Yudichak’s Switch, 2019 Elections Complete Pennsylvania’s 2016 Re-Alignment

The New State of Play

Yesterday, State Senator John Yudichak (I-14th) switched parties in the Pennsylvania Senate, changing the partisan balance from 26-23 to 27-22. Democrats had high hopes hope of picking up the State Senate for the first time in 26 years next year, but that was when they only needed two seats to flip the chamber. Now they need three seats, which is just about the limit to what is truly possible in 2020. The obvious repercussion to this is that Republicans are more likely to control re-districting in the chamber than they were, which could change the odds of Democrats winning the chamber back in 2022 as well.

There was really no shock, just mild surprise, when Yudichak made the announcement. The timing doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but the announcement itself looked like it was coming for a while. From his early career disagreements with Congressman Paul Kanjorski, to his later dislike of former PA House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, to his more recent strong disagreements with Governor Tom Wolf and more liberal Senate members from the Southeast part of the Commonwealth, Senator Yudichak has always kind of been a man of his own mind. He’s also been pretty popular over the years though, beating the former Mayor of Wilkes-Barre in the 2010 primary to get to this seat, and most recently facing no primary or general election opponent to retain his seat as a Democrat in 2018. He’s triangulated against the more liberal wing of the party to continue winning as Luzerne and Carbon Counties moved right, and there’s not much reason to believe the general public in that district will suddenly hate him.

There’s something else at work here though- the continuing trend of districts President Trump won moving increasingly red, and districts Secretary Clinton won in 2016 moving blue. The Republicans are on their way to wiping out in Southeastern PA, where they lost the bulk of the seats they held for a generation prior to Trump. On the flip side Western PA outside of Allegheny County is pretty much completely flipped to the GOP at this point. We’re rapidly approaching the point where there aren’t any moderates winning districts that lean away from their party.

Our 2019 election results suggest that we’re reaching the point of peak partisan polarization. At this point, the Republican Party controls the county commissioner board (or equivalent) in all but three counties that President Trump won. The Democratic Party controls the county commissioner board (or equivalent) in every county Secretary Clinton won but one. In other words, we’re beginning to see a strong connection in Pennsylvania between Presidential election voting and voting all the way down to county elections, in odd number years. There’s basically no difference anymore.

We’re seeing the completion of the 2016 election trends. The Republican Party is almost extinct in Southeast PA. The Democratic Party is basically extinct in Western PA, “the T,” and in much of Northeastern PA. This is not going to increase the incentive for either party to compromise and behave more moderately. If anything, we’re seeing it continue towards the opposite.

0- Election Day

I was in an odd place on Election Night of 2002. I was suffering from mono, and had just decided to not try to return to running track and field or cross-country once cleared. I wasn’t playing the drums anymore, and was only about 20 months removed from my last wrestling bout (a 15-0 win), after 11 years in that sport. At that time, I was simply a young political science major, driven mostly by my opposition to the Iraq War and my support for the working class and unionized labor. I had no idea that politics would replace sports and music as the central meaning in my life yet, or the places it would take me. I thought I was majoring in political science at that time as a pathway to law school, not to be heading into 2020 still working on campaigns, but life doesn’t ask permission when moving you in a direction.

What I wouldn’t give to be back on a wrestling mat today, or run down that windy back-stretch on Easton’s track, or jam out on my drum set for a jazz band competition. All of those things once defined me as a person, and their fading from my life is part of why I am where I am this morning- running a regional boiler room, over-seeing the Charlotte area for the Democratic Party. Politics has taken me all over the place, and let me see places and things I never would have expected to see. I’ve managed Congressional, county and State legislative races, been a statewide field director, run a statewide early and absentee vote program, and of course been a regional field director. I’ve worked for members of the progressive caucus in Congress, and downright conservative Democrats. I’ve been exposed to people, places, ideas, and issues that I never would have seen otherwise. Politics has come to re-define who I am, what I am, and how I see the world. It truly filled the voids I previously left.

Father Time is not my friend though. If I want to retire at 65, I need to start moving in that direction sometime soon. Politics, and yes the Democratic Party, have changed a lot since I was a 19 year old intern for the PA Dems coordinated campaign. I don’t honestly know how I feel about it, if I’m honest. It’s not what I signed up for as an anti-war, pro-union youth. At the same time, these values are who I am now, at this point.

I’m not sure how many of today’s I have left. Let’s hope this is enjoyable.


GOTV is not a place or time for intellectual thought- you just do it. You do your job, as instructed, and just hope it works out. Freelancers who try to do their own thing and be heroes usually end up doing more harm than good. It’s a place for people who are orderly and follow directions. I find that Democrats aren’t so hot at that.


By 11pm tonight, one of two narratives will take hold:

  1. Democratic passion and enthusiasm, buoyed by anti-Trump fever, swept the nation up in a Blue Wave that at a minimum flipped the House, and maybe more. I also imagine that inside of this narrative will be a sub-story on whether “Berniecrat” lefties or mainstream, establishment figures lead the way, which will shape the opening salvos and days of the 2020 Election.
  2. Donald Trump’s stark rhetoric, his barnstorming schedule, and the awakening of the right-wing over Brett Kavanaugh’s “treatment” by Democrats stoked Republican enthusiasm to perform better than expected. Trump’s tough talk on immigration and Republican tough rhetoric against Democratic candidates in Georgia, Florida, and more saved the day. While many races were tight, Republicans held on in Republican seats. Donald Trump looks nearly impossible to beat.

For what it’s worth, be careful to not over buy on either story. The Democratic “Resistance” of these past two years may or may not work in a mid-term, in which Donald Trump is not actually on the ballot. Either way, that doesn’t mean you should conclude the same for 2020, when the Democrats will have to pick an actual person to run against him.


Just to make things clear, on no other level has the national political environment helped Democrats as much as the U.S. Senate. We are not talking much today about normally swing state seats like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Virginia. If Hillary had won in 2016, all would be in serious danger today. Even so, the road to winning a majority is brutally hard tonight. Democrats must:

  • Win tough races they currently lead in West Virginia, Indiana, and Montana.
  • Win at least one, if not two of Florida, Missouri, and North Dakota, all of which are within a point leads or much worse.
  • Pick up at least three of Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas, all of which are razor close.
  • Get Mississippi to a run-off and hope Republicans pick a nut, if they fall short on any of the above.

To be clear, it’s possible that Republicans pick up like five seats, and Democrats get none of their pick-ups. A 56-44 GOP Senate could happen. By the same token, so could a 53-47 Democratic Senate. Neither seems likely. I still would expect the GOP to hold the Senate with 50-53 seats after this election. That, by the way, is not a bad outcome for the Democrats, relative to where they started the cycle.


I don’t want to start 2020 before it needs to, but it’s worth noting- not many of the Democratic leading candidates are being invited into swing districts to close. You see some Barack Obama. You see some Joe Biden. You do see some Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, the occasional Elizabeth Warren, and a few others in blue areas to try and bump turnout, but you don’t see them going much to PA-10, NC-9, or any other moderate district we need to win the House. For the most part, this tells me that our field doesn’t have a broad enough audience to win the electoral college in 2020. A majority party that wins elections can win electorates that aren’t fully ideologically aligned with them, especially against a polarizing figure like Donald Trump.

Just saying.


If Democrats win back the House tonight as expected, it’s important to remember all the points on the road to this victory, beginning with Donald Trump’s victory speech in the early hours of November 9th, 2016 in New York. There was the GOP’s decision to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court striking down their Congressional map and putting their own fair map in place, the GOP pushing through two conservative judges after blocking Judge Garland, Charlottesville, Parkland, many Trump statements, Connor Lamb’s victory, and of course the tax cuts, to name a few moments.

When you watch tonight though, there are some key areas of the country to watch. The Philadelphia, Miami, and San Diego media markets look ripe for big Democratic gains. California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida all look like states where major gains are happening.

What are some districts that Democrats have to win? PA-5, 6, 7, 17, CA-49, NJ-2, 11, AZ-2, CO-6, FL-27, IA-1, IL-6, KS-3, MI-11, MN-2, 3, VA-10, WA-8. These 18 seats are prime pick-ups.

What are the toss-ups that Democrats need to win some of to win back the House? CA-10, 25, 39, 45, 48, FL-15, 26, GA-6, IA-3, IL-14, KS-2, KY-6, ME-2, MI-8, NC-9, 13, NJ-3, 7, NM-2, NY-19, 22, OH-12, PA-1, 10, TX-7, 32, UT-4, VA-2, 7. These 29 seats are where Democrats would tip the House and build their margin.

What seats would signal a huge Democratic wave? There are actually 56 additional GOP seats in their likely or leaning camps, which the Cook political report is still tracking. I can tell you for a fact that at least a couple of these seats are firmly in play after early voting. All told 103 Republicans are waking up in danger today. 80 of them could win, and they would still possibly lose the House. Remember, the Democrats are flat out favored to take 18 of these seats.


Down here in Charlotte this cycle, things have been eventful. My region has five state House races, all pick-up opportunities. It has two State Senate seats, also pick-ups. We also are doing GOTV for NC-9 on the Congressional level, a pick-up opportunity. It’s nice playing all offense, for a change. I expect us to pick up a State House seat or two, a State Senate seat, and possibly a Congressional seat tonight (though that will be tight). If things go well though, we could easily pick up much more than that. If you’re watching at home, you should keep an eye on HD’s 68, 98, 103, 104, and 105, SD’s 39 and 41, and CD 9.

Back up home, the only work I did for the general was PA HD-121. I have more than a passing interest in PA-115 (did work there last cycle) and 137 (my home district, I tried to push some personal capital with national organizations in there for our nominee). I did some Summer field work on PA’s CD-10 before it was targeted too. I am hoping for a Blue Wave to sweep them all into office.


My three tiers of potential Democratic Gubernatorial pick-ups tonight:

  • Likely- Maine, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico
  • Leaning- Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada
  • Possible- Georgia, South Dakota, Kansas, New Hampshire
  • Giant Blue Wave- Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Arizona


There’s less good forecasts out there for state legislatures than any other major level of government. Fortunately, the Washington Post recently published an article on this, and named the following chambers as “in play”:

  • Michigan House and Senate
  • North Carolina Senate
  • Maine Senate
  • New York Senate
  • Arizona House and Senate
  • Colorado Senate
  • New Hampshire House and Senate
  • West Virginia House

For what it’s worth, people in North Carolina think the House is at least as much in play. Carl Klarner did the forecasts for the Post, and you should check him out here.

No, Pennsylvania is not on here. Expect solid gains though tonight. I suspect the Democrats will end up with between 92 and 95 House seats, and 20 Senate seats. This puts both chambers at least marginally back in play moving forward.


Go vote. No, really, do it. Your country needs you, whoever you are. While I have interesting stuff to write here, none of it matters like you doing your civic duty. I have friends who are overseas right now representing our country, the least you can do is go vote.


People asking me if I’m gonna give my chain back, that’ll be the same day I give the game back, and ya know the next question, yo, yo where Dame at? Let’s start the Indian dance to bring our reign back. What’s up with you and Jay man, are y’all okay man?


Today’s GOTV playlist:

  1. Diamonds from Sierra-Leone- Kanye West
  2. Crazy- Aerosmith
  3. It’s Good to be King- Tom Petty
  4. PSA- Jay Z
  5. Victory- Puff Daddy


Tonight’s candidate of the night is Donna Shalala. The former HHS Secretary in the Clinton Administration served over a decade as President of the University of Miami. Now she is running for Congress in FL-27.

If Donna doesn’t win, our majority is in doubt. So is winning the White House in 2020. Donate to Donna here. Volunteer here.


I’ve seen a lot of disgusting negative attacks in my day, and I’m not against negative campaigning, but State Rep. Joe Emrick went to a new low back home. He basically accused Amy Cozze of being a domestic terrorist for putting glitter in a parking ticket envelope. No, seriously. This is so far and away over the top that he should be ashamed.

Donate to Amy here.


Tonight’s GOTV past story? The 2014 Bonnie Watson Coleman/Cory Booker Central Jersey operation. I’m one of the worst cycles for Democrats in recent memory, we elected the first African-American Congresswoman in New Jersey history, with 61% of the vote. We did so in the whitest district of any member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The memories about this race are numerous and kind of awesome. I remember staying in a hotel room as a team on route 1. I remember figuring out that local committee people liked to hang out in the office at night after we left (we found the beer cans- good choice guys). I loved going between the four counties in the district and feeling like I was in a different world.

I really enjoyed the winning though.


I love the Sixers young talent, but nothing in the first few games suggests they’ve made the leap from very good to title contender. Tonight’s loss to Toronto is the latest evidence. I’m not saying I’d trade four firsts for Jimmy Butler, but I’m not saying I wouldn’t either.


We apparently have an O’Keefe style right-wing infiltrator in Mecklenburg County trying to get Democratic operatives, candidates, and activists to say crazy things.

One week. 🙃


There are 15 days left until the 2018 midterm elections. The national narrative seems to be heightened interest in voting this year- potentially on both sides, which may mean blunted Democratic gains. The other part of this narrative is Trump’s rising approval. It seems that some folks are buying into a counter, Republican wave that negates much of the Democratic wave.

I think people are missing the main point here- not all enthusiasm is equal. As Nate Silver put it on Twitter, even above average Republican interest for a midterm would get crushed if Democratic interest in voting hit low-end Presidential levels, and vice-versa. This means that the question is, a.) is Democratic interest in this election truly extraordinary, and b.) does it extend beyond the base?

More after the jump…


I’m not that interested in this World Series. I am, but I can’t be. I didn’t pick the Red Sox or Dodgers to win. I pretty much despise both. Both fail the “Yankees test”- do I like when they beat the Yankees. If I’m happy to see the Yankees beat a team, I don’t like that team. That’s the case for both here.

For what it’s worth, Chase Utley doesn’t tip my allegiance to the Dodgers at all- he’s not playing. I also don’t think Southern California should even have sports, no one cares there. On the other hand, I can’t cheer for MassHole franchises or anything Curt Schilling likes.

Just kill me already.


This 2018 Election is not a base election for Democrats. This is not to say Democrats should totally abandon their base, it’s to say that their base can’t do much more for them. Democrats hold pretty much all the African-American based and majority-minority based seats. Democrats dominate urban areas that tend to have unmarried and non-white, Democratic voting women. Motivate your base all you want, this election is about educated, suburban white people. How they vote seems to determine this election.

The good news is that white voters appear to be separating along educational lines. The latest NBC/WSJ polling is showing a dramatic divide- college educated white men are narrowly breaking Democratic, while non-college educated white men are going Republican by 40%. College educated white women are giving Democrats a lead of over 30%, while non-college educated white women give the GOP a narrow lead.

The good news for Democrats? College educated whites are who lives in swing districts.


I feel like I missed out majorly on a life experience by not getting up to the Smokey Mountains with my family the past few days. My family and extended family were up in Plumtree, NC for a few days. I intended to go see them. Work made it impossible to go up to Grandfather Mountain.

Themes the breaks!


I love that state legislative elections are centering around the basics- education, health care, taxes, clean drinking water, and infrastructure, again. None of these national distractions. Nothing divisive, really. These issues effect us all, and reflect genuine disagreement.


Today’s candidate of the day is Dan McCready, the Democratic candidate in NC-9 for Congress. Running in a seat Republicans have held since the era of JFK, McCready is exactly the kind of candidate who could win in Southern North Carolina.

Dan’s race could be key to who controls the House. You can donate to him here. You can volunteer here.


For every revolution, there is a counter-revolution. I said this yesterday, but I applied it to modern American politics. Apply it to some other revolutions and events though for a minute. The failure of the Articles of Confederation, Shays Rebellion, and the acceptance of English Common Law were all pushback against the American Revolution. The Reformation was a counter-revolution against the revolution that made the Vatican the center of the Western World. The sexual revolution of the 1960’s directly lead to the rise of the moral majority. The Magna Carta didn’t last long after it’s revolutionary signing. Revolutions always welcome a response. While we don’t always celebrate that response, it is often times very popular.

And it can lead to some dark places.


Good day, Happy Monday. It’s October 15th. We’re halfway through the tenth month of 2018. That’s amazing. We’re also 22 days from the mid-term election of the Donald Trump Presidency. Yes, we’re like halfway through his term. This is about the point where I tell you to stop wishing the Obamas would come back, and start considering who should be next.

And with that, on to today…


Today’s candidate is a close friend of mine, and a great incumbent Democrat facing a serious challenge in Monroe County, PA, Maureen Madden. Rep. Madden has spent her first term fighting to lower property taxes, protect the rights of workers to organize, and make sure we all have access to affordable health care.

Maureen has an opponent who she defeated in 2016, and lost to in 2014. He’s well funded, and he’s almost certainly getting outside dark money from groups like the NRA that hate Maureen’s advocacy on the behalf of gun violence prevention. This race will be very difficult.

Maureen needs your help. Donate to her here!


Fantasy football has changed the way I watch pro football. For instance, I couldn’t give a damn less about tonight’s MNF game, but I’m very interested in how the Packers defense plays for me, and how my opponent’s two player play in the game against me. But do I care who wins a Green Bay-San Francisco game?

Not really.


So now the Saudi Arabian Kingdom is basically admitting they did lure in a dissident reporter, who was living in suburban DC, to their embassy in Turkey, where they killed him, because the “interrogation went wrong.” This seems like a totally sane, normal action for an ally of ours to take, right?

Mohammed Bin Salman, better known as MBS, is going to be the king of Saudi Arabia in short order. I don’t know what that means for the good of the world order, but he may very well be one of the most disruptive leaders in the world. A stupid, reckless stunt like this against his enemies shouldn’t make anyone feel good.


After the 2016 election, I wrote a lot about the direction Democrats needed to go to get back to winning. Democrats seem to have embraced parts of that, but not others. I said Democrats needed to embrace the “Hillary coalition”- non-white voters and educated white voters in the suburbs- if they wanted to win future elections. I also said they needed to embrace more “meat and potato” style issues- things that effect quality of life. I warned at that time that embracing socialism or pure identity politics could backfire. So now the question is being asked- as early vote begins around the country, did Democrats succeed?

If you read direct mail and watch campaign ads, Democratic candidates on the ballot went to great lengths to keep on message- talking health care, wages, infrastructure, public education, and other things that broadly effect society. That’s what the campaigns said. The party’s activists and potential 2020 candidates were not as on message. But will it matter?

I think Democrats are going to win the House, and a nice load of state legislative seats, largely in suburban, highly educated districts. The question is, did the lack of discipline on message cost us Senate seats? Did some of the increasingly “pure” message hurt us in the Missouris and Tennessees of the world? We’re going to find out in three weeks…


Happy Sunday, October 14th, 2018. There are 23 days until the midterm elections. As the time ticks off towards zero, I am reminded that I felt great yet at this point in 2016, so let’s not worry too much about how I *feel.* As for what I see…

Let’s dive into today’s stuff…


What if I told you a bloodbath might not be coming in the 2018 midterms? I think Democrats are going to win the House, like most people, but we may not get much beyond that. Would you believe me? How big do you think the “Blue Wave” is?

Right now, the Cook Political report says that 16 Republican seats are either likely Democratic or lean Republican. Democrats need just 23 seats to take the House and elect a Speaker. There are 29 Republican seats considered total toss-ups, and 24 that lean Republican, meaning at least 69 Republican seats are in peril right now. If the political winds tip just a bit towards the Democrats, they could have a great, great night and win 250 seats. That’s not necessarily likely though.

What is more likely is a Democratic victory much like 2006- in the 30 seat neighborhood. That would give Democrats a majority, but only with about 225 seats. That’s not a massive majority in the House (like 225-210), and that’s just one chamber. What will happen beyond the House?

The Real Clear Politics projection for the U.S. Senate is R+2 seats. RCP bases it’s projection on an average of the polls. In other words, they have Democrats losing Senate seats. They have Democrats picking up 7 or 8 Governorships, which is valuable, but it’s telling which ones they don’t have Democrats picking up- blue states like Massachusetts and Maryland, or “popular” ones among the Democratic base like Georgia, or worse yet, ones that really should have been ripe for the picking like Nevada. It’s worth noting that the places Democrats lead for pick-ups, like Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, and even Michigan, are states where establishment, mainstream candidates won the primaries.

I expect Democrats to pick up several state legislatures and Governor’s mansions on election night, and to win the House. I’m less confident that Democrats will be celebrating massive majorities, and wins by candidates like Beto O’Rourke. When this is done, we will need to take stock of how much money and energy we wasted to appease our “Resistance.”


I’ve been telling anyone who will listen for a few weeks that the Astros are going to repeat, whether any of us like that or not. Last night they handled the Red Sox, 7-2 at Fenway. Houston is just a next level team, and expecting anyone to stop their repeat seems futile to me.

The other thing that seems futile to me is expecting the National League/JV League champ to compete either. If Oakland or Cleveland, two teams sent home early in the AL, were in the NL, they would have won. The fact is that Houston, Boston, and even the Yankees, would crush the NL Champion. All three won 100 games this season, and sport elite offenses that no NL team can keep up with. The real World Series is Houston and Boston.

That’s even more true when you have Craig Counsell pulling guys throwing a shutout through 5.2 innings and Clayton Kershaw being October Kershaw. I get that the game is changing, but going straight to the bullpen in the third when Gio Gonzalez is pitching just fine will never sit right with me. Perhaps baseball is over-relying on the algorithms.


How’s ‘Ye doin’? No, really, how is Kanye doing? The man who wrote lyrics like, “Little is known of Sierra-Leone, and how it connects to the diamonds we own,” and accused George W. Bush of not caring about black people is now spending time at the White House, hanging out with Donald Trump. It’s as though the man isn’t ok…

Kanye is one of my favorite rappers ever, present tense. The man is an artistic genius. Songs he made, songs he produced, are parts of my soul at this point, because they weren’t just very good, but they carried personal meaning in their moments in time. That’s why watching this man disintegrate into a steaming pile of trash isn’t as funny to me as it is to many others. Three years ago, Kanye and Kim were taking selfies with Hillary and Kanye was being attacked as a “reverse racist” by conservatives. Now he’s a MAGAt? Huh?!?

Part of this is clearly just about selling records, I guess. Part of it could be Kanye being changed by the fame. It’s also entirely possible, and not at all funny, that maybe this man is mentally ill, a drug addict, or both. I don’t know how to explain it though.

It’s important that we don’t treat Kanye’s outrageous behavior as legitimate though. This isn’t the same as his old buddy Taylor Swift telling people to vote, and to vote for a specific candidate. This was the screeching of a changed man, a not well man, who is completely ostracizing himself from his own fan base, while talking about how time is a construct. He’s not well.


I’m going to throw today’s candidate to watch in here, instead of last today. Today I want you to help my home candidate for the Pennsylvania State House, Amy Cozze, who is running for the 137th district in the PA House.

Amy is a mother, cancer survivor, small business owner, and activist. She believes Harrisburg doesn’t work right now, like most Pennsylvanians. Funding our schools, fixing our infrastructure, creating good paying jobs, and insuring access to affordable health care are some of her priorities. Her opponent, Rep. Joe Emrick has actively cut education funding, pushed against access to affordable health care, and opposed giving workers a living wage. We need a change.

Donate to Amy here. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Volunteer if you can, here.


College football is a lot like the NBA, in that you get caught up in the storyline as a fan, even though you know Alabama/Golden State is going to win in the end. Teams fall in and out of contention throughout the season, which makes it fun to watch.

I grew up a Notre Dame fan, adopted Penn State too when I started knowing players and going up there to party, and also now like Temple, since my sister went there. My, what different paths these teams are taking.

My Fighting Irish remained unbeaten and in the top five after surviving Pitt yesterday. The biggest problem Notre Dame has is that they don’t play all ranked teams in prime time. Their worst performances this year have come against teams like Vanderbilt and Pitt- unranked power five teams that are just talented enough to be threatening, but not enough to be impressive. Even so, the Irish are still in position to get to the playoff and *maybe* break the curse of Touchdown Jesus.

Penn State’s season is finished. Losing a two score lead to Ohio State with eight minutes left at home was bad, but letting Michigan State come back and win at the end yesterday is a death blow. There will be no Big Ten title, no playoffs, nothing. They have to get it together now and win some games to get to a New Year’s Day Bowl.

Temple- yes, Temple. They were 0-2 to start, and lost to one-double-a (yes, I call it that) Villanova to open the year. Now they’re 4-3, and back in the AAC picture. Their remaining schedule is brutal- games against ranked teams like UCF and Cincinnati, to name some- but they look alright. They basically need a tough win somewhere to probably be bowl eligible.


I’m going to close by complaining about one of my new, favorite apps from this campaign, Slack. I probably over lean on Slack to communicate with my team, but I’m not apologizing. I love Slack, except for one thing- you can’t send memes. In 2018, it should be illegal to have an app with no memes.

Someone fix this- pronto.

The Inept Harrisburg Republicans Plan to Survive the Democratic Blue Wave

Republicans are in trouble nationally. Democratic voters are more enthusiastic about voting this year, both in primaries and special elections. Democrats for Congress are out raising Republican incumbents. Republicans in tough seats are retiring. Trump’s approval is underwater, and has been consistently. They’re struggling to win elections in rural Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, and Alabama.

The struggles of Republicans may not reach the Pennsylvania state legislature though. Gerrymandered maps still stand, at least for now, and protect the Republicans. Democrats are in deep minorities in both houses, and haven’t won a majority since 2008. The Democrats’ House campaign arm had about $11k in the bank for their last report, while their leaders had flush bank accounts for themselves. Despite some strong candidates, nearly one in every district up this year, Democrats may not reap the rewards they should, particularly if organized labor “tightens it’s belt” on political spending after the Janus decision.

Republicans are preparing an offensive anyway, realizing they could still take losses this year, given the environment. Republicans are preparing to run their 2018 campaign on HB 76- a bill that would eliminate property taxes. That sounds really good, particularly in the Western and Northeast Pennsylvania battleground districts where Republicans can play offense to the blue collar electorate. The bill doesn’t work though. It leaves a $4 billion hole in the budget, with no mechanism to find that revenue. It does not address local school district and municipal debt, leaving the locals to fend for themselves when paying off bonds for large capital projects. The bill shifts the revenue burden onto local property taxes, causing large local tax increases. The bill will cause layoffs and cuts to services. HB 76 is nothing more than a political gimmick bill, masquerading as legislation. You don’t have to take my word for it- the Republican House Appropriations Chair doesn’t support it, because it’s a budget buster. The bill simply cuts taxes, kills education funding, and causes huge local tax increases.

The question is, what’s the Democratic alternative? HB 504 passed the House several years ago, but never got a Senate vote. That bill cuts property taxes, on average by 72%. It makes up the revenue by shifting to small increases on the EIT and PIT, both of which are more broad based. Property taxes can be cut, and made up for with taxing Marcellus Shale at a rate on par with other gas producing states, as opposed to the inadequate 1% “impact fee” Pennsylvania initially came up with. Ending the “Delaware Loophole” that shields corporations from state taxes, legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana, and selling more licenses for gaming and/or beer sales also can help the state find revenue. Just bringing HB 504 back up for a vote and passing it would provide immediate tax relief for low income Pennsylvanians and seniors. That’s an immediate, viable plan.

Instead, Republicans will attack incumbent and challenger Democrats using the broken and flawed HB76. They’ll say Democrats have stood in the way of property tax elimination. Don’t believe them. Republicans have controlled the State Senate since 1995, they’ve controlled the House since 2011, and 20 of the last 24 years overall. If Republicans want to pass this terrible legislation and eliminate property taxes, they can do so on a party line at any time. They won’t though, because they know it doesn’t work. Don’t send more of these conmen to Harrisburg to grandstand and not act.