The linked story describes how it appears that PA is on target to elect a Republican governor in the Fall. It is a good read, so check it out. But for me the question to consider as we move towards the May Primary election is, not only what will it mean for PA in general, but for LGBT issues in particular, if we elect a Republican in the Fall. In other words, is a Democratic win the Fall essential for anyone who cares about LGBT rights, and if so, what do we need to do about it?

Since 1955, the state’s voters have without fail given each political party two terms in office before throwing the bums out and switching to the other party.

I wouldn’t say that our current governor has been the best when it comes to helping the GLBTQ community. He is on record for being fully supportive of LGBT issues and he appointed an out gay man to head the PA Human Relations Commission, but he has been largely silent past these efforts. But would could happen if a Republican were elected? what do we have to look towards for any clues? The following quote is from the Louisville Courier Journal newspaper:

Rand Paul “holds an unacceptable view of civil rights, saying that … private business people should be able to decide whether they want to serve black people, or gays, or any other minority group.”

And in the state of Virginia, protections for gay and lesbians have been rolled back by the governor and the stater attorney general. GLBTQ rights have been making real progress everywhere, and especially in the area of marriage equality, that conservatives are pushing back as hard as they can everywhere that they can. Is it too much of a stretch to think that is a Republican is elected in PA, that we won’t see some of the same type of behavior?

Two things need to happen if Pennsylvania is to keep moving forward on progressive issues. We need to first select a Democrat in the Primary who can actually beat Corbett in the Fall, and then, we need to turn out a tremendous Democratic vote in the Fall so that we can beat Tom Corbett.

How do we accomplish these two things? To do so, I think we need to add a third thing that must happen before we can achieve either of these. First, we have to come to terms with what we really want as progressives? If the answer is to vote for the most progressive candidates we can find in the Primary, we may vote one way. But I believe that if what we want is to create an environment where we can continue to move progressive issues forward for the next 8 years, then we may act differently in the primary, and elect the Democrat who appears to have the greatest likelihood of beating Tom Corbett. The choice belongs to the progressives. One possibility is to consider if the most progressive candidate can beat Tom Corbett. The polls don’t seem to support that idea, but it may be worth talking about. I tend to doubt the most progressive candidate can win, especially in an election where we are battling an almost certain return of the governor’s seat to a Republican.  If we were going the other way and replacing a Republican with a democrat, then, the most progressive candidate may have a chance, but we aren’t in that situation. so, on principle, progressives either support the most progressive candidate, r they dig deeper and look towards the Fall to see which Democratic candidate has a real shot to win so that progressive issues can move forward.

I am not suggesting that progressives have to abandon the most progressive candidate. On the contrary, I believe we need a real and thorough debate between the Democratic candidates, with lots of interaction with the voters of the state. We need all of the contenders to know what is important to progressive voters, and we need to come to understand the differences between the various candidates. Now is our time as progressives to nudge the more moderate democrats towards the left! We do this by comparing all of the democrats to their republican opponents rather than simply pit them against each other. We do this by having more dialogue about the issues that are important to us, and less attacks against specific candidates. We do this by building stronger bridges between progressive groups and the various candidates rather than by creating a gulf of ill feeling and hostility. And lastly, if not most importantly, we do this knowing that who ever wins the primary, we will all have to work tirelessly for after the primary, so we best be careful not to create any position that we will have to back pedal from should that candidate win the primary.

via Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Race Holding to a 55-Year Tradition.


  1. Thanks for adding a comment! I don't believe I called him a bigot, so I hope you aren't suggesting that I did. No matter if the goal is excluding people or not, whenever we start to say that businesses can start to discriminate, we are stepping back in time to when we were a more bigoted culture, generally speaking. And to suggest that business owners should be able to discriminate is IMHO, an unacceptable view of civil rights.

    His motivation for his positions may not be bigoted in any way, but that doesn't mean that such policies wouldn't open the doors for actions which are motivated by bigotry. This doesn't make him a bigot at all. This only suggests that his policies have tremendous failings in the protections of rights for all citizens.

    I can't really make any comment on the notion of being a “constitutionalist,” a term which is highly charged, but vague in actual meaning. It can sometimes be used to suggest a very rigid adherence to a single document crafted in 1787, but more accurately can describe a system of government recognizing the will of the people. Those who penned the US constitution did so, with previous experience of state constitutions and a thoughtful focus on the interplay between these levels of government. They also organized the Constitution with the ability to amend it, a process crucial for the evolution of any viable document and governmental structure based upon the will of the people.

    It is crucial that we always consider what government does in relation to the root of our governmental structure and historic documents, and his thoughtful consideration of this is a good thing. Thanks for adding to this dialogue.

  2. spinnikerca says:

    On Rand Paul, the statement wasn't only about minority groups, but about property rights and individual liberty. There could be exclusion of whites as well, from some places, and were that law, you know there would be. However, it wasn't for a 'goal' of excluding people, but for lessening federal governmental regulation of private property rights, a federal power not found in the Constitution.

    The article was based on this hour long interview:

    Note, he also felt the civil rights act, where it SHOULD apply for everyone (public funding places) should include orientation. He is a constitutionalist which PROTECTS civil liberties against things like the patriot act, FISA etc. He is thoughtful about it, and agree or disagree with his positions, he is no bigot.

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