Lt. Gov. John Fetterman talks about his record as Mayor of Braddock and as Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania to a crowd of hundreds of supporters before heading into his campaign message for Philadelphians during a rally campaign in NW Philadelphia, PA, on September 24, 2022. (Cory Clark/Sipa USA)PHILADELPHIA – For the last two-years, talking heads in the mainstream media and those in the far-right cable news and Podosphere have been telling us that Republicans were going to have a “Red Wave.” They’ve been telling us, “The Storm is coming.” Even with widespread gerrymandering and sweeping voter suppression efforts in red states, “The Storm,” it turns out, is little more than a “Red Drizzle,” especially in Pennsylvania.
We did our job in Pennsylvania, particularly in Philadelphia, and we are reaping the reward for all the hard work the candidates, organizers, and voters put in. Josh Shapiro destroyed Doug Mastriano by 14 points, chipping away at Republican domination in rural counties and turning out black and brown voters in urban and suburban centers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh but also picking up votes in counties like Erie, Centre, and Luzerne.
“No matter where you come from, who you love, who you pray to, you are valued here in Pennsylvania, and we hear you,” Josh Shapiro told his supporters during his victory speech. “Tonight, you, the good people of Pennsylvania, you won. Opportunity won. A woman’s right to choose won. Your right to organize in Pennsylvania? That won. Your right to vote won. And in the face of all the lies, conspiracies, and baseless claims, you also ensured tonight that truth won right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
John Fetterman’s lead wasn’t as significant as Shapiro’s, but it is awe-inspiring, given he had a stroke in the middle of his campaign. The Dr. Oz vote was split, with at least some of those who voted for the Jersey resident also voting for Shapiro.
“I never expected that we were going to turn these red counties blue, but we did what we needed to do, and we had those conversations across every one of these counties,” a teary-eyed and humbled Fetterman told his supporters. “And tonight, that’s why I’ll be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.”
“This campaign has always been for every person who has been knocked down and gotten back up,” Fetterman told his supporters. “This race is for the future of every community all across Pennsylvania. For every small town or person that ever felt left behind. For every job that’s ever been lost. For every factory that was ever closed. For every person that works hard but never gets ahead. I’m proud of what we ran on.”
Philadelphia Democrats Swept the four open seats on City Council. Quetcy Lozada will represent portions of North Philly and Kensington, and Anthony Phillips will lead parts of Northwest and North Philly, replacing Cherelle Parker. Sharon Vaughn and Jimmy Harrity will take over the open at-large seats.
Republicans tried to make these races about crime in Philadelphia and inflation. While these were important issues, democrats largely failed to message these issues properly. Pennsylvania democratic candidates’ progressive messaging on economic issues and criminal justice reduced the power of the Republican messaging machine on these issues even as establishment democratic messaging floundered on these critical issues Democrats should have leaned into or at least gotten in front on.
The Progressive slate of candidates in PA brought their economic populist message not just to traditional urban and suburban portions of the state but out into rural areas. They connected with people and communities across the state by speaking to the issues they were facing in a way that resonated with them. Candidates took the complaints of the right-wing media and Republicans and told Pennsylvanians what they wanted to do about it. They got behind popular positions like Medicare For All, housing, and a 15-dollar minimum wage. They also ensured they were on the right side of other popular issues like marijuana legalization, abortion, and gun reform, vowing to do what it took to get these things done for the people, even if it meant ending the filibuster.
“This election was about more than any single candidate or issue,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “It was an existential uprising from voters who want Democrats to go bigger in protecting fundamental rights, voting rights, abortion rights, economic rights, and the right to exist.”
While the fate of the U.S. Senate is still up for grabs as we wait on Arizona, Nevada, and the runoff in Georgia, Republicans taking the U.S. House was essentially a foregone conclusion. The question was how big of a majority they were going to have.
✅History made https://t.co/dw54MmozRs
— Summer Lee (@SummerForPA) November 9, 2022
It was progressives that ensured the new Republican majority would be a slim one at best. Candidates like Summer Lee in the 12th District, who became the first Black woman from PA elected to congress, making history two years ago by becoming the first Black woman elected to the state House in the same region, took the steam out of Republicans take over in the House.
Progressives could help Democrats take control of the state house for the first time in ten years. With crucial victories in the suburbs, they’ve already flipped at least 11 seats previously held by Republicans, but they must win all three still uncalled districts.
If they pull off this hat trick and take control of the state house, Philly state Rep. Joanna McClinton would become the first Black woman House Speaker in Pennsylvania history. It would also mean fewer bills that need to be vetoed by newly elected Gov. Josh Shapiro, and it would stop state GOP attempts to amend the Constitution like SB 106.
SB 106 will be on the ballot in the spring if they fail to overcome these last few hurdles and win the state House. It would state that there is no state constitutional protection for abortion, restrict the Govoners ability to make state regulations, and affect voting rights for Pennsylvanians.
Progressives didn’t just win in Pennsylvania. Large in part, they beat back hate, stupidity, and madness up and down the ballot and across the country. They turned what should have been, by most indicators, a monstrous Red Wave into nothing more than a Red Drizzle, and they grew their base within the halls of power while doing it.
“Healthcare is a fundamental human right,” Fetterman told a cheering crowd. “It saved my life, and it should all be there for you when you ever should need it.”
The youth, women, primarily black and Latinx women, drove these wins, just like they did in 2018 and 2020. The youth vote is a growing block within the base of the Democratic Party and is deeply progressive. Democrats would do well to listen to them rather than dismissing their concerns and ideas; they are the future, after all.
“This sends a clear message and roadmap; that going into 2024, Democrats must lean into the popularity of the progressive platform, not write it off,” said Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution. “With progressives growing their margins in Congress, regardless of the outcome of the remaining uncalled races, Democrats need to take note of the powerfully fought and won campaigns, driven by progressive ideals, that galvanized voters.”