Trump Picks Big Lie Buddy Doug Mastriano For Pennsylvania Governor
It’s primary election day in Pennsylvania, so let’s talk a little about the GOP primary for governor. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf won re-election in 2018 by 17 points, but he’s limited to just two terms and can’t run again. Republicans are hot to seize the governorship in a tough year for Democrats. Leading the pack is state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who Donald Trump recently endorsed at the last minute. Mother Jones speculates that this was so Trump could claim credit for Mastriano’s sure thing.
In the governor’s race, Mastriano built up a roughly 10-point lead over his rivals before securing Trump’s support. He was central to Trump’s efforts in Pennsylvania to overturn the 2020 election. He also organized bus trips to Washington, DC, for the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally and was outside the Capitol that day—though there is no evidence he entered the building and he has not been accused of breaking any laws.
That’s what passes for integrity in the modern Republican Party, that there’s no conclusive proof that their its nominee for governor of a major swing state participated in a violent coup attempt. He just tried to overturn the results of a free and fair election, but peacefully.
Mastriano is a nightmare candidate with reported ties to the QAnon cult, and has fully embraced Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election he lost like a loser. Mastriano is now polling 12 points ahead of former congressman Lou Barletta, who along with Tom Marino was among the first GOP House members to endorse Trump in 2016. However, Trump now raves that Mastriano "has been with me right from the beginning, and now I have an obligation to be with him.”
Trump stabs people in the back so often he should sell Trump-brand daggers, but nonetheless Marino expressed his disappointment this weekend over the Mastriano endorsement.
Former PA congressman Tom Marino, who along with Barletta backed Trump in 2016, rips Trump for the Mastriano endorsement. \u201cWhere in the hell is the loyalty?\u201dpic.twitter.com/xsWCwHchjZ— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman) 1652563067
MARINO: Where in the hell is the loyalty? Lou and I were the first congressmen to come out and endorse Trump in his first election. We took a lot of heat about it ... We were at the rallies, talking to people, and throwing our support behind Trump early on. Our leadership ... told us when we they heard that we did this that our political careers were over ... I’m very disappointed in the former president because apparently the loyalty does not go as far as he says his loyalty does.
They’re obviously slow studies, but Marino and Barletta have finally learned how loyalty works with Donald Trump. They can check with Jeff Sessions for their parting gifts. Barletta is actually on the ballot so he has to play nice and say he’ll look forward to Trump’s endorsement in the general election. Marino, however, hasn’t pulled any punches. He’s accused Trump of throwing Barletta under the bus and just backing whoever was ahead in the polls so he’d look like a “political genius.” (Yeah, even the former Trump supporter agrees with Mother Jones.) He’s also gone so far as to say he won’t support anyone Trump endorses.
Trump’s thrown a grenade into the GOP governor’s primary, and that’s good news for decent people who like democracy. The presumptive Democratic nominee for governor is Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who fended off Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss in the state. Here’s a tweet from Shapiro just a week before the election.
If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose. That\u2019s why he\u2019s working overtime to subtract as many votes as possible from this process.\n\nFor the record, he\u2019s 0-6 against us in court. We\u2019ve protected voting rights. Now, ignore the noise\u2014vote!https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/trump-pennsylvania-rallies-20201031.html\u00a0\u2026— Josh Shapiro (@Josh Shapiro) 1604177045
It's critical that Democrats hold the governor’s office. Pennsylvania’s secretary of state isn’t an elected position, so a Trumpist governor can fill the position with the election denier of their choosing. Mastriano, who thinks votes were stolen from Trump even in California, is such a hack that GOP primary candidates Jake Corman and Melissa Hart each dropped out of the race last week and endorsed Barletta.
Barletta probably deserves Trump’s betrayal, but Pennsylvania doesn’t deserve Doug Mastriano.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."