The Orbánization of Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Infrastructure

While appreciative of the additional funding, Mr. [Domenic] D’Andrea noted that it only returns the region to what funding levels were in 2019.[1]

Ed Blazina, “Southwestern Pa. transportation funding plan includes more money for Pittsburgh-area bridges,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 23, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/05/23/southwestern-pennsylvania-commission-transportation-plan-bridge-funding-infrastructure-stimulus/stories/202205210040


John Fetterman

There is an unstoppable white Christian nationalist segment to the Pennsylvania electorate that anyone on the ground has to see:

The 58-year-old, arch-conservative state senator and retired Army colonel won 44% of the vote Tuesday, according to unofficial results, defying the last-minute efforts of top consultants and party bigwigs to cast him as unelectable against Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro.

On the issues, [Doug] Mastriano gave full-throated endorsements of the conservative agenda, including the repeal of Pennsylvania’s no-excuse mail-in ballot law, an abortion ban, and former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

These positions were echoed by many in the nine-person primary field. But what made him stand out was his unapologetic embrace of those positions’ extremes — such as allowing no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the parent on the former, or sharing patently false information on the number of mail-in ballots requested in 2020.[2]

White Christian nationalism, which I have also called ‘Trumpism,’ very clearly dominates both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature,[3] suggesting widespread support across the state. What is less clear to me is its relative strength against other factions, both in absolute numbers and in numbers sufficiently motivated to vote. I think there is a chance that Pennsylvania results this November may diverge from national results, where in the latter, I fully expect white Christian nationalists to prevail,[4] largely because Democrats have performed so abominably, even failing to pass voting rights reform that would keep them in the game,[5] that there is simply nothing to vote for in that party, which is so plainly more comfortable in opposition where it can complain about the Republicans without being expected to accomplish a single damned thing.[6]

Widespread and highly visible support for Donald Trump still does not, yet anyway, seem visibly to translate into support for Mehmet Oz, whom Trump endorsed against David McCormick[7] in the still undecided U.S. Senate race for the Republican nomination that’s almost certainly headed for an automatic recount.[8] The question in my mind is whether either candidate can attract sufficient enthusiasm to prevail against the wildcard John Fetterman,[9] who has just been discharged from the hospital[10] following a stroke.[11]

And it is similarly certainly possible in my mind that the Republican Party establishment had it right when they opposed Doug Mastriano, calling him too extreme,[12] before they threw their support behind him when he won the Republican primary for governor.[13] The trouble in my mind here is that Josh Shapiro, a far more conventional candidate than Fetterman, may be dragged down by national Democratic Party flaccidity,[14] which is why I’m still inclined to think that Mastriano will win.

If Fetterman wins, he might make a difference in the U.S. Senate, but if I’m right about Mastriano, Pennsylvania will inescapably be under white Christian nationalist rule and there will be nothing stopping white Christian nationalists from seizing control of the electoral machinery of the state[15] to ensure they never again lose a statewide election here, that they will never lose control of the state legislature, and that Fetterman will be limited to a single term.

Jonathan Lai, “The Oz and McCormick campaigns are already fighting over undated Pa. mail ballots as Senate primary recount looms,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/mccormick-oz-undated-mail-ballots-pa-senate-primary-20220521.html

David Cohen, “Fetterman discharged from hospital,” Politico, May 22, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/22/john-fetterman-released-hospital-00034274

Julian Routh, “For Pa. GOP, no turning back in bid vs. Josh Shapiro as party leaders back Doug Mastriano for governor,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 22, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/22/mastriano-gop-nomination-republican-party-united/stories/202205220148

Stephen Caruso and Ethan Edward Coston, “How Doug Mastriano built a grassroots movement in Pa. on election denial, Christianity, and Facebook,” Spotlight PA, May 23, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/05/doug-mastriano-pa-governor-pennsylvania-shapiro/


  1. [1]Ed Blazina, “Southwestern Pa. transportation funding plan includes more money for Pittsburgh-area bridges,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 23, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/05/23/southwestern-pennsylvania-commission-transportation-plan-bridge-funding-infrastructure-stimulus/stories/202205210040
  2. [2]Stephen Caruso and Ethan Edward Coston, “How Doug Mastriano built a grassroots movement in Pa. on election denial, Christianity, and Facebook,” Spotlight PA, May 23, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/05/doug-mastriano-pa-governor-pennsylvania-shapiro/
  3. [3]Holly Otterbein, “Pennsylvania GOP pledges full allegiance to Trump,” Politico, January 26, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/26/pennsylvania-republican-party-trump-support-462843
  4. [4]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, May 19, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  5. [5]Mike DeBonis, “Senate Republicans block debate on a third major voting rights bill,” Washington Post, November 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-voting-john-lewis/2021/11/03/de00974e-3cc5-11ec-bfad-8283439871ec_story.html; Mike DeBonis, “Senate Republicans block voting rights bill, dealing blow to Democrats’ effort to overhaul election laws,” Washington Post, January 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-brace-for-likely-defeat-of-voting-rights-push-due-to-gop-filibuster/2022/01/19/2f9a734c-792d-11ec-bf97-6eac6f77fba2_story.html; Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead; Carrie Levine, “Why there’s even more pressure now on Congress to pass a voting rights bill,” Center for Public Integrity, July 9, 2021, https://publicintegrity.org/inside-publici/newsletters/watchdog-newsletter/why-theres-even-more-pressure-now-on-congress-to-pass-a-voting-rights-bill/; Sam Levine, “Voting rights advocates frustrated by ‘same-old, same-old’ meeting with White House,” Guardian, December 3, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/03/voting-rights-advocates-frustrated-meeting-white-house; Lawrence Lessig, “Why the US Is a Failed Democratic State,” New York Review of Books, December 10, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/12/10/why-the-us-is-a-failed-democratic-state/; Greg Sargent, “The damage done by Joe Manchin is likely to get much worse,” Washington Post, December 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/10/manchin-filibuster-protecting-our-democracy-act/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Democrats and contradiction,” Not Housebroken, January 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/11/18/democrats-and-contradiction/
  7. [7]Gillian McGoldrick, “Trump supporters still unsure about Oz in Pa.’s U.S. Senate GOP race, despite former president’s endorsement,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/09/donald-trump-dr-oz-senate-run-endorsement-greensburg-rally-dave-mccormick-pa-republican-primary-polling/stories/202205080176
  8. [8]Jonathan Lai, “The Oz and McCormick campaigns are already fighting over undated Pa. mail ballots as Senate primary recount looms,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/mccormick-oz-undated-mail-ballots-pa-senate-primary-20220521.html
  9. [9]Jake Blumgart, “Can this offbeat tattooed Democrat flip a Pennsylvania Senate seat?” Guardian, May 14, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/14/john-fetterman-pennsylvania-senate-campaign-democrat
  10. [10]David Cohen, “Fetterman discharged from hospital,” Politico, May 22, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/22/john-fetterman-released-hospital-00034274
  11. [11]Julia Terruso and Sean Collins Walsh, “John Fetterman suffered a stroke just days before Pa. Senate primary but says he’s recovering well,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 15, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/john-fetterman-stroke-20220515.html
  12. [12]Stephen Caruso and Ethan Edward Coston, “How Doug Mastriano built a grassroots movement in Pa. on election denial, Christianity, and Facebook,” Spotlight PA, May 23, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/05/doug-mastriano-pa-governor-pennsylvania-shapiro/
  13. [13]Julian Routh, “For Pa. GOP, no turning back in bid vs. Josh Shapiro as party leaders back Doug Mastriano for governor,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 22, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/05/22/mastriano-gop-nomination-republican-party-united/stories/202205220148
  14. [14]Benjamin Hart, “The Democratic Party Is Extremely Unpopular Right Now,” New York, May 16, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/05/the-democratic-party-is-extremely-unpopular-right-now.html
  15. [15]Greg Sargent, “Say it clearly: Republicans just nominated a pro-Trump insurrectionist,” Washington Post, May 18, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/18/doug-mastriano-insurrectionist/

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