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GIORDANO: Parker’s Primary Victory a Win for Suburbs, Too

If you’re like me, your initial reaction to Cherelle Parker’s big win in Philadelphia’s Democratic Party’s mayoral race is the like the relief people feel when you’re driving and you narrowly miss a collision or the joy you feel when your medical tests come back clear.

Philadelphia dodged the disaster of Helen Gym, the darling of White progressives, becoming mayor. That’s good news for everyone in our area, not just in the city. And I believe Cherelle Parker will be a suburban-friendly mayor who draws suburbanites back to Philadelphia.

Parker started to come on my show about a year ago, and we openly discussed that some of her advisors cautioned against going on my station and talking with me. Listeners bonded with her over her joyous and infectious spirit, her support of restoring quality of life in Philadelphia, and her staunch opposition to safe injection sites.

On the other hand, Helen Gym put out a press release to the media attacking six Democrats who joined me for mayoral debates. The release noted I had said that I’d have to move away from Philadelphia if Gym were elected mayor. I took it as a high honor that the release directed me to “Start packing.”

I believe Parker will reach out to the suburbs because when she served in Harrisburg, she reached across party lines on many big issues. And on my show, she has dispelled the idea Philadelphia can’t work across geographic lines with suburban leaders.

Her approach is important because, even though Helen Gym was defeated, she still had a strong base of support. She did best with White progressives, particularly those making over $100,000 yearly and living in places like Center City and Chestnut Hill. Those people have largely been insulated from the violence plaguing Philadelphia. Those people loved Gym events featuring AOC and Bernie Sanders and touted the money and support Gym got from Jane Fonda.

Parker rolled up huge support from Black and Latino neighborhoods that have suffered under the wildly progressive policies of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. It’s hard to concentrate on the latest chic policies of the merry band of radicals when the bullets are flying.

Even though Parker has the nomination, she will face a quality challenger in Republican nominee David Oh. On my show this week, Oh pushed back on Parker’s apparent support for an arena that the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers want to build on Market Street. He also opposes her call for constitutional stop-and-frisk stops by the Philadelphia Police. Oh feels these stops are overreach by the government, and he plans to link that position to the theme of overreach by Philadelphia’s city government.

In addition to the Philadelphia races, there were two big developments in suburban races. Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale was defeated by two Republican Party candidates endorsed by the Montgomery County GOP. Liz Preate Havey, former chairperson for Republicans in Montco, told me the endorsement sealed the defeat of Gale and that going forward, the Republican State Committee should endorse candidates in primaries to head off candidates like Doug Mastriano, who Josh Shapiro destroyed in the recent governor’s race.

The special election held in Delaware County held to fill the position of former state Rep. Mike Zabel showed how ineffectual the Delco Republicans are and how abortion is a critical issue. Democrats spent more than a million dollars to defeat Republican Katie Ford. And even though she told me that women should have the right to choose, Democrats relentlessly portrayed her as the vote that would restore Republicans to power in the House in Harrisburg and then take away all abortion rights in Pennsylvania.

The bottom line from this week is Philadelphia showed signs of sanity, and it’s good for our region.

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As She Leads in Latest Poll, Locals Ask: What Would Mayor Gym Mean for Suburbs?

A recent poll shows that Helen Gym is ahead of the field — slightly.  What would a Philadelphia mayor who is an unapologetic progressive mean to the businesses and families in the suburbs?

The Emerson College/PHL17 Poll has “Gym at 21 percent, followed by Cherelle Parker with 18 percent, Rebecca Rhynhart with 18 percent, and Allan Domb with 14 percent. Jeff Brown trails with 10 percent.” The poll showed that 15 percent were undecided less than a week from Election Day (May 16).

“When these voters are asked which candidate they lean towards, and that is added to their total support, Gym’s support increases to 23 percent, Parker to 21 percent, Rhynhart to 20 percent, and Domb to 17 percent,” the poll stated.

“This is an exciting race where there is no clear frontrunner,” said  Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling. “The top four candidates are within the poll’s margin of error and could receive the most votes depending on demographic turnout.”

Gym could win the Democratic nomination with fewer than a third of the electorate because so many candidates are running and dividing up the vote totals. And with a 7-1 Democratic voter registration, the Democratic nominee will likely be the next mayor, barring a major upset. Republican David Oh, a former city councilman, is unopposed in the GOP primary.

“Like many Chester County voters, I am concerned about the rising crime in Philadelphia and its spread to the suburbs. As I write this, Helen Gym is holding a campaign rally with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, which tells me everything I need to know about whether she will hold criminals accountable. There’s only one candidate in the Philadelphia mayoral race that I trust to make the city and its suburbs safer, and that is City Councilman David Oh,” said Eric Roe, a former Pennsylvania state representative and candidate for Chester County Commissioner.

Guy Ciarrocchi, former president of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, said, “I think the big unspoken and unwritten story is the number of businesses making plans to close or relocate to the suburbs. Almost no one will talk on the record, nor will the chamber or other business leaders.  How many chose to close matters, and how many relocate to the suburbs matters. And in my opinion, it’s no victory when a major employer leaves center city or Port Richmond and relocates to King of Prussia.

“But the issue is that many are preparing for the worst—higher taxes, increased crime with little or no consequences, and underperforming schools.”

Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County Republicans, believes a Gym mayoralty will not be good for the suburbs or the city.

“I think she’s very progressive, further left than Mayor Kenney.” Poprik said, noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came to rally with Gym on Sunday.

Gym tweeted: “I am honored to stand with two of the most inspiring political leaders and fiercest fighters for working people. The eyes of the nation are on Philadelphia because we are going to make history this Tuesday.”

Sanders tweeted: LIVE from PHILADELPHIA: Join @aoc  and me as we rally to make @HelenGymPHL – a true fighter for the working class – the next mayor of Philadelphia!”

And AOC retweeted Gym: “Everything must change. On Tuesday, vote for courage and transformation. This is our moment to build a Philadelphia where public schools are strong, communities are safe, workers are protected, and young people have a future to believe in. We get the city we fight for.”

Poprik says this is the wrong message for suburbanites who are increasingly concerned about the state of the city.

“That doesn’t bode well for the city. Bucks Countians don’t want to go there. You don’t feel safe there,” Poprik said. And that will only get worse if Gym takes over and drives more left-wing policies. “Philly has so many problems that could bleed into our counties,” she said. More Philadelphia residents will move to the suburbs. “They’re fleeing California (because of progressivism),” she said.

“It’s too much,” she said. “It’s out of control. I don’t think it’s best for the city to have somebody that liberal.”


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JENKINS-DALLAS: Hispanic Red Wave Coming

“I am leaving; you took me for granted too long.” These are words you might hear between two people separating in a relationship. In actuality, it is what Hispanics are saying to the Democratic Party. And a more fitting quote would be, “Stop trying to control me.”

Everyone is asking why are so many Hispanics are fleeing the Democratic Party. The answer is simple. Hispanics are conservative. We stand by our faith, we love our families, and we love our country. We are passionate and proud people. We “woke” up to the fact that Democrats are trying to reinvent everything valuable to us.

The next question is, “Is there a Hispanic red wave truly?” We are hearing it straight from their mouth. NRSC Chairman Sen. Rick Scott launched the Hispanic Battleground Survey in 2021. Over 1,200 likely Hispanic voters of all parties revealed that a majority reject Democratic policies regarding socialism, lack of opportunity, voter ID ban, and immigration. They don’t want men in their daughter’s locker rooms. Yet Democrats assume Hispanics are with them. Maybe yesterday, but not today!

Even on a more personal level, as the executive director of the Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania (HRCP), I have had the privilege of working with the NRSC Regional Director Josie Hill on this year’s project called Operation Vamos.

I have spoken to several hundred Democrats and they tell me overwhelmingly that they think President Joe Biden is not doing a good job. They are voting Republican. One lady I spoke to was getting her hair braided on her porch. With frustration, she threw her hands in the air and said, “We don’t have any money, gas costs too much. I’m voting for who is going to help me.” These are voters!

According to community leader David Torres, Hispanic voters in Philadelphia are vocal about what they want and don’t want.

“They don’t want more politicians coming into their neighborhoods promising great ideas, asking for their vote, and then leaving until the next election,” he said.

This abandonment is an excellent example of what I meant when I said, “You took me for granted for too long.” Do Democrats still believe Hispanics will vote for them when Philadelphia’s inundation of violent crime makes everyone fear for their lives? Torres also mentioned that “there is no opportunity in city government for Hispanics, but they want our votes.”

We still have diehards like my Abuela (grandmother), who will not switch parties. She would never consider changing her registration from Democrat. She will kick you out of her house if you try to convince her, but she will vote conservative. Slowly, Hispanics are understanding that the Democratic Party isn’t what we remember it to be; it has “progressed” into something that we do not accept.

Before we say goodbye, we have to discuss being called a taco by Dr. Jill Biden. If for no other reason, we have pride. We are more than tacos. I eat rice and beans more than I eat tacos. Now that is the most racist statement coming from a Democrat. Hispanics are ambitious, hard-working, and loyal, and we vote!

Our organization, HRCP, will continue the mission to engage with Hispanic voters across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to register as Republicans. We will strive to make Pennsylvania a Red state again. Our message is simple, “the Republican Party wants what the voters want: higher quality of life and less government. With your support, we are creating the next generation of Republican voters — and we will impact elections from Congress to the governor’s race.”

We have a great team of individuals with experience running campaigns and a political strategist.

If we continue to write these stories, point out real-life issues, and pick up where the Democrats have failed, we will ride this wave to the shorelines of victory. We have a new relationship to embrace.

Vote Republican on Tuesday, November 8.


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GIORDANO: Progressive Politics Promote Attacks on Asian-American Girls

My interview with Philadelphia City Councilmember David Oh last Thursday showed how important it is for different voices to be heard, despite the thousands of news media people in the Delaware Valley.

First, Oh told us well ahead of the news curve that the African American girls filmed attacking Asian students on a SEPTA train in Philadelphia actually had assaulted the same students on a SEPTA train the day before. This attack just happened to be filmed and be more intense.

More importantly, as I broadened the conversation, Oh brought up the narrative about Asian- Americans that he thinks pervades much of progressive thought in Philadelphia. He said, “It takes the form of the rewriting of American history.” It involves portraying Asian Americans as reaping the benefits of the civil rights movement without ever having suffered true discrimination. Oh, even launched the idea that those that want to justify their view of America as a racist country must allege that Asian-Americans are mostly recent arrivals to our country and benefit from special programs that give them an edge.

He also referenced the fact that a Philadelphia ordinance forcing businesses in certain areas to close at 11 p. m. was mainly aimed at Chinese takeout restaurants. There has been a lot of tension between Asian store owners and some African American leaders in Philadelphia around the issue of many Asian American-run businesses serving customers behind bulletproof glass. In fact, Councilmember Cindy Bass, who represents the area in which I live, debated me on this issue on my show and a few times inside some of the businesses.

There is also a good deal of tension around a Philadelphia School District initiative to remove grades and test scores to get into the district’s magnet schools and replace them with a lottery system. That was aimed not just at White students, but also Asian students who are extremely well represented in these schools.

Media outlets that have tried to make some sense of the vicious attacks we saw in the SEPTA film suggested it is part of ongoing attacks against Asian Americans due to people like former President Donald Trump and many conservative leaders calling COVID-19 the Wuhan virus and attributing its origination to a lab in Wuhan.

I see no evidence of that theory in this attack. I believe it stems from the resentment created on a daily basis from the issues that Oh and I discussed. Progressives have even labeled this minority group “White adjacent” as a way of explaining the stunning success of many Asian Americans.

Councilmember Helen Gym, who is also Asian American, the progressive darling in Philadelphia and one of the frontrunners to be the next mayor, rejects my commonsense theory around these attacks and told WHYY News, “It’s heart wrenching to see young people at such a young age harming one another. But I will underscore time and again that they are witnessing violence at an unprecedented level across our city, and we are not doing nearly enough for children right now in helping them deal with the trauma and harm that has been caused to them.”

So, this trauma theory explains this very specific targeting that we saw play out? No, it does not! I believe those students were targeted because of the resentment built up over the years against Asian Americans in Philadelphia fueled by conspiracy theories and stereotypes. As a practical matter, those girls also seemed to believe the targeted students wouldn’t fight back.

It’s time that we fight back by demanding that the accurate history of Asian Americans be included in the public school instruction in Philadelphia and by calling out any public leaders or elected officials who continue to articulate stereotypes against Asian Americans.

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DelVal Dem Stalwarts Face Challengers on Their Left Flank

Is Pennsylvania’s Democratic establishment in for a rude a-“woke”-ening?

Although the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, left-wing candidates are targeting Democratic incumbents in some Delaware Valley districts, arguing those Democrats are not progressive enough. Races that once attracted relatively little competition are heating up.

Political newcomer and schoolteacher Paul Prescod is squaring off against state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams in the 8th Senate District. Tarik Khan, a nurse, is challenging state Rep. Pam DeLissio in the 194th House District. Those districts include parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, as well as Philadelphia.

First-time candidates Prescod and Khan have been involved with far-left activist groups like the Democratic Socialists of America and Reclaim Philly. They’re hoping to follow the path of progressives like state Sen. Nikil Saval and state Rep. Chris Rabb, who defeated more moderate and establishment candidates.

Prescod, who is likely to portray his opponent as a moderate, “centrist” Democrat, is a Temple graduate and has taught in Philadelphia’s public school system for the last five years. He will likely hammer away at Williams’ support for charter schools and private school voucher programs.

Williams’ previous acceptance of donations from groups backing charter schools has been described as “monolithic” and could make for campaign fodder for left-leaning voters. In a recent interview with the Delaware Valley Journal, Prescod painted a grim portrait of deteriorating conditions inside some of the schools where he and colleagues teach, noting issues with mold, asbestos, and rodents.

“The buildings aren’t fit for human beings. We need more people who come out of ordinary backgrounds,” the 30-year-old Prescod said. “We need a change in leadership and, really, a big change in direction.”

Incumbent Williams, who has a family history of public service — he took over his father’s seats in both the state House and Senate — expected attacks on his stance on charter schools. And he rejects the notion that he’s somehow not left-leaning enough for his district.

He said he’s championed progressive causes like police accountability and systemic racism for years. But now newcomers from the left tout them “like they just discovered Plymouth Rock,” Williams, who says he has helped groom a generation of younger politicians, noting he has largely bucked the party-machine structure while in office.

“I’m not gonna be put in a box,” Williams said. “I’m not a moderate. I’m a left-leaning Democrat. I’ve been at the vanguard of these issues. ..I don’t know if that’s moderate. I don’t know if that’s conservative. I don’t know if that’s progressive. I just know that’s results.”

Prescod isn’t backing off. He hopes to garner support from progressive groups and has already landed endorsements from three labor unions. And he said his “bread and butter” campaign has lined up more than 600 donations so far. Prescod is eager to test whether Williams’ base is really as big and as strong as believed.

“I really try to focus on issues that have broad support. Actually making material improvements to a majority of people’s lives, that’s really what it comes down to. I think there’s been a lot of hunger for change,” he said, citing other progressives’ wins. “It’s been the same person or the same family for so long.”

Williams is proud of his family roots but stresses he has earned his way. He points to his track record and the lack of competition in previous primaries as showing he is doing a solid job for constituents.

”My [staying power] has always been consistency,” Williams said. “It’s not just say something, it’s doing something.”

In the 194th House District race, incumbent DeLissio is being challenged by Khan, a nurse and Reclaim member. The district includes parts of Northwest Philadelphia and Montgomery County, which DeLissio has represented since being first elected in 2010.

Over the years, people announced they were primarying DeLissio only to later withdraw. Barring unforeseen changes, this is the first time she will have faced an interparty challenger since 2016 when she handily defeated Sean Stevens with more than three-quarters of the vote.

“I’m doing my job as I always do my job whether there’s a challenger or not,” DeLissio told DVJournal Wednesday.

The 42-year-old political neophyte Khan said his experiences helping vulnerable and underserved people as a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic made him feel like the district needs a “healthcare champion in the House.” He recalled the “fear in the eyes” of first responders who came for coronavirus tests at Citizens Bank Park last year, in the early months of the pandemic. Later, he spent his days off delivering vaccinations to homebound patients.

Progressivism means “actually getting things done and fighting for issues that are central to our future,” he said.

“If I didn’t feel like I would be a better leader, I wouldn’t have run,” Khan said. “A lot of it’s showing up and listening to people.”

DeLisso says she believes the hundreds of town hall meetings she has held during her time in office are the “cornerstones” of being an effective leader and having an informed electorate.

“My goal isn’t to make your eyes glaze over. It’s to acknowledge their power,” she said. “If that isn’t the most progressive approach to governing, I don’t know what is.”

DeLissio also touts her ability to reach across an increasingly hostile aisle in this fractious divisive climate, knowing sometimes she’ll get slammed by those who adhere to party lines.

“If we don’t do that, what happens in that void is unthinkable,” she said. “What we’ll have is two extreme sides. They’ll be loud, but it won’t be effective. The alternative is very scary.”

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