, a state Republican Party mailer showed Doyle in handcuffs, with the caption “THE NORTHEAST WANTS A LAW MAKER …NOT A LAW BREAKER.” There is no mention in the mailer that Doyle was arrested multiple times for his political activism – protesting the repeal of Affordable Care Act, and for the GOP tax bill, during the Poor People’s Campaign in Harrisburg, and during a rally opposing the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Looks like Doyle is no better than thugs like Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King;
(4) But during the last week, a new level of depravity has entered into the Republican tool chest of deception. Although most people have condemned the murders in Pittsburgh last weekend, extreme right-wing elements have become emboldened, particularly in Montgomery County. The closed Naval base in Warminster and a Jewish family in North Wales have been subjected to painted swastikas on their properties. Seeing an opportunity to capitalize on such newly energized malice, the campaign of Republican Todd Stephens has portrayed challenger Sara Johnson Rothman as someone who would raise taxes for personal financial gain. Jews, in particular, have been the victims of such libels in the past. The fact is, however, that Sara is not Jewish. No worries for Todd. Simply remove the “Johnson” out of “Johnson Rothman”, her legal name, and presto changeo, Sara Johnson Rothman becomes Sara Rothman, that Jewish candidate who will use your taxes for her own benefit. Stephens, of course, is denying the claim, but you have to wonder – wouldn’t he try to match the name in his commercial as closely as he could to the name on the ballot. It’s not as if the deletion of “Johnson” would save valuable space on his TV ad. Plus, its an omission matched by other literature produced by the GOP for Stephens.
There are certainly some people who will fall under the deception of such deplorable tactics. Let’s make sure that we outnumber them at the polls on November 6.