GOP members in Pa. legislature — again — want to throw out your vote

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

It’s been a month since Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump for the presidency — as it turns out by some seven million votes and more than 70 electoral votes, the biggest win by a challenger for the presidency since Franklin Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932.

And yet, too many seem convinced that somehow state legislatures, the U.S. Supreme Court or the Easter Bunny will somehow step in and turn over the election for Trump — even some members of our own state legislature, including one member from Chester County.

They yell “fraud!” They offer specious claims with no evidence — if there was actual evidence, it would have been presented in court, where Republicans and the Trump Campaign are 1-46 as of this writing, the won win allowing observers slightly closer to ballot counting. Worse, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn called for the “suspension” of the U.S. Constitution and for the military to administer a “new” election.

Yup. Really. These guys are using the banana republic playbook, except they don’t have the military or the courts on their side, thankfully.

The basic Republican message is this now: your votes don’t count unless they’re for our candidate.

They don’t like the outcome and are advocating for Trump to be given the presidency, regardless of the facts and regardless of the actual votes.

For a multitude of reasons legal and political, it will not happen. 

Let me repeat that for you: it will not happen.

Even the harebrained attempt Friday by members of the state legislature – including State Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-26) — calling on the Congress to set aside our vote — your vote – and elect Trump anyway is futile. I’ll note Republicans in other states rejected the Trump claims of fraud, but Pennsylvania’s legislative GOP, much like the old Merlino Crime Family, the gang who couldn’t shoot straight, are rushing right in to embrace this stupidity.

Democratic state Senate Leader Jay Costa summed it up this way on Twitter, Friday:

“Any attempt to steal this election away from the winner chosen by voters is an act of sedition. Full stop,” he wrote.

Hard to argue, even if this effort is doomed to fail.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman actually offered something like an explanation of why Republicans are acting like crackheads on Twitter:

“It must be said: it is tough being a Republican and telling the truth about this election. Many officials are even getting death threats — just look at Georgia. Virtually all are threatened with a primary for simply acknowledging that this was a fair, free election.”

Well, maybe, but the Irwin Mainway school of politics is getting pretty damn tiresome.

Continuing to listen to this crap is a lot like finding The Big Bag of Broken Glass under the Christmas Tree.

Pennsylvania’s legislature or the U.S. Congress won’t be reversing the will of the people and changing the electors. The current slate of electors — including Chester County Commissioner Marion Moskowitz — won’t be changing their votes. 

Congress will go through a dog-and-pony show of challenging the results in various states, but will not intercede in the end, Republicans in the U.S. Senate have made that clear.

Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021 and will be president. Trump will have to face his own demons, history and likely, criminal charges.

We know Trump is a self-absorbed egomaniac who won’t stand down, even if convicted of various crimes, he’ll claim he was unjustly convicted and robbed of his “rightful” election — yet another lie. 

The problem is with the enablers, like Rep. Hennessey, who should know better.

Hennessey and his colleagues know that there was no fraud — they’ve presented no evidence. Aside from the lack of evidence, the claims that something happened in Philadelphia and other urban places where people of color vote, literally don’t add up. Biden didn’t do unusually well – in some cases, worse – in urban settings with large minority populations.

You want to know where Trump got his butt kicked? Here. In the suburbs, where educated, white folks basically said, “enough.” He lost Chester County by a whopping 17 points – and no one seems to be claiming fraud here. And it is those votes that Hennessey seeks to void — your vote.

When Hennessey took his oath of office, he pledged to protect and defend the Constitution. Signing this letter is literally trashing the Constitution, trashing democracy and our republic. He should have retired before this election cycle. 

Now? He must resign. Immediately.

Chester County cannot have a representative in Harrisburg who does not respect our fundamental right to vote and select our leaders. 

Hennessey has betrayed all of us and doesn’t deserve the public trust. He must resign.


Meanwhile, COVID-19 is starting to burn through Chester County like a wildfire. the latest numbers show a testing positivity rate of 10.2% for the week of Nov. 27 through Dec. 3, up from 7.9% the week before. We’re seeing about 200 new cases per day now, with an average of 89 people hospitalized in the county this past week.

Still, Chester County is doing better than the rest of the state. More people wear masks and are being careful here. Statewide, we’re averaging 48,000 new cases a week with an eye-popping 14.4% positive test rate statewide. There are counties in the middle of the state — where local and state officials resisted common sense behaviors such as masks and distancing — with positivity rates near 30%.

Thee are really bad numbers — and likely to grow. These numbers do not reflect the likely post-Thanksgiving spike, as people gathered for the holiday despite warnings not to do so.

Already, neighboring counties Delaware and Montgomery are running out of Intensive Care Unit beds in their hospitals. Chester County is likely to have the same issue in the coming weeks.

Honestly, we need more aggressive intervention from state and federal government, but we’re not likely to get it. The state is unlikely to push for a widespread shut down of business — we probably can’t even close restaurants and bars. Alleged pro-business groups in the county continue to scream for steering into the iceberg and we probably will — with the resulting illnesses, deaths and loss of local businesses.

As it begins to better register on people that eating at a restaurant or having a drink at a bar could literally kill them, these businesses will struggle to survive. We need federal intervention — cash – to keep them afloat until the late spring when enough of us will have had the vaccine to make eating and drinking in public safe again.

It seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Those vaccines don’t appear to be ready to bail us out in the coming weeks, as it appears that the Trump Administration is bungling the roll out of the vaccine — yet another mess that the Biden Administration will have to clean up in 2021.

This is not going to end well, but it is going to end. We need to remember those who resisted common-sense solutions that could have made this much more survivable for our county’s residents and small business owners.

Until then, stay safe. Stay home, when you can. Wear a mask and keep as much distance as possible, when you can’t. Don’t travel or host big gatherings for Christmas.

Please. Act like your life and those you love depend upon it. 

Because it does. 

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