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The Stakes Don’t Get Much Higher in November’s election

You might’ve noticed things are a bit “frayed” around here in the U.S. when it comes to minor issues like civil/human rights, election integrity and climate change — to name a few. And it could get much worse if some of the candidates in November’s elections win. How bad? Check out some of their positions later in this piece.

In the meantime, consider this your invitation: If you’re registered to vote, now’s a great time to double-check to make sure you’re still on the rolls. 

If you’re not registered, you might wanna get into the game, because the mid-terms are kind of a big deal for this whole democracy thingy. 

The Undercard

For starters, special elections will be held in Philly’s 7th and 9th districts, to replace City Councilmembers Maria Quiñones Sanchez and Cherelle Parker, who resigned their seats to run for mayor. Philly will also hold special elections for two at-large council seats vacated by Alan Domb and Derek Green. 

The Main Events

1. GOVERNOR: The two heavyweight races on the ballot are for PA governor and the state’s U.S. Senate seat. Both races will have enormous implications for Pennsylvanians and the country. Most immediately, the Republican candidate for governor, Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, carries a breathtaking amount of political baggage, including radical Right-wing views he is whole-heartedly ready to impose upon us all, if elected.  

He’s considered so dangerous that state Republicans formed a PAC to support the Democratic candidate opposing him, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Winning the governorship would allow the Republican Party, which already controls both houses of the state’s legislature, to pass legislation without interference from Democrats. The stakes got much higher after the Supreme Court decision this summer ended the constitutional protection for abortion, passing that authority to the states. 

The Republican-controlled Pennsylvanian state legislature has been hard at work undermining abortion rights. In early July they advanced a potential amendment to restrict abortion which seems certain to pass if they win the governorship.

The picture doesn’t get much better when considering the Republican candidate’s views.

Mastriano embraced and perpetuated Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, going as far as busing Trump supporters to the capitol on January 6, 2021, and crossing police barricades there himself. He is such an extreme candidate that Republican politicians keep popping up to endorse Shapiro, arguing Mastriano is a threat to the rule of law. 

His campaign is being advised by former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, and Mastriano has promised to pick a chief elections officer who’s rejected the outcome of the 2020 election, though he hasn’t provided a name. He said his campaign wants to recruit 20,000 volunteers to station observers at every polling place in November.

Mastriano has proposed sending the state police to round up undocumented immigrants and take them to Biden’s Delaware home; pulling out of a regional pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduce regulations; protect police from “ridiculous social justice warriors” so they won’t be prosecuted for a “split-second decision”; restrict instruction about racism in schools; and reinstate government employees who refused coronavirus vaccines.

The Democratic candidate for governor is the state’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Shapiro has been involved in Pennsylvania politics since 2005 when he was first elected to the state’s House of Representatives. Shapiro is a typical Democrat and his policies – support for abortion, clean energy, and criminal justice reform – are in line with national party politics as well.

2. US SENATE: Lots of fireworks in this race. John Fetterman is a progressive who supported the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders. He supports codifying Roe v. Wade protections, Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, and the legalization of cannabis. Fetterman served as mayor of Braddock, a small steel town in rural Pennsylvania for 13 years.

Dr. Oz supports slashing regulations on the fossil fuel industry to increase domestic energy production. He also supports election security, eradicating cancel culture, and “getting tough on China.” He also holds traditional Republican positions on gun rights, the economy, immigration and abortions. 

On abortion, however, Oz has had to clarify his position after audio from a town hall leaked in May, where he was quoted as saying “Life starts at conception.” He followed with “It’s still murder if you were to terminate a child whether their heart’s beating or not.” The polling numbers in this race have tightened recently, FYI.

Pretty good reasons for making sure you get out and vote. And if you think you’re registered, make sure you are. Too much at stake to find out on election day you’re not eligible. To check your registration status, visit IWILLVOTE.COM/PA where you can also register if it turns out you need to re-up. Deadline for this election is Monday October 24th. 

If you’re planning on voting by mail, Pennsylvania wants us all to remember to use BOTH envelopes — there’s a blank “secrecy” envelope that you seal your ballot in before you put it into the larger envelope that goes into the mailbox or other drop-box. Only votes that are properly submitted will be counted, so make sure you follow directions. If you’ve got any questions, reach out to election officials for Philadelphia county at City Hall (215-686-3469)

Thank you for doing your part for democracy during this critical election for everyone.

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