Local elections showed no sign of Trump effect
So much for the Trump effect.
For four months, the country has been in an uproar surrounding the 45th president of the United States.
A lot of people didn’t like Donald Trump — or what he vowed to do along with the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.
They stormed Philadelphia International Airport, outraged at a travel ban that many believed went against everything this country stands for.
They held weekly protests at the offices of their local congressmen, irate at the prospect of seeing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the signature piece of legislation of President Obama.
They demanded answers when it became apparent that the GOP version of health care, the American Health Care Act, would leave many of them uninsured and many of those with pre-existing conditions facing the prospect of being unable to get coverage or staring at massive price hikes.
They snickered at his vow to build a wall on the Mexican border — and make Mexico pay for it.
So the belief was that this new groundswell of political activism would result in a rush to the polls last week for the primary election. Uh, not exactly. Actually, here in Pennsylvania, voters did what they always seem to do in these off-year, non-presidential municipal elections.
They stayed away in droves.
Only about 13 percent of those eligible bothered to go to the polls and exercise their basic constitutional right.
Up for grabs on the primary ballots were party slots for county and local seats, several contested magisterial district judge posts and a slew of local municipal and school board jobs.
If you’re looking for proof of a new groundswell of progressiveness or a possible backlash in reaction to the first four months of the Trump Administration, you’ll have to look elsewhere. It didn’t happen here.
You could possibly look east to Philadelphia, where Democratic voters turned out and elected Larry Krasner from a wild field of seven candidates. But even in what was a more high-profile race than normal, turnout peaked at about 18 percent.
Then again, in the last go-round for a competitive DA race in the city, back in 2009, an even more anemic 12 percent bothered to vote.
It did not take long for supporters of Larry Krasner, a civil rights attorney and death penalty opponent who based his TV ad campaign on his background representing groups such as Black Lives Matter and Moveon. org, to make an impression.
They chanted anti-police slogans during their victory celebration.
So when is this new wave of resistance going to make its way to the suburbs?
Don’t look for a much better showing in the fall.
The same races will be on the ballot, only with more at stake than merely the party’s nomination.
The real test could come in 2018, when all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs.
That’s when U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, and Ryan Costello, R-6, and others across the region likely will find themselves in the spotlight, in particular when it comes to how they voted on controversial planks in the Trump-gop agenda.
Both Meehan and Costello voted against the final version of the American Health Care Act, but Democrats were quick to point out that both also voted in favor of it in pushing it out of their respective committees.
But at the local level, in last week’s municipal primary, the vaunted Trump Effect was for the most part missing in action.
As were far too many voters.
The real test could come in 2018, when all seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs. That’s when U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, and Ryan Costello, R-6, and others across the region likely will find themselves in the spotlight.