As the Big Lie unravels, the PA GOP looks pretty bad

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

We might just be at a tipping point when it comes to The Big Lie.

Never mind the facts that Donald Trump lost the national race by somewhere around seven million votes and lost a solid margin in the Electoral College. And forget for a second, that Trump lost Pennsylvania to Joe Biden by about 80,000 votes in an election that has had multiple checks and audits to assure there was virtually not fraud or error and not anywhere near enough to change the result. 

A combination of lunatics and opportunists have fostered Trump’s fantasy that he did not get his butt kicked — and lost the 2020 election in states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin. 

Recent ranting about “routers” is beyond idiotic — the routers contain virtually no information and most of that is device (MAC) addresses. They are much like the router used to access the Internet in your home, except these boxes never connect to the Internet, but rather allow voting equipment to communicate with each other.

This fraud — not the election, but the fake claims about the election — have already cost the taxpayers of Arizona some $9 million and been nothing short of a gross embarrassment.

Pennsylvania has its own “audit” advocate: state Sen. Doug Mastriano — a would-be gubernatorial candidate (and likely the one Democrat Josh Shapiro quietly prays will win the GOP nomination).

Mastriano sent a letter earlier this summer demanding that election officials send all election materials from York, Tioga and Philadelphia. York’s GOP Board of Commissioners flat out said no. Tioga’s Commissioners said, sure, if you pay for them and make sure we have replacements by Aug. 20, both of which are functionally impossible for Mastriano.

Philly? You even had to ask? Flat no.

While most GOP legislative leaders have sheepishly gone along with this fraud — God forbid they make Trump mad or he might trash them in one of his ranting, semi-unintelligible statements — it looks like Mastriano is getting a serious challenge within his own party calling him up on his BS. 

State Sen. Dan Laughlin, who also has eyes on running for governor, called out Mastriano in an Op/Ed.

Laughlin correctly points out the GOP — besides Trump — actually had a really good year in 2020 which makes the premise of massive voter fraud kind of laughable.

“Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes. Republicans won the state House and Senate because we had a better message.

“What message will people take from someone trying to pry open voting machines and rummage through already counted ballots while employing statistical tricks to argue that the 2020 election was a fraud?”

For the 8,000th time, despite literally insane claims by some elected officials and some TV talking heads, Trump lost Pennsylvania because he got his butt kicked in the Philadelphia suburbs, not from any cheating in Philadelphia (Trump did better in Philly in 2020 than he did in against Hillary Clinton in 2016). And yet, Mastriano and others are using this lie to raise money and their political profile. It is greed and ambition pushing them to lie, no matter how much damage it does to our democracy.

Things have gotten so out of hand that packs of people have gone door to door in York County, demanding that Democrats reveal who they voted for in 2020. That’s massively illegal voter intimidation — and kind of stupid, knowing how many guns are in the wilds of Pennsylvania. If someone comes to your door asking how you voted, tell them to get lost and call local police.

The U.S. Justice Department is starting to weigh in — noting some of the crap going on is probably illegal and may face criminal penalties.

Mastriano — who seems to lack political instincts, a moral compass or common sense — might want to sit down. As it is, I’m not sure that his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — the attack on the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the vote certifying the presidential election — is entirely clear. We know he paid for a bus that brought some of the rioters. 

We know, based on still and video footage, that he breached the police lines. He claims not to have been inside the building, but much of the footage of that day has yet to be processed. At minimum, he aided and abetted a rebellion against the United States of America, at worst, he participated. I personally don’t think he belongs in the state Senate, let alone run for higher office, having clearly violated his oath of office.

Based on information that came out Friday, Mastriano was one of the sources to Trump pushing the fiction of “more votes that voters” which has been completely debunked.

The truth is coming out and reflects very poorly on Pennsylvania Republicans.

You may want to let them know how you feel about all this, come this fall on Election Day.


There’s a lot of panicked headlines right about COVID, but it is very important to put all of it in perspective, especially in Chester County.

Yes, because of the Delta Variant, things are bad in states and counties that did a poor job of getting vaccinated. This variant is much more communicable than the original version and the early variants.

If you’re not vaccinated.

These are the key words.

Despite the headlines, the fact of the matter is that if you’ve had the shot you are still very unlikely to get the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “breakthrough” cases happen in 0.098% of people who are fully vaccinated.

When it comes to Chester County, we’ve seen massive adoption of the vaccine, something beyond 90% of those of 18 having gotten the shots here. As we continue to vaccinate those in the 12-17 age group, we continue to get better protection as a community every day.

In short — we wore masks when we were asked to do so. We lined up to get out shots when it was time.

Yes, because we’re not in a bubble and other parts of the state and regions are populated by those who defy science and common sense, we’re seeing a small uptick in cases from Delta. 

It’s nothing like what states in the south are seeing. 

While the CDC is recommending indoor masking in many parts of the nation, it is not doing so here in Chester County; that being said, I won’t blame anyone who feels like masking up again for the time being indoors in public is the safe route.

Still, if you’re among the small number of people in the county who can get the shot, but haven’t — you need to think hard about getting it, as Delta seems to be doing a good job of finding those without protection.

If the behavior of Delta remains consistent, the data from India suggests this outbreak will begin to wane around Labor Day and we should be able to ease back into a more relaxed posture.

It is fair to worry that additional, regional outbreaks will be an issue this fall and winter, but it is extremely unlikely that we’ll see the lockdowns of 2020 returning.

As vaccination rates increase — and it looks like kids 5-11 may be able to get shots this fall — the virus will have less and less opportunities to replicate and spread. And yes, we may need to get a third shot, even if the science on that issue remains a bit divided.

The fight again COVID is going to be a long, frustrating slog. But we’re winning, even as we’re seeing setbacks, nationally. Chester County is an example of how it could be nationally — instead of being being a deadly menace, we can reduce COVID to a nuisance.

Pat yourself on the back, Chester County. You’ve earned it.

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