The Tartan endorses 2018 midterm candidates
The midterm elections are quickly approaching, and political races across the country are heating up. This year’s midterm elections are especially important; President Donald Trump is reportedly concerned with the potential outcome of the elections. Allegedly, he and his administration are both worried that Democrats have a strong chance at taking control of the House of Representatives. With the midterms coming halfway through Trump’s term as President, the results of the elections could have a serious effect on the direction of his policy and his ability to enact certain bills, especially if, as he fears, Democrats are able to take control of the House. Of the 435 seats, many are for up for grabs, while 35 out of the 100 Senate seats are up for reelection. A 23-seat net gain in the House would give the Democrats control, while they only require a two-seat net gain to have a majority in the Senate. These slim margins appear even more crucial in light of recent events, such as Trump’s decision to send thousands of United States military troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to stem an imagined influx of asylum seekers. Additionally, right-wing extremists have committed two recent acts of domestic terrorism: the attempted mail bombings of Democratic leaders by Cesar Sayoc and the hate-fueled shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh by Robert Bowers. These incidents have only fanned the flames and intensified the Democrats' calls to get out and vote. With the stage set for a critical midterm election, here are The Tartan’s endorsements for the 2018 elections.
Tom Wolf (D)
Tom Wolf has been serving as Governor of Pennsylvania since 2015, and in these ever-uncertain times, The Tartan believes he is the right leader for Pennsylvania. Part of Wolf’s appeal comes from his reliability to fulfill promises he made on the campaign trail. Wolf is a strong proponent of increasing education funding and in his term upped state support for public education by over $2 billion. He is seeking to increase the state’s share of the cost of public education from the current figure of 35-37 percent to closer to 50 percent. Wolf has also worked to make the state government more accountable and ethical by implementing a gift ban. While he does not have the authority to raise the minimum wage throughout Pennsylvania, Wolf’s tenure has seen an increased minimum wage for state government employees and state contractors’ employees—this year he signed an executive order to up the hourly wage from $10.20 to $12 an hour. His order also includes a plan to tie the minimum wage to cost-of-living figures, and he hopes that his efforts can lead to a rise in the minimum wage for all workers in Pennsylvania. Wolf is also a strong believer in increasing access to health care and has expanded Medicaid to cover 720,000 additional Pennsylvanians. Many of these newly covered patients suffer from substance abuse disorders, and this expansion is especially crucial given the persisting opioid crisis. Wolf has also fought to defend women’s and civil rights, by vetoing bills that threatened abortion rights and prevent discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. Wolf is running against Republican Scott Wagner, whose meager list of achievements in the state Senate and Trumpian bullying make him pale in comparison to the incumbent Tom Wolf.
Bob Casey Jr. (D)
For the Senate, The Tartan endorses another incumbent Democrat, Senator Bob Casey Jr. Having served since 2012, Casey fights for many of the same causes as Wolf, including access to healthcare and worker wage improvements. Casey has called for increased funding for public schools and has opposed programs sending taxpayer money to support private schools. Casey is also a strong supporter of environmentalists' efforts to stop the spread of climate change and has voted for bills that would expand background checks for firearms and ban high-capacity gun magazines. Casey has voted against attempts to repeal Obamacare and has sought to offer a public option for health insurance. One of Casey’s most important factors is his emphasis on working with, rather than against, Republicans to combat an increasingly polarized political sphere. Like Wolf, Casey is facing off against a Trump-like Republican candidate, Lou Barletta, who has questioned the scientific truth of climate change and adamantly opposes Obamacare.
Dan Frankel (D)
On the state level, there are also pivotal races in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The winners of these elections will go on to work with the Pennsylvania State Senate and the governor of Pennsylvania to pass laws and craft a state budget, along with other a areas of public policy like taxes. Representing Allegheny County and District 23 is Democrat Dan Frankel, who is running for reelection. Frankel has a lot of experience, having served as a member of the Pennsylvania House since 1999, and holds the role of the Democratic caucus chair. Additionally, Frankel has been an avid champion of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which would bring the state’s non-discrimination laws up to date by adding explicit protections for LGBTQ+ people in housing, workplace environments, and other public places.
Election Day is this Tuesday, November 6th. If you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania, you can find your polling station at https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/PollingPlaceInfo.aspx. If you are registered to vote in your home state, don’t forget to submit your absentee ballot.