Being a lifelong sports fan in Philadelphia prepared me to be politically allied with the Republicans — to deal with endless disappointments.
Delivered again in 2022.
If my kids thought it was bad to see two beloved Philadelphia sports teams lose a championship in one night, just wait until they’re old enough to learn that Republicans shockingly took the majority of seats in Pennsylvania about a week later Lost State House.
Despite a looming recession, the dire consequences of the COVID-19 shutdown for our children, skyrocketing crime, and no-solutions proposed by Democrats, Republicans lost many races they should have won.
In the PA gubernatorial and US Senate elections, the Republican bench lacked depth and produced deeply flawed candidates. Doug Mastriano was unable to articulate a unified vision and focused too much on the past, a direction none of us are interested in.
Mehmet Oz projected sympathy and solution-oriented ideas—but he was from New Jersey.
In 2009, the Pew Research Center named Pennsylvania one of America’s “stickiest” states — meaning most of us who were born here still live here. As flawed as Fetterman was, he was a begotten son and that counts in this Commonwealth.
But even worse are Pennsylvania Republicans, who have failed to articulate policy solutions that bring prosperity. Visionary leadership matters more than raging against the Democrats. When you have two parties that lack vision and solutions, and one is already in power, it makes sense for voters to stick with the one they know.
This loss should be constructive for Republicans, not only to build a better bank of potential candidates, but also to remind themselves that good policy—well articulated—makes good policy.
Good policy – well articulated – makes for good policy.
Look at Republican victories in places like Florida and Virginia. Glenn Youngkin took over the Virginia Governor’s mansion in 2021 and operated a comprehensive platform to expand educational opportunities for children and strengthen families economically. Youngkin admirably challenged Democrats, won over Republicans loyal to President Trump, and ran a solution-oriented campaign — winning a state that voted for Biden in 2020.
There was no greater triumph that year than in Florida, where Ron DeSantis led his party to great victories. DeSantis kept Florida open during COVID-19, keeping the kids in school and keeping taxes down. In a move that left fiscal hawks everywhere swooning, DeSantis even slashed his own party’s budget and slashed GOP priorities because the Republican-led Florida Legislature was overspending.
This was not sensationalism, but governing through good economic policy. It gave people reason to trust their governor, and voters rewarded him.
The way I see it, DeSantis also ousted former President Donald Trump as leader of the Republican Party. Trump’s supporters deserve respect — and a better leader. DeSantis has proven he can deliver. Sure, the former president has announced that he’s running for the White House again, but in my view, the party is shifting from Mar-a-Lago to the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee.
Here in Pennsylvania – where the Democrats have the Pa since Friday. Holding House with one vote – we should remember that a divided government can be very constructive. First, divided governments tend to spend less of our money. A 2010 study by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center found that when one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House, spending skyrockets.
Most importantly, a divided government can help us come together by forcing Democrats and Republicans to push good politics — if only to push their own agenda.
Republicans must be vigilant advocates of policies that benefit all Pennsylvanians — particularly in expanding children’s educational opportunities, reducing crime and cutting spending — but voters have shown they want them to do that with a Do the minimum of grace and magnanimity to the Democrats.
If I were a legislator, my goal would be to win over the other side – not to marginalize them. DeSantis and Youngkin showed that it is possible to challenge progressive ideas while bringing Democratic voters with you.
Two-thirds of Americans want Congress to compromise to get things done, according to a 2021 YouGov poll. A recent poll conducted by the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service found similar results: A majority of voters want candidates willing to compromise and show courtesy.
Compromises can get bad results, but Pennsylvania Republicans have had success in swaying Democrats to conservative ideas. Only this year did the Pa. House voted bipartisanly to promote Lifeline Scholarships for children in failing schools. And lawmakers voted bipartisanly to finally lower our state’s heinous business tax. These types of actions create policies that improve life.
Voters did not outright reject the conservative platform, nor did they admonish the progressive one. But they sent a strong message about the policies and behavior they expect from their politicians.
Let’s hope Republicans here at home get the message and act like the leaders we want and deserve.