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FLOWERS: PA Voters Pick Nihilism Over Compassion

I’ve been told abortion was the deciding factor in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.  I myself have written about the importance of abortion in the grand scheme of things, the measure and metric by which we determine our collective humanity. And if abortion really was the thing that motivated women and the men who loved (or at least wanted to date) them, we have our answer about that collective humanity: It’s missing in action.

When I think that a majority of voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose to align themselves with someone who has such a radical view of abortion rights as John Fetterman, and to a slightly lesser extent Josh Shapiro, whose Twitter feed kept sending out inane messages about “a woman’s right to choose” as if it had Tourette Syndrome, then the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade revealed a very deep schism in modern society and in this state in particular.

You might think the word “eugenicist” is a bit much, given its overtones of the Holocaust and Mengele.  The doctor who performed horrific experiments in the concentration camps was attempting to design a society where only perfect Aryan creatures existed and reproduced with each other. But the pseudo “science” of eugenics has existed for generations and was embraced by exalted historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Oliver Wendell Homes, and Margaret Sanger. That brings me to the point of calling abortion supporters “amoral eugenicists.”

Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, championed abortion as a form of extreme birth control.  Despite an attempt at whitewashing by the PP crowd, Sanger never actually disavowed her enthusiastic support for sterilizing immigrants, people of color, poor people, and all those others who did not rise to the level of what she considered a valuable and contributing member of society. She did not use terms like “Aryan.” She simply wanted to improve society by weeding out the less desirables. Generations later, Hillary Clinton echoed that philosophy when she talked about the basket of “deplorables,” and it is clear that from a progressive standpoint, eugenics was at the very least a nuanced issue. To them, it had some value.

Abortion is an extension of eugenics. It permits people to make judgments about the value of other people, other human beings. The terminology is carefully curated so that we stop talking about “people” and shift towards a focus on “fetus.” Some have even used the term “opportunistic parasite.” Those of us who are pro-life and follow the actual science are content to settle for the universal term “human being.”  But that is something that encourages compassion and reflection on the exact nature of the act of aborting. And to those who support abortion, like John Fetterman, reflection is a dangerous and counterproductive thing.

When I think that a majority of voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose to align themselves with someone who has such a radical view of abortion rights, I realize the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade revealed a very deep schism in modern society, and in this state in particular. While Roe was still in place, the abortion supporters were marginally pacified. They were not on the defensive, the law was on their side, and they could complain about conservative pro-lifers, safe in the knowledge that a half-century of creative precedent was on their side.  Then came Dobbs, and the tectonic plates shifted to create a social earthquake. Pro “choice” women saw their choice reduced to a state-by-state determination, panicked, and looked for people to blame.

The target was easy: Conservatives in general, Republicans in particular.

The method was easier: Elect the man who said he’d protect their right to abort whenever and however they wanted.

The reckoning came on Tuesday night, and I have to congratulate the sisters for their determination, organization, and motivation in making sure that they were still able to advance Margaret Sanger’s mission of selecting human value by calling it “autonomy.”

The nihilism vote won.

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QUINN: Finding The Middle Ground on Abortion

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case, which returned abortion policy decisions to individual states, has sparked an important public policy discussion about what limits on abortion are appropriate. Most Americans are willing to have reasonable discussions about reasonable limits on abortion.

But some politicians have sought to take advantage of the heightened sensitivity of the issue, spreading false, misleading claims for personal political gain. My opponent is one of them and I want to set the record straight: I have never voted in support of an abortion ban. And if a ban were ever advanced in Pennsylvania, I would oppose it.

The Dobbs decision has fueled efforts by both supporters and opponents of abortion to vastly change state abortion laws. In West Virginia, some have pushed for aggressive bans on abortion with limited exceptions. Meanwhile, some pro-choice advocates are championing efforts to vastly expand abortion access into the third trimester. Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee hearing this summer featured panelists who championed eliminating all abortion restrictions. As one panelist stated, “every abortion restriction is extreme.”

There are also efforts currently underway through the courts to overturn a 30-year-old Pennsylvania law that prohibits the use of taxpayer funding to perform abortions. It provides exceptions for rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother. This case, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center vs. the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, is now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The appellants are asking the state’s majority Democratic Supreme Court to establish a state constitutional right to taxpayer-funded abortions. In its ruling, the court could also establish a state constitutional right to abortion, removing all abortion restrictions and allowing abortions to be performed up until the moment of birth.

Following the Dobbs decision, I’ve had extensive conversations with many constituents about what constitutes reasonable abortion access and restrictions. It is clear to me that the vast majority of residents hold moderate, middle-of-the-ground views. Many who consider themselves “pro-choice” believe if a woman plans to have an abortion, she should do it before the child would be viable outside the womb. Conversely, many who consider themselves “pro-life” support allowing abortions up until 20 weeks.

What I’ve learned is that most local residents do not support an abortion ban, nor do they support proposals promoted by Planned Parenthood and others to eliminate all abortion limitations. Most fall in the middle: Supporting both protecting a woman’s right to choose in the early stages of pregnancy and the government’s ability to protect life once it would be viable outside the womb.

Abortion in Pennsylvania is governed by the Abortion Control Act of 1982, which allows abortions to be performed up until 24 weeks for any reason, except to select the sex of the baby. There are additional exceptions after 24 weeks, such as to protect the life of the mother.

The proposed Pennsylvania constitutional amendment approved by the legislature this summer, S.B. 106, clarifies that it is entirely within the purview of the legislature to regulate abortion. For the constitutional amendment to take effect, it needs to again pass the legislature next legislative session. Pennsylvania voters would then approve or disapprove of it in a statewide referendum.

My opponent’s claim that the proposed amendment bans abortion is an outright lie. The amendment makes no change to the Abortion Control Act, nor does it further restrict access to abortion. On the contrary, I supported the amendment to maintain the status quo and prevent a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that invalidates current law, removes all abortion restrictions, and creates a constitutional right to taxpayer-funded abortions.

That is why the amendment is worded the way it is. “This constitution does not grant the right to taxpayer-funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion.” It does not ban abortion in Pennsylvania. It preserves current law and the ability of the legislature to establish reasonable restrictions.

This is a deeply personal public policy discussion. As elected officials, we must work to achieve a public consensus on the topic through open, honest discourse. Politicians on both sides of the abortion issue who spread inflammatory rhetoric are doing a great disservice to voters.

As a member of the House of Representatives, my job is to represent the views of the residents of my district. As such, I will not support any legislation that would either expand or ban access to abortion. This is not a public policy we should rush into until such time as a public consensus is achieved.

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Fetterman Rallies Voters – And Razzes Oz — in Bristol

On a campaign visit to Bucks County on Sunday, Democrat Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman kept up his mocking attacks on his Republican rival Dr. Mehmet Oz, delighting supporters with quips about “crudite” and Oz’s connections to New Jersey.

The Bristol Borough crowd, which numbered in the hundreds, laughed and applauded,

Democrats, however, are not laughing about the latest trend in the polls which shows Oz steadily gaining on Fetterman. Several political polling organizations, including the Cook Political Report, now rate the race a toss-up.

Fetterman did his part to close the deal with Democrats and independents in the crowd, promising to be the majority-maker in the U.S. Senate for several progressive issues.

“Send me to D.C., and I’ll be the 51st vote,” said Fetterman. “Send me there to eliminate the filibuster, raise the minimum wage; $7.25 an hour is that okay? Isn’t it ironic that a guy with 10 gigantic mansions thinks $7.25 is still okay?

Congressional candidate Ashley Ehasz

“I am going to make sure we vote and pass the Pro Act. Our campaign (is) running on the union way of life and how sacred that is. It built America. It built the middle class, and we need to make more stuff in America, more stuff here in Pennsylvania.”

“I am going there to fight to expand healthcare,” he said. “I’m going to fight for veterans,” said Fetterman, who accused retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) of using veterans as “bargaining chips.”

“Another thing: Marriage equality,” said Fetterman. “Back in 2013, as mayor (of Braddock) I was the only official willing to solemnize a gay marriage when it was illegal. (Gov.) Tom Corbett threatened to have me arrested for that. And I said, ‘You know what? You know where I live.’”

“I’m going to fight to codify Roe v. Wade,” he said. “Abortion is on the ballot.”

Republicans believe the power of the abortion issue is waning and voters will turn to the GOP on more ever-present issues like the cost of living and concerns about crime.

“Dr. Oz has closed the polling gap on Fetterman for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is (Fetterman’s) awful record on crime,” said Republican consultant Charlie O’Neill. “Fetterman has never met a criminal he didn’t think was a victim, which is backward thinking to most Pennsylvanians. In addition to his terrible crime record, voters know Fetterman won’t stop inflation. He won’t secure the border. They are also meeting the real Fetterman, the trust fund kid who lived off his parents for decades and didn’t pay his taxes – it’s all tarnishing the ‘every man’ facade he tried to create.”

However, many of the rally attendees DVJournal spoke to said abortion was a top issue for them.

“I’m for John Fetterman because I believe in a woman’s right to choose,” said Phyllis Arnold of Buckingham, a retired teacher. She also said she favored “sensible gun control” and “being the stewards of the planet.” And she was concerned about access to healthcare, especially for the disabled.

Her friend, Penny Parkin, who also lives in Buckingham, agreed with all those points and added,” I am a Democrat. I vote Democrat. I always vote Democrat.”

“My number one concern is protecting the vote, protecting democracy,” said Parkin.

Bristol resident Sybil Henderson also mentioned “protecting women’s rights” and affordable healthcare.

Maggie Finn, also of Bristol, said she worries about the fentanyl crisis and lost her brother to an overdose. Substance abuse “needs to be treated as a health problem, not a criminal justice problem,” she said. “I think people should not be in jail for nonviolent possession.”

Ann and Tom Argenieri

Yardley residents Ann and Tom Argenieri came with their dog, Lyla.

Ann Argenieri’s main issues are social justice, healthcare, and “personal freedoms.”

“It’s a slippery slope to a fascist, authoritarian theocracy,” she said.

Tom Argenieri said, “We’ve already sent one con man to Washington. We can’t send another.”

In a somewhat unusual move compared to other campaigns, the Fetterman event began with a warm-up act to get the crowd pumped up and ready for the candidate. He exhorted the crowd to chant and wave the Fetterman signs they had been given when they walked in the gate, similar to a comedian talking to a television studio audience before taping a show.

No similar warm-up person was present at recent Bucks County rallies for Oz, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, or a rally in Wilkes-Barre that former President Donald Trump held for Oz and Mastriano.

Several local Democrats took to the stage to praise Fetterman and talk about their races, including congressional candidate Ashely Ehasz, who is running against Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks/Montgomery).

Ehasz mentioned she was a combat veteran raised by a single mother. She joined the Army at 17 and went to West Point.

Ehasz said, “I value leaders who will fight for and protect veterans…When I needed her most when I was a young kid just trying to hope for a better future, my country saved me, and as I stand here before you all as your Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress, I am running to save her when she needs us most.”

While Oz and supporting PACs are running ads detailing Fetterman’s record on crime as the chair of the Board of Pardons and using Fetterman’s own words in favor of freeing one-third of the state’s inmates, Fetterman said that he is the candidate who would be tough on crime.

“They’ve spent $30 million on negative ads against me, and we’re still standing,” said Fetterman. “More than standing. We’re winning.”

“Send him back over the river to New Jersey and send me to D.C.,” he said.

During the rally, Republican protesters could be heard chanting “U.S.A.” from nearby and a boat sporting an Oz flag motored along the Delaware River honking.

After his remarks, Fetterman briefly mingled with the crowd and then left the area without taking questions from the press.

Bucks County Republican chair Pat Poprik said, “Well, I’m glad to see that he finally decided to campaign and come out of his basement and let people talk to him.”

“I think the people deserve more than that from someone who is running for such an important office,” said Poprik.

Brittany Yanick, a spokeswoman for the Oz campaign, said, “Dr. Oz is running against the most pro-murderer candidate in the nation, and he is going to win in November because he is showing up and listening to voters – Republicans, Democrats, and independents – who want to see a change from the failed policies of the past.

“Pennsylvania can’t afford a Bernie Sanders socialist who wants to release one-third of Pennsylvania inmates, decriminalize all drugs, eliminate life sentences for murderers, and raise taxes on hardworking Pennsylvanians while failing to pay his own taxes 67 times.”

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VALYO: Vote for Democrats to Preserve Democracy

EDITOR’S NOTE: For another view, see “McGarrigle: Why Voters Should Vote for Republicans.”


On Tuesday, November 8, Americans will once again head to the polls to exercise one of our most important rights – the right to vote. This year, however, the stakes are higher than they have ever been before as the differences between candidates go beyond policy.

Rather, we are choosing between those who believe in truth, democracy, and freedom and those who embrace dangerous election lies, hateful rhetoric, and political violence. The best way to protect our democracy, keep the government out of our bedrooms and doctors’ offices, and stop the spread of MAGA extremism is to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot.

It should come as no surprise that in normal election cycles, I also strongly believe that voting for Democrats is the best decision. Ordinarily, that is for policy reasons. But there is nothing ordinary about this year. We have one party – the Republican Party – that has been taken over by far-right extremists, including some calling for violence against our elected officials and institutions.

The Republicans are not even pretending to appeal to moderates anymore. Their platform calls for, among other things, a national ban on abortion; support for total and absolute gun rights; rejection of sound climate science and backward-looking energy policies that prop up the fossil fuel industry; drastic cuts and changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid relied on by millions of citizens; elimination of the Affordable Care Act which would lead to loss of insurance and coverage for pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans; and, of course, more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, forcing the tax burden down onto middle-class Americans and shockingly, even the poorest among us.

Moreover, we have the continued assault on our electoral system based on the “big lie” created by former President Donald Trump and his allies. We are learning every day just how deep and terrifying this assault really is. Across the country, Republicans are trying to take over election boards, county commissions, city councils, and school boards to force their dangerous view of the world on the rest of us.

We are seeing these forces at work right here in Pennsylvania where the Republican candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano, has made controlling elections, through his power to appoint the secretary of state and certify voting machines, a central tenet of his campaign. He supports a complete ban on abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or even the health of the mother, and even supports charging a woman who had an abortion with murder.

His historically extreme education policy would cut public education funding by half and he has vowed to turn Pennsylvania into the Florida of the North. No, thank you. Beyond Harrisburg, our U.S. Senate and House races are also vital for protecting our democracy. If Republicans take control of the U.S. House and Senate all progress stops in terms of fighting inflation, global warming, women’s rights, common-sense gun control, civil rights, and protecting our elections.

That’s why we here in Chester County need to throw our support behind Democratic candidates at all levels, from our state legislature, to governor, to the House of Representatives, to the U.S. Senate. Our very democracy is on the ballot in November and there is only one party intent on preserving it, for everyone.


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Dobbs Decision Spurs Voter Registrations Among DelVal Women

Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Pennsylvania women have been outpacing men by 12 percent in registering to vote, according to voter data firm Target Smart. That is significant because both Democrats at the top of the ticket are outperforming their GOP opponents among women, the latest polls show.

A Pew Research Center poll released in August revealed abortion was an essential issue for 56 percent of voters this election — a 10 percent jump since March. While there has been no difference in the importance of the abortion issue among Republican voters since March, the importance among Democrat voters increased to 71 percent — a 25 percent jump since the landmark ruling.

In Montgomery County, female voters registering as Democrats has been six times higher than Republican registration since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Comparing male voters, Democrat registration is around two times greater than Republicans. According to data, 511 women have switched to the Democratic Party, while just 211 women have switched to the Republican Party, according to Kelly Cofrancisco, Montgomery County’s director of communications.

In Bucks County, the shift in women’s voter registration hasn’t been as significant. Four days before the ruling, 19,061 more women were registered as Democrats than Republicans, according to Bucks County voter registration data. On September 6, the gap between Democrat and Republican registrations for women increased only by 559. During the same period, the gap between Democrat and Republican male registrations grew by 336.

Both Chester and Delaware County spokespeople told DVJournal they couldn’t provide complete information about the sex of newly-registered voters. However, since the ruling, the Chester Democratic Party added 1,471 more new voters than the GOP.

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) said abortion rights are a priority for her campaign, providing a distinct difference between her GOP opponent, business leader Guy Ciarrocchi.

“On one hand, Chrissy will continue to fight until Roe is the law of our land,” said Shane Wolfe, her campaign manager. “On the other is a candidate who supports the extremists in Washington and Harrisburg trying to pass a nationwide abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest. Voters need to know where their candidates stand on this key issue. And since the Dobbs decision, we have seen a surge of volunteers, donations, and voter registrations to support Chrissy’s election.”

Ciarrocchi pushed back on Houlahan’s attacks.

“I don’t rely on the media to educate me on ‘what women think,” said Ciarrocchi, the father of two daughters and a son, who has coached girls’ softball for 23 years. “The Inquirer story, unfortunately, continues a pattern of dividing-up Americans into political ‘camps’—based on gender, race, geography, etc. and making generalizations.”

A weak economy, rising crime, and students falling behind are at the forefront of Ciarrocchi’s campaign because those are the issues that unite everyone, he said.

“There have been a lot of twists and turns and news stories during this campaign, but the issues have remained constant,” Ciarrocchi said. “Gas is too expensive, inflation is robbing us of our paychecks and savings, violent crime is on the rise, and too many parents feel powerless as their kids fall behind academically and emotionally.”

EMILY’s List, a pro-choice political action committee, has donated $11,600 during this current election cycle to Houlahan’s campaign according to Open Secrets.

That PAC also donated $34,845 to Rep. Susan Wild’s campaign. Wild also received $8,500 from another pro-choice PAC known as A Woman’s Place. Redistricting led Wild’s seat to lean more Republican, according to the Cook Political Report. A recent poll revealed that 47 percent of respondents would vote for Republican challenger Lisa Scheller and 43 percent for Rep. Wild.

Among Democrat Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon’s top ten donors this election cycle is A Woman’s Place. Thus far, Scanlon (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) has received $10,000. Her opponent, Republican Dave Galluch, is also unfazed by the uptick in voter registration among women, according to campaign manager Joe Luongo.

“From the start of his campaign, Dave has been focused on issues that are hurting families and women,” Luongo said. “Having been raised by a single mother, Dave knows first-hand the impact higher grocery and gas prices have on families, especially single mothers. Dave doesn’t need a poll to know that real leadership would never allow for a shortage of baby formula.”

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GOP’s Mastriano Targets Shapiro, Biden at Delco Rally

About 200 enthusiastic supporters packed Gatsby’s Bar and Restaurant in Aston Wednesday to listen to state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Before addressing the crowd, Mastriano shook hands and posed for pictures, along with his wife, Rebecca. Dave White, a Delaware County businessman and former Delaware County councilman who also ran for governor, introduced Mastriano.

Rebecca and Doug Mastriano talk with supporters

“We came out of a contentious primary but in that primary, you had nine people that had nine great ideas and the people spoke,” said White, who has traveled the state supporting Mastriano. “And this is the time to come together. If you believe in economic development and tapping our resources and making Pennsylvania the energy capital of the United States, join this team. If you believe in school choice…we need Gov. Mastriano.”

Mastriano spoke for about 40 minutes, touching on various issues and getting in a few jabs at his Democrat opponent Attorney General Josh Shapiro as well as the press, which has not been kind to him. Every few sentences, the crowd cheered, applauded, or called out encouragement.

Dave White introduces Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano mentioned that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came to rally with him last Friday.

“The irony of coming to a state where our governor got it all wrong,” said Mastriano. “Ron DeSantis is showing us the way ahead for Pennsylvania. Our goal is to make Pennsylvania the Florida of the north.”

“My opponent spent $12 million and has nothing to show for it. He had no primary…He’s going to lose bad.”

“Sadly, Josh’s message is one of darkness and hate and division,” said Mastriano. “Of name calling, which Democrats are good at. And media, he has a six-year record as attorney general, won’t you even talk about that? No, because you like him.”

“He can’t run on his record because he’s a failure,” said Mastriano. “He’s been the attorney general for six years and crime has gone up 37 percent on his watch. Now Pennsylvania is the 12th highest in homicide, the senior law enforcement official…This guy’s incompetent. We ought to throw the bum out.”

“On his watch, we’re the 8th highest in overdoses,” he said.  “The fourth highest in Fentanyl. Sex trafficking is through the roof. He looks the other way with illegals.”

Instead of fighting crime, Shapiro sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, he said.

“Yes, he’s running lots of ads,” said Mastriano. “If anyone believes those ads I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, cheap. As my Afghan friends said, ‘best friend price.’”

Mastriano served in the Army for 30 years and retired as a colonel before winning a seat in the state Senate to represent Franklin County. He also holds a Ph.D. in history.

He called the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan “disgusting,” and asked for a show of hands for Afghan veterans. “That just tore my heart out and I’m sure it’s a similar feeling to what the Vietnam veterans saw in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. Sheer incompetence. That incompetence emboldened tyrants like Putin. And I will note that Vladimir Putin behaved under Donald Trump, so we need old 45 to come rolling back.”

Trump endorsed Mastriano and plans to rally with him and Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 3.

The Shapiro campaign has attacked Mastriano’s pro-life stand and, with the demise of Roe v. Wade, it has become an election issue.

About 20 demonstrators with pro-choice signs stood outside Gatsby’s before the Mastriano event and listened to remarks by Delaware County Party Chairwoman Colleen Guiney and state Sen. John Kane (D-Delaware/Chester).

“We believe that women have bodily autonomy,” she said, saying that they stand with Shapiro on women’s rights. Mastriano “has said, ‘Abortion should end right now and we should have no exceptions.’ That 11-year-old child has been victimized by a family member and is pregnant, she should carry that child to term. We don’t believe that is his choice. That is the choice of the child and their family and their doctor…I don’t believe doctors should do and I don’t believe women should go to jail for having healthcare in the United States of America.”

Kane said, “Yo, Doug Mastriano, you come into Delco with your no-comment express press conference. Delaware County does not want an extremist like you here.”

Asked by Delaware Valley Journal why Shapiro funded commercials that boosted Mastriano’s campaign during the GOP primary if he is such a ‘dangerous extremist,’ Kane said, “He wanted to make sure everybody knows what Doug Mastriano is all about. Doug Mastriano…when you’re taking rights away from women when you’re still talking about the election being stolen. When I got sworn in, I got sworn in with an awful lot of Republicans at the same time. Nobody ended up saying their election was stolen.”

During the rally, Mastriano introduced his wife, Rebecca, to talk about women’s rights.

“We believe in a women’s right to be born,” she said, and listed other rights such as safety, children’s education, and a “right to access baby formula and affordable groceries.”

“We believe in a woman’s right to raise a child where the government is enforcing the law and prosecuting crime,” she said. “We believe in a woman’s right to live in a nation with a secure border. We believe in a woman’s right to the First Amendment and after all, we are Pennsylvanians, we believe in a woman’s right to the Second Amendment. We believe in a woman’s right to compete in sports not dominated by men.”

“They don’t want to talk about inflation,” said Mastriano. “It’s so bad that even Jimmy Carter is looking decent now.”

“They don’t want to talk about the cities being burned to the ground just down the road from here, the Summer of Love,” he said.

Mastriano promised he would end Pennsylvania as a “sanctuary state.”

“When those ghost flights come into our airports, I’ll have the beautiful Pennsylvania State Police meeting those flights and…escorting those buses down to Joe Biden’s house in Delaware.” He praised law enforcement and mentioned that he’d gotten the state FOP’s endorsement.

Delaware County Democratic chair Colleen Guiney with protesters.

Mastriano also promised to take the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that is driving up the cost of electricity and to bring energy jobs back to Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania, we are truly at a crossroads between (Gov.) Wolf and Shapiro tyranny or under Mastriano freedom and liberty. I don’t know about you, but I chose freedom and liberty,” he said.

Several supporters told DVJournal why they support Mastriano.

“Our country is falling apart. I need to stick up for my children. I need to be able to tell my children I fought for our country,” said Maureen Willis of Landenberg, a former Democrat.

And Drexel Hill resident Richard Pruett said, “I support Doug, just like Donald Trump is supporting Doug. He believes in freedom. He believes in American first, energy independence. I love the fact he fought for us in battle, that he’s a colonel and on Day One he’ll open up the pipeline.”

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In Wake of Dobbs Decision, Abortion Politics Heats Up in Harrisburg

Activists on both sides of the abortion issue are fighting in Harrisburg over the legal future of the controversial procedure, and they’re both  leveling accusations of “extremism” to make their case.

Supporters of legal abortion point to a proposed amendment to the state constitution from abortion opponents, “providing that there is no right to abortion or funding for an abortion.” The resolution, condemned as “extreme” by its opponents, passed the GOP-controlled legislature last week.

In order for it to take effect, it must pass again in the next legislative session, and then voters must approve it in a referendum, possibly in 2023.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has jumped into the fray, issuing an executive order that the state would refuse to honor any warrant from another state for a person charged with a criminal violation involving reproduction. The order also protects healthcare professionals. Wolf stated in a press release he has vetoed three abortion-related bills.

Pro-life organizations called Wolf’s actions “extreme.”

“With his vetoes on these pro-life bills, Gov. Wolf brags about his support of late-term abortion, as well as his support for ripping babies apart limb by limb, aborting babies that have Down syndrome, and putting women with ectopic pregnancies at more risk,” said Dan Bartkowiak, director of communications for Pennsylvania Family Institute. “This is an appalling display of extreme pro-abortion politics that are out of touch with Pennsylvania families. Sadly, this has come to be expected from a governor that is a former volunteer for Planned Parenthood and has received significant campaign contributions from the abortion industry.”

Marlene Downing, deputy director for Pennsylvania for the Susan B. Anthony List, said, “The majority of Pennsylvanians who are pro-abortion do not want the restrictions already in place to go away.” These include the 24-week limit and preventing minors from undergoing the procedure without parental consent.

“Hopefully, the constitutional amendment will be passed,” she said. The amendment would not ban abortion in Pennsylvania, but it would help prevent current limits on abortion from being removed by a future legislature, she said.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Executive Director Signe Espinoza took the opposite position. She said in a statement the legislature has “taken a significant step toward forcing their radical anti-abortion agenda into the Pennsylvania Constitution.” She complained the process was rushed and the vote taken “under the cover of darkness.”

“Anti-abortion legislators have advanced a bill that will take rights out of our constitution. The bill can pass again in January, be on the 2023 primary ballot, and lead to abortion bans by this time next summer.

“This is the most expedited timeline possible, and we know that these extremists have been planning for this since they stacked the United States Supreme Court with the sole goal of overturning Roe v Wade. This process was not transparent, and that was intentional by a far-right majority dead-set on advancing a fringe ideology,” Espinoza said.

The group plans to take “accountability actions” with legislative leaders and also unveil digital billboards, a spokeswoman said.

Downing said the Susan B. Anthony List has been going door-to-door throughout the state, passing out pro-life literature. Some 225,000 households had been reached by early July, she said. Their volunteers also speak with people about their pro-life message when someone is at home.

The literature attacks Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro as “too extreme on abortion.”

“Fetterman opposes all limits on abortion and even defends late-term abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion and denying babies who survive abortion life-saving medical care,” the brochure said.

“Shapiro is a pro-abortion activist who opposes all limits on abortion,” it continued. “Shapiro supports abortion on demand up to the moment of birth, all at taxpayer expense.”

Ironically, both the Fetterman and Shapiro campaigns are running attack ads on television against Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republicans running for senator and governor, that call them “extreme” for their pro-life positions.

“We are just educating people about candidates who are extreme on abortion,” said Downing, who is also on the board of the Pro-Life Union Pennsylvania. “Our goal is to talk to Pennsylvanians.” Most residents are “not against abortion or for abortion. They like restrictions on it, that middle ground…We’re talking to all the voters we can.”


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Are DelVal Dems Hidin’ From Biden?

When President Joe Biden came to Cleveland on Wednesday to tout his success at keeping Americans on the job, it apparently hit home with one prominent Democrat: U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan was too busy to show up for Biden’s speech.

Ryan, who is in a tough race against Republican J.D. Vance, had “a busy campaign schedule with prior commitments,” his spokesperson told Roll Call.

Ryan wasn’t the only one. The Democrats’ candidate for governor of Ohio, Nan Whaley, was also a no-show for Biden’s appearance.

It’s part of a national trend. Last week, Virginia Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanbeger, when asked if she wanted the president to campaign for her in her swing district, told Fox News, “I intend to do the campaigning myself.” And prominent progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) created headaches for the White House with her recent remarks that if Biden runs for re-election she may not support him.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Still, Biden is determined to stay on the campaign trail and the head of the Democratic Legislative Campaign told Politico she hopes he will campaign with state legislative candidates in the coming months.

“We have a great relationship with the Biden White House,” said chair Jessica Post. “So we hope that translates into seeing President Biden out campaigning for us, for state legislatures.”

In Pennsylvania, where 54 percent of voters have a negative view of Biden, that may be wishful thinking — even in the blue environs of the Delaware Valley. While gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro insists he would welcome the president to join him on the campaign trail, the question is whether other Keystone State Democrats feel the same.

Delaware Valley Journal reached out to seven Democratic candidates for both state House and Senate across the region, asking if they would be willing to appear with Biden. Only one responded.

“With the national attention on this election, I am confident that public officials from both parties will be visiting our area,” Ann Marie Mitchell, Democratic nominee in state Senate District 6 in Bucks County, said in a statement.

She added she hopes that and other efforts by her team will lead to higher voter turnout and engagement in the campaign, but declined to say whether she would appear with Biden if given the chance.

The other six candidates contacted included incumbents like state Sen. Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery) and state Rep. Danielle Friel-Otten (D-HD155), and challengers like Cathy Spahr in House District 160 (Delaware/Chester), and Jill Dennin in Senate District 24 (Montgomery/Bucks/Berks).

“When it comes to Democrats in tough elections, I guess Joe Biden doesn’t ‘have a friend in Pennsylvania,'” quipped GOP strategist Charlie O’Neill. “And who can blame them? Running with Joe Biden this election cycle is like starting a baseball game down 10 runs. Nevertheless, Democrats nominated him, and they have to defend his record. So whether they want to or not, all Democrats on the ballot have to contend with Biden’s lack of success.”

Biden convincingly carried the Delaware Valley in 2020 while outperforming down-ballot candidates and winning some of the districts Democrats hope to flip this November.

However, Biden today is more unpopular than he was in 2020. In a new Harvard/Harris poll, 71 percent of Americans said they do not want him to seek a second term. And a new Civiqs poll put Biden’s approval rating nationwide at just 30 percent.

In 2020, Democrats wanted Biden to be more visible and prominent with their slates of candidates. Now, hoping the fight over abortion will boost their chances in November by energizing their base, Democrats, at least in the Delaware Valley, won’t say if they will appear with the president.

Biden has endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and pitched his candidacy in Philadelphia to an AFL-CIO convention. Still, Fetterman has not said whether he would welcome a chance to campaign with the president.


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POINT: What Would Founders Think of Dobbs Decision? James Madison Would Love It

For another point of view see “Counterpoint: What Would Founders Think of Dobbs Decision? Not Much”


When the U.S. Constitution was ratified June 21, 1788, the two men most responsible for its success were Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, who, along with John Jay, wrote “The Federalist Papers.”

Four years later, they had markedly different approaches to interpreting the document they helped create.

Hamilton, perhaps because he wanted a national bank that wasn’t mentioned in the Constitution along with an active central government, came to interpret the Constitution as being open-ended: if something isn’t prohibited by the document, it is allowed — or as he and his Federalist friends might have put it, implied.

By contrast, the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, along with friends like Thomas Jefferson, viewed the Constitution as a limiting document: if something is not expressly stated in the Constitution, it is prohibited.

More than two centuries later, the debate between Hamilton and Madison continues to define the two opposing schools of constitutional interpretation. As of June 24, 2022, when the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision was published and Roe v. Wade was overturned, it’s clear Madison won.

One of those schools, and the one that prevailed in the Dobbs decision, is referred to as textualism or, as it is sometimes called, originalism. Madison would have argued for textualism/originalism by describing what we usually do when we look at words and try to figure out their meaning. The textualist/originalist approach first asks judges to apply the text — do what the words say. But it recognizes words can be unclear when applied to varying circumstances. In that event, the originalism part of the approach says to look beyond the words but only to ask what was intended by those who chose — and those who ratified — those words. They can tell you what they meant.

The second school of constitutional interpretation, the Hamilton method, goes beyond limiting rights to what was said and what was intended. This approach, which could be called the Humpty Dumpty school of constitutional interpretation, was best expressed by Humpty himself. You will recall Alice asked him in “Alice in Wonderland” “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” Humpty’s response was that words were not his master. Instead, he said that when he uses a word “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

Now it was conceded by Justice Harry Blackmun in his majority opinion in Roe v. Wade that there were no constitutional words expressly conveying a right to abortion or even any suggestion of an original intent to convey such a right. But, the words were not going to be his master. Instead, he agreed with Humpty Dumpty that it was permissible to shift meanings and invent a constitutional right to an abortion. The lack of an expressed instructional prohibition on abortions was claimed in Roe to permit the finding of a constitutional right to abortion.

It was the Humpty Dumpty logic of Roe v. Wade that led the majority in Dobbs to decide that the question of abortion in our country had a great fall and could not be put together again. Instead, the Dobbs court, recognizing the lack of a constitutional basis for the Roe decision, returned the issue of abortion to the state for legislative resolution.

The Dobbs majority said legislators have to put this together.  James Madison would have approved.


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GIORDANO: Abortion vs. Economy — Which Will Determine PA Gov’s Race?

It is hard to predict the impact of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on the midterms, but Pennsylvania will be in the center ring.

It’s clear that if state Sen. Doug Mastriano wins in November and succeeds Tom Wolf as governor, Pennsylvania will move to significantly restrict abortion rights. If Attorney General Josh Shapiro succeeds Wolf, Republicans in the legislature would have to override his veto for any bills that even slightly restrict abortions to become law.

So, it was interesting to hear Mastriano’s response to the decision. He stated, “Roe v. Wade is rightly relegated to the ash heap of history. As the abortion debate returns to the states, Pennsylvania must be prepared to lead the nation in being a voice for the voiceless.”

This was expected, but he then pivoted to say, “Pennsylvanians will not be distracted by the hysterics of the left as they exploit this ruling to try to fulfill their far-left agenda. As they struggle with all-time record-high inflation, the people care deeply about the price of gas and groceries, as well as out-of-control crime and good-paying jobs –which is exactly why I will prioritize these issues as their governor.”

This is precisely what Mastriano should be saying.

People see skyrocketing food and energy prices every day. On Monday, June 27, the Wall Street Journal reported that inflation is so bad that gas stations now hold up to $175 of your money when you swipe your credit or debit card. Payment networks can lift the hold once the total of gas purchased is determined, but they report holds can take hours or longer to settle. This raises the risk of overdraft penalties if you use a debit card and the potential of eating up credit limits if you use a credit card.

Shapiro doesn’t talk about any of this. This past weekend he was the star at several rallies that aimed to make people believe that the Supreme Court decision had changed abortion rights in Pennsylvania. It is up to Mastriano to stay on message and repeatedly outline how he would open up Pennsylvania’s energy sources and create jobs.

Media coverage will have a lot to do with how Pennsylvania races play out. I strongly object to the Bucks County Courier Times coverage of a rally by abortion-rights advocates in front of the offices of Bucks County Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. First, the paper labeled Fitzpatrick as anti-abortion. They did not label Democrat Ashley Ehasz, his opponent in the November election, as pro-abortion.

Ehasz accused Fitzpatrick of “screwing over” a lot of women in the district due to his abortion stance.

In the wake of the Roe decision, The Philadelphia Inquirer said that Democrats would need to flip twelve seats to gain control of the state House in Harrisburg. They speculate that the Democrats’ best chances are in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

I predict the Inquirer will profile unending numbers of suburban women who usually vote for Republicans to quote them saying this abortion decision is sending them into the voting column of the Democratic Party.

One wild card that might surface to affect the Pennsylvania elections could be the impeachment proceedings against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. This week Republicans will choose a select committee of three Republicans and two Democrats to begin an investigation of Krasner.

I think this issue could surface in the governor’s race. Josh Shapiro has been given expanded power to oversee Krasner’s cases by the legislature. He has chosen not to exercise this power and Philadelphia is a lot worse for that decision.

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