Pity the voter that lives in the one-party state, county, town or borough, which is the predicament of any forward-thinking Jenkintown resident. Sadly, for us we have a primary coming up that will effectively decide who gets to be our state rep, and thanks to the implosion of the GOP, they will be a Democrat.
Though I have never registered Democratic myself, I grew up with the understanding that it was the party of blue-collar America, resisting the wealthy and the privileged to clear a path for the American dream for those of us who toil in the trenches keeping the lights on, the water flowing, the streets paved, and the factories humming.
One quick look at Jenkintown provides a microcosm of what the national party today now represents: Privilege — especially at the local level. How else do you explain the flip-flopping of American politics where the backbone of the GOP is now what’s left of blue-collar America while the backbone of the Democratic party are today the comfy suburbs?
The Democratic scramble to replace the retiring do-nothing state representative Steve McCarter has attracted three Jenkintonians, none of whom have any real record to run on. At best, like many of us, maybe they just want to get out of Dodge.
Jay has to be running for the salary — $87.000. Probably the best way to describe Jay comes from a conversation I had with one of his fellow council members who described him as a “broken stick.” I can’t imagine what platform Jay’s running on since he has done next to nothing on council and stood by silently as his constituents were materially harmed by the policies he himself voted for.
Jay can take credit for at least one ordinance — the one where Jenkintown forces billion-dollar utility companies with their own fully staffed legal departments to repair any stretch of road that they dig up that we taxpayers just had repaved. Jay got this bright idea after PECO announced it would fix lines under streets paved only months before. Instead of coordinating the project with PECO, Jay got his name on a pointless law passed to cover up this oversight by our borough manager.
Jennifer is a one-issue pony: gun control. On her twitter account, she describes herself as a “suicide widow,” which is certainly tragic and unfortunate, but hardly a qualification for state office. Like Jay, she has no record on which to run. She fills her Twitter feed with rants against the guns, which has no relevance at all in Jenkintown.
If she aspires for a career in the State House railing against guns, she’s running into this:
Article 1, section 21 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania states, “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
The state police reports more than 791,000 guns were purchased or transferred in 2017 alone, so good luck with that, Jennifer. Where do you stand on the school tax? That’s a bigger danger to my family than any shooter out there.
Adrienne is another single-issue candidate, though to her credit, that’s one more than Jay. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Adrienne for nearly three hours one warm summer day two years ago and had a wide-ranging conversation about all-things-Jenkintown and about her pet cause, the environment. She’s a life-long activist in this area and is a fount of knowledge on the topic, but Adrienne has no political experience whatsoever and has shown during the Downs fiasco and the pocket park debate that she doesn’t play nice with others.
You want to set up a recycling program? Advice about solar power? Composting? Call Adrienne. You want her as your vanguard against the spread of government power or as an advocate for fiscal responsibility? Not so much.
So what am I doing? Against everything I deem holy, I actually changed my registration to Democratic just so that I can vote against this sorry group. Calling myself a Democrat violates almost everything I stand for today.
While I don’t believe in the concept of the strategic vote since I have only one, and as much as would love to see Jay or Jennifer off of council, I’ll even stoop to becoming a Democrat if it helps keeps them out of Harrisburg.