Yeah, I know.
Apparently because we have a primary tomorrow, loads of people have been digging through the Internet and their local libraries to find anything they can about Southeastern Pennsylvania. Obviously that’s because we need some filler to tell the rest of America how voters think in Pennsylvania’s most populous region.
Once such paper that thinks they understand us is the New York Times. In this op piece for their elections coverage they compare Donald Trump and his broad appeal amongst Philadelphians to the late mayor Frank Rizzo.
While there’s a few similarities between Trump’s style and Rizzo’s, those similarities are all in columns that would be categorized as negatives.
Take a simple, basic one: the U.S. Constitution. Both the braggadocios late mayor and the bombastic conglomerate owner running for President right now share a weak grasp of constitutional basics. Rizzo didn’t know what the 4th Amendment of the Constitution meant. Trump doesn’t know what the 1st Amendment is, the 8th, the 14th or the 16th. Of course if he were ever asked to testify in anything that could implicate him in a prosecution, he’d immediately plead the 5th. He has made statements that fly in the face of holding Supreme Court decisions under all four of those amendments including several items under the Bill of Rights. The irony of this being Philadelphia where America’s concept of Federalism and constitutional freedoms were inked on to paper is not lost on me. I’ve met enough Philadelphians who want to see their own rights taken away from them.
Now let’s jump right into the snake pit and talk about race. Both Rizzo and Trump had very little empathy or understanding of Black America beyond what they picked up in history books before becoming public figures. For Rizzo he was brought up in the then extremely-white Philadelphia Police Department during the time of the Philadelphia Race Riots on Columbia Avenue which telegraphed to his handling of black protestors and militants in the 1970s. For Trump he was a slumlord in the early to mid 1970s trying to limit his properties from exposure to black tenants. Trump could, of course, pin the blame of diverting blacks away from his apartments on his father. Both were charged with violating the Fair Housing Act. During Mayor Rizzo’s reign white flight from Philadelphia reached its highest and fastest levels helped along by a proposal to bring the City Wage Tax to 5%, fear and paranoia over school busing, the real estate tactic of blockbusting and a mass-exodus of factory work out of the city. This changed the calculus for Rizzo and he knew that no mayor could ever hope to succeed solely on the white vote.
When he wanted to run for office again, Rizzo’s first TV commercial went from bombast to humility–the grandpa concerned about our well-being. Watch:
Rizzo never managed to reclaim office.
Who Supports Trump?
Here’s this interesting map showing who clicks “like” to presidential candidate posts. Bernie Sanders is purple, Trump is orange:
For Donald J. Trump a good portion of old white rowhouse Philadelphia supports him and he’s definitely popular in Northeast Philly. I can see Philadelphia selecting him as their favorite in the Pennsylvania Primary tomorrow. The support comes from one of two mentalities, the most obvious one are racially-truculent white Democrats who’ve flipped their registration to vote for him. They’re Democrats only because of their union affiliation and nothing more. Over a thousand of these have temporarily changed their voter registration to Republican so they can vote for Trump; because Hillary Clinton is certain to win the Democrat nomination.
The rest who are the majority of his supporters are those who just simply want to see traditional national GOP politics put into chaos; not because they want to see Hillary in office, but because they want to see the GOP “purged” of what they feel is its most unsavory element; namely a small clique of donors who manage to have an overreaching say in all policy.
Trump found an issue that has put the working-class whites in the Democratic Party in the same boat with their Republican counterparts: immigration. The GOP has been split on immigration since the mid-1980s. Johnny Doc, the powerful leader of the electrician’s union and the largest local campaign donor is the embodiment of this among Philadelphia Democrats with his drone air force he wants to deploy across the city to hunt down and report illegal immigrants. I’ve flicked through plenty of profiles on Facebook of Local 98 card carriers and seen all of their Trump repostings. Businesses sit on the other end of this debate mostly silent and watching what will happen next.
Trump Loses Even If He Wins
One thing Philadelphians will not understand tomorrow is that your vote in the Pennsylvania Primary really does not matter as most of you have no clue about any of the delegates you’re being asked to support at the GOP convention in Cleveland.
Pennsylvania will be sending 71 delegates to the GOP convention. Only 17 of those people are required to vote the way Pennsylvania Republicans voted in the primary. The remaining 54 delegates can vote however the fuck they like.
Philadelphia Republican voters get to pick who 9 of these delegates are. There are three congressional districts in Philadelphia (a congressional district is who your U.S. Representative in the House in D.C. represents). Each congressional district gets three seats. So, three congressional districts x 3 seats = 9 delegates. Some of these delegates are not really saying who they plan to vote for in Cleveland (they don’t have to say who they want to vote for, or even have an opinion about it).
One who has made up her mind and has pledged her support to #NeverTrump is Aldridk Gessa-Lang, who has stated her support for Senator Ted Cruz.
I am a built guilty here myself here not knowing who my own delegate candidates are going to support for president. On some of these delegates you’re pretty much left to hunting them down on Facebook and asking them who they support; if they’ll tell you. Some of these delegates are really only in it to get a trip to Cleveland and will wait to be lobbied between now and when they must take a vote on the GOP convention floor.
Now we are at a knife’s edge. If Trump fails to secure the required number of pledged delegates at the GOP convention, it’s these unpledged delegates who will decide Trump’s fate. Trump was late to the game in wooing delegates and Pennsylvania’s cluster of 54 unpledged delegates, among the largest of any other state, are crucial for him to survive. Suddenly, and without any warning, it’s these people who now matter the most in American politics–at least through the beginning of July.
Most GOP voters actually skip the whole delegate race on the voting machine completely so ultimately they wind-up sending a bunch of delegates working against their own preferred candidate to the GOP convention.
In previous election cycles the front-runner was fairly clear and a non-controversial choice—none of this really mattered and most unpleged Pennsylvania delegates were sympathetic to how Pennsylvanians actually voted in the primary. Until now.
That is why for the next 48 hours we are going to be treated to journalists, pundits and TV anchors who have never lived here or only lived here during college mouthing-off their Pennsy and Philly expertise.
Enjoy.Tags: Donald J. Trump | Ted Cruz | Frank Rizzo | Aldridk Gessa-Land | GOP politics | Pennsylvania politics