In the past few weeks, Gov. Josh Shapiro has decreed by executive order that you will automatically be registered to vote when you get or renew a driver’s license in Pennsylvania.
This clearly, to me, is a procedure that the legislature would have better done. Restoring confidence in the fairness of elections is critical in Pennsylvania, and an order like this undercuts public confidence and allows claims of illegal voting. Shapiro wrapped this under his mantra that his administration is one that gets things done.
Shapiro also endorsed Philadelphia City Councilperson Kendra Brooks of the Working Families Party for a second term. That came over the protests of Philadelphia Democratic Committee Chairman Bob Brady, who has a full slate of endorsed Democratic candidates for the council at large seats that cover the whole city. Brady joined me on my radio show and repeatedly wanted to know what Democrat Shapiro would cut in order to accommodate Brooks.
Brooks was the sole supporter recently when the Philadelphia City Council voted 13 to 1 to block supervised drug injection, where addicts could inject drugs and be rescued by medical personnel if they overdosed. Her party is a leader in wanting to defund the police and is viewed as a socialist front group. When he announced his pick, Shapiro said he endorsed Brooks because Brooks is someone who gets things done.
Yet, even with these radical moves, I view Shapiro as the perfect Philadelphia area candidate. He is a master at posturing as bipartisan and reasonable. He also has positioned himself as an unrivaled abortion champion. He is also tremendous as someone who swoops in to get great media support for things like the recent capture of the prison escapee in Chester County.
I don’t think Shapiro will be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2024. I think President Joe Biden will run no matter what. However, there is a lot to learn from Shapiro’s abortion promotion and what Republicans must do to have a chance to win the Philadelphia suburbs. I recently saw a CNN poll where respondents, by a wide margin, said abortion would be a bigger issue in the 2024 presidential race than border security. I think that poll is accurate.
Politico reported recently Biden administration operatives are reassuring donors and others that abortion will be the key issue in the 2024 campaign. They believe it is still a driver with women voters and really helps them in areas like the Philadelphia suburbs. However, they are alarmed that former President Donald Trump has muddied the waters with his position on the issue, and they recognize he has boxed in some of the more severe pro-life groups that are calling for a national abortion ban. On this issue, Trump is positioned well.
Democrats will also try to use abortion against Dave McCormick in his race against Bob Casey Jr. That contest could decide who controls the Senate. But Casey, who was “pro-life” like his father when he came into office, has since become more prochoice. Last year Casey said that he would support a bill to write abortion rights into federal law.
A poll out last week by National Public Affairs reinforced the position that Pennsylvania is the ultimate swing state in the races between Biden and Trump and McCormick and Casey. That poll indicated inflation is the top-of-mind issue for voters, and it really hurts Biden. It also indicated Shapiro is clearly the most popular major politician in Pennsylvania. You can book it that Shapiro and saving abortion rights will flood our local airwaves.