The Pennsylvania GOP plan on using Liberalism against itself in November, and we have to go along with it. Let me explain why.
I was in the car with a friend discussing Mike Pence coming to Philadelphia. “Hey, are you going to the protest?,” I asked him. “Sure! How about you?” “Yeah,” I replied, “and it’s even worse that Lou Barletta is going to be there. Do you know who Lou Barletta is?” “No.” It was in that moment something clicked: No one in Philly, or really in the state, knows who Lou Barletta is.
On June 19th, a month earlier, Mike Pence came to the Rittenhouse Hotel in Center City, Philadelphia, to endorse Republican Governor Nominee Scott Wagner. When I heard about the protest, I only heard Mike Pence was in town and I didn’t even know Wagner was going to be there. In fact, while I was out there protesting I noticed someone go by who looked familiar but couldn’t put my finger on it. It was only after I got home and watched the news that I learned Wagner was there.
The Pennsylvania GOP has a massive problem: After making massive gains in 2016 by giving the state to Donald Trump to help him clench the election, this year will be a correction.
Philadelphia saw the highest vote count for a Republican Presidential Candidate in a decade because of Trump, but they know that is going away in a big way. A reliably-red western Pennsylvania Congressional District went to Democratic Congressman Conor Lamb. The Pennsylvania GOP lost its lawsuit in the Congressional Redistricting fight, meaning that they will lose seats in November in the U.S. Congress. To make matters worse, the Resistance is strong in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and their suburbs. All their gains are gone. They needed a strategy, something outside the box. And we’re it.
No one knows who Lou Barletta is. No one knows who’s Scott Wagner is. There’s no motivation for Republicans in Blue Districts like Philadelphia to vote since they know they’ll be out-voted.
So what better way to motivate them than by showing a mob of angry liberals protesting the most popular president in the party’s history?
Scott Wagner could have gotten his endorsement in his hometown of York, Pa. It’s an incredibly safe Republican stronghold and would have gotten some nice coverage. A formal endorsement, a way to show how strong he is with his support, and it would have gotten the 30 seconds of news you would think. Instead, he came to Philadelphia with Mike Pence in the middle of a giant immigration debate when kids are being put into cages. The resulting protest was massive, with hundred of people showing up to protest Vice President Mike Pence.
The news coverage that night focused on the protest, for sure, but it also was a news media coup for Wagner who got more coverage in Philly than he had with his other stunts that week.
The Pennsylvania GOP is repeating the playbook with Republican Senate Candidate Lou Barletta. Congressman Barletta has represented the 11th District in Pennsylvania since 2011, which currently incorporates Lancaster and Harrisburg. He easily won the Senate Nomination since, well, no one else really wanted it. He’s done a few interviews on CNN, but really, he has no name recognition.
Barletta is coming to Philadelphia for an endorsement from Mike Pence at the Union League in the heart of Philadelphia, Broad and Sansom. You can already guess what happens next.
Massive protests are planned, and it’s obvious that the Pennsylvania GOP are doing: Make liberals look “crazy”, show how much they hate Trump, and get name recognition and free press for someone no one has really heard about all while trying to drive up Republican turnout.
It’s a brilliant strategy, actually. It doesn’t cost them much, they get a Vice Presidential endorsement, they get free press, and they get to disarm their enemy on everything from “crazy liberals” to “antifa” to “look how much these protests are costing taxpayers.”
The sad thing? We have to go along with it.
By not going out and protesting, you may deprive them of the win, but you’re also depriving yourselves of the ability to go out and express your anger and frustration with this regime. Staying home means that there is no “resistance” and they get to act like what they’re doing isn’t so bad. We need to stand up for ourselves, even in the face of this. By acknowledging the strategy, we can actually counter it by stating the simple fact that we will not be silenced.
Additionally, the Pennsylvania GOP has a new overall campaign strategy: Make a list of Democrats who appear to support “socialism.”
“Do you support Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the Democratic Caucus?”
“Do you support the agenda of the Democratic Socialists of America?”
“Have you condemned Maxine Water’s call for violence against the Trump Administration?”
Yes, McCarthyism is alive and well, along with good ‘ol fashioned demagoguery.
The Pennsylvania GOP’s plan for winning the 2018 midterms is to humiliate liberals to help energize their base, and then divide Democrats by focusing on “socialist” values of some Democrats. In other words, disenfranchise, divide, and conquer.
And their plan is going to backfire.
While their hope is to make liberals look bad and energize their base, the reality is its most likely is going to energize the liberals in the corners of this state and increase their turnout.