It seems the Chester County Republican party is starting to worry about Donald Trump.
Whatever resonances the leading R presidential candidate might find in certain other parts of the country, it’s pretty clear that his peculiar combination of the cult of personality and anti-immigrant prejudice won’t play well in Chester County.
A recent email from the Chesco R party is imaginatively entitled “Chester County Republicans! Stop the Out of Touch, Local Democrat Party!” Let’s just see who is out of touch (besides Mr. Trump, of course).
First, let’s note that the email does not reproduce any document as circulated by Chester County Democrats. It actually includes, for unknown reasons, an automatic English translation of a Spanish-language ad plus the original English-language graphic. Not good scholarship; but of course, this is politics.
The “President Trump?” motif, which obviously strikes a local R nerve, has been used in several forms. Here are the text and image as they actually appeared on the CCDC Facebook page, July 30:
ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT THIS!
Don’t kid yourself: it can happen.
If not Trump, then Bush or Walker.
And with a Republican President, we’ll see the repeal of Obamacare, a 20-week abortion ban, the end of the EPA, and war with Iran.
If we’re going to elect Hillary or Bernie next year, we must start right NOW! The Chester County Democratic Party isn’t waiting… and neither should you. If you’ve got some time, we’ve got important work for you to do… starting TODAY!
Please call us at 610-692-5811 or email Victory2016@chescodems.org to join this historic and crucial movement. Thank you!
The Spanish version dubiously rendered in the R email did refer to “a candidate who can continue in the footsteps of Obama.” For anyone who saw that email, the incoherence of the text is explained by the automatic translation, which starts out: “Do not deceive.” Though “Make no mistake” was the original thought, “Do not deceive” seems like good advice.
The email goes on to claim that “The Chester County Republican Committee is increasing its commitment to expanding our big tent and going back to the vision our strongest leaders have had for this country – small government, a strong economy, a leader in foreign policy and national security, and a voice for the middle class.
I’m not sure what “strongest leaders” they refer to, but probably not Democrats Wilson and Roosevelt, who led the country in World Wars I and II.
If Trump and the wall-builders are in the supposed big tent, I fear there isn’t much room there for recent immigrants. If Mike Huckabee is there, there isn’t much room for gays and lesbians. Rick Santorum doesn’t leave much air for working mothers, nor Ted Cruz for people concerned about global warming. And if the Kochs are there, no union workers need apply.
I’m always amazed when Pennsylvania Republicans talk about “small government.” Those are the very politicians who forbade municipalities from setting limits on gun sales (that law was thrown out in court) and who proposed House Bill 809 to prevent municipalities from limiting the number of tenants in a rental unit and the density of student homes.
Historically, the US economy has grown less under R presidents than D ones. The rise of the 1% and the decline of the middle class were engineered by the Reagan policies, the “trickle-down” economic theory, and the ongoing attacks on labor that have caused union membership, and consequently many middle-class salaries, to decline continuously since the early 1980s. The big hit in family net worth came in 2008 as a result of the Great Depression caused by loose government oversight of banks; the disastrous collapse of the Bush-era housing bubble made many middle class families lose part or all of their principal resource, the equity in their homes. Under Obama, unemployment has shrunk below pre-2008 levels and millions of newly insured are no longer one serious illness away from losing their assets and home.
The favorite R foreign and national security policy seems to be military action, as is clear from the calls to return to Iraq, send troops to Syria, and sabotage a nuclear agreement with Iran. But diplomacy is also foreign policy, and the health and welfare of Americans also contribute to national security.
Conversely, the R email claims that “Chester County Democrats want to continue the failed, wasteful programs put forth by President Obama that have crushed small businesses and hurt our middle class families in America.”
Over half of working Americans are employed in small businesses (under 500 employees), so I can’t see anyone being “crushed” right now. Certain tax policies, going back decades, favor multinationals, exporters, and internet vendors; but I don’t see the Chesco R’s calling for change there.
And the R’s don’t choose to mention a host of other important issues of our time, such as:
women’s rights and equal pay for equal work
a path to citizenship for worthy immigrants
reducing gun violence and proliferation, attacks on police, and killings by police
increasing the number of citizens who choose to vote (here’s a good contrast: Gov. Wolf today unveiled online voter registration, the very opposite of the Corbett policy to reduce turnout through voter ID requirements, mercifully tossed out in court)
the perception (or is it reality?) that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has cast elections to the highest bidder
more support for preschool education, job training, and all levels of public education
dealing with the crushing (yes, that word fits here) loan debt borne by many college students long after graduation
reducing economic inequality, including the recent hits to African American and Latino homes and assets; increasing the minimum wage
regulation of banks to prevent further crash and bailout cycles
fighting overincarceration of Americans and the proliferation of profit-making prisons
and the big long-term challenge to humanity: climate disruption, with the resulting record heat waves, water scarcity in many areas, wildfires, and extinctions of vulnerable species now becoming undeniable
Look at the Chesco R website; the issues just aren’t there. The main argument seems to be that Chester County is a great place to live and the Republicans deserve all the credit.
I think Democrats and Independents (who together comprise 55% of Chesco registered voters) and no doubt many R’s too would welcome local debate on those issues. And it would be interesting to hear whether the local Republican leadership disagrees that “with a Republican President, we’ll see the repeal of Obamacare, a 20-week abortion ban, the end of the EPA, and war with Iran.”
All national evidence suggests that those eventualities would come true under a President Trump or any of his 15 rivals for the Republican nomination.