As the midterm elections inch closer, the progressive tsunami approaches; a dream come true for good government activists and a nightmare for far right special interests. The wave of progressive enthusiasm and engagement is unprecedented with a record number of motivated citizens looking to make their mark in Pennsylvania.
As of now, there are 180 Democrats running for state legislature, 98 of which are women. In addition, EVERY Republican representative in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region is now facing a Democratic challenger, part of a hunger for change manifested in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency in 2016.
For many candidates and their supporters, this motivation has been building for years. News traveling from the State Capitol throughout Pennsylvania informed everyday constituents that the ill-conceived priorities of the right-wing minority dominated political conversation on public policy. By running for state office, this wave of progressives are demonstrating that they are mad as hell and refuse to tolerate the status quo in Harrisburg any longer.
As a resident of Southeastern PA, I’ve witnessed how the radical wishes of the far-right in Harrisburg have translated into real consequences. I have not forgotten when State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, far-right Republican from a district closer to Ohio than to Philadelphia, wanted to gut the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation system (SEPTA), eliminating a valuable service that millions in our area, an area he doesn’t represent, relied upon. As a student who went to a public high school and currently attends a state-sponsored university, I have not forgotten the constant budget crises that caused anxiety for parents and students due to right-wingers in the state legislature caring more about protecting their campaign donors than adequately funding public education. As the son of immigrants, I saw my Commonwealth’s representatives from gerrymandered districts bow down before Trump’s rhetoric, working to dismantle local initiatives that protected immigrants from raids that tore apart communities and families. These and other indignities made up the foundations of the tsunami that inspired the concerned progressive candidates running for office this year, many of them from Southeastern PA.
Change is indeed in the air, as the stage for a major struggle for the state legislature is set. Motivated by passion for progressive priorities and a fight against the radical right, these candidates are ready to take the fight for a better Pennsylvania to the heart of the Capitol. While this fight will not be easy with many state legislative seats rigged by post-2010 partisan gerrymandering, the political tectonic plates have already shifted. The coming tsunami is nowhere more true than in Southeastern PA, where every challenger to a right-wing incumbent is ready to battle in November and swamp them in a progressive wave.