With the release of the redrawn Congressional District map by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Special Election scheduled for March 13 to pick a replacement for the district’s departed Congressman has already assumed a “special” – and quite ironic – level of insignificance. As both parties and their wealthy backers continue to spend millions of dollars to influence the results in this once staunchly Republican district and polls show the race tightening, we have learned that the new 18th District will include neither candidate as a resident.
Millions and millions of dollars are being spent to decide who will represent a district that no longer exists in a contest between two candidates who no longer live in it.
So, what in the world could compel voters to drag themselves to the polls to vote for someone under these circumstances? Only one thing. Donald Trump.
If we wish to study the eroding support of the “President’s” ballyhooed “base”, the 18th District Special Election might well be a veritable petri dish. Ninety-five percent white and almost 50% male, brandishing a median household income of around $55,000 (which is greatly exaggerated by the wealthy people residing in its western half) and featuring a college graduation rate of around 33%, it is a microcosm of Trumpian America. Like the next national election, this contest will swing largely on the votes of the lower Middle-Class
Democrats who have voted Republican since they were cajoled into patriotic submission by Reagan. And, in the 18th District, those LMCD’s are primarily members of the ethnic working class of Pennsylvania; perhaps the most racist group of people residing north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Gun control won’t bring anyone to the polls. Each candidate seems to have developed a case of cognitive dissonance regarding America’s gun problem. But that’s just as well: most of the people voting in the election have, as well.
We still haven’t had any fourteen-year-old former girlfriends emerge to implicate anyone. Neither candidate is a known spousal abuser. No groping has yet been mentioned.
Democrat Lamb can say he will protect Medicare and Social Security from Paul Ryan. Republican Saccone can say he’ll be the “tough” guy we need to protect us from Nancy Pelosi. But the truth is, in a few months they’ll both be looking for work and in no position to protect anyone from anything.
In essence, we have ourselves a “Seinfeld Election.” It’s about nothing.
And in our petri dish we have a tiny sample. It’s white, racist, working class and angry; the same demographic that elected Reagan and all his progeny. It has no reason to vote except to express its opinion of the state of affairs of American politics.
But with a simple and emphatic statement – which would surely be heard nationwide – it has the potential to reverse forty years of creeping Fascism by declaring in no uncertain terms that the white working class is beginning to recognize how cruelly and effectively it has been duped by Republicans.
This election means nothing to the 18th District. But it could have enormous implications for the country.