The problem with Doug

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By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

Way back in the “good old days” of 2018, Scott Wagner, then the GOP nominee for Pennsylvania governor, threatened “I’m gonna stomp all over your (Gov. Tom Wolf’s) face with golf spikes.”

We’ll assume for the sake of this column, that this claim was strictly metaphorical. 

Wagner, of course did nothing of the sort at the ballot box, losing to Wolf by 17 points.

What you have to love about Pennsylvania’s Republicans is this: no matter how awful someone is that they run for office, there’s always someone worse.

Enter Doug Mastriano, the Republican running against Democrat Josh Shapiro.

Mastriano — at minimum — funded and supported people who entered the U.S. Capitol and caused untold havoc on Jan. 6, 2021. He was at the Capitol himself, is documented to have crossed police lines during the riot. No images or footage of him in the building have surfaced — as yet. In the criminal justice universe — as hundreds have been charged with crimes related to Jan. 6 — this is called aiding and abetting.

Additionally, Mastriano is described as the “Point Person” in PA for the fake elector scam, potentially a criminal enterprise, currently under investigation by the Department of Justice. The short form is this: despite zero evidence of any voter fraud, Mastriano was going to ignore millions of votes cast by mail or drop off box and attempt to award Pennsylvania’s electors to Donald Trump. Mastriano was actively involved in a plot to knock out the votes of 38% of the people who cast ballots in 2020 — millions of perfectly legal votes, including mine and those of a lot of people in Chester County.

So, normally, being in the middle of two separate potentially criminal acts would be enough of a problem for most political candidates.

But even this sordid history isn’t enough in the race to the bottom for the GOP.

Mastriano spent $5K of his campaign money to get Gab, a haven of anti-Semitic speech and other hate groups, to have all of its followers automatically follow Mastriano’s account on the site.

And while he issued some lame statement about not supporting anti-Semitism, he did nothing to leave the site or change his campaign’s outreach to these people. 

Actions speak louder than words here. 

If the horrific content on Gab really was something that bothered him, he’d have made a change. He didn’t, so we have to assume he’s down with the claims of Gab founder Andrew Torba, who has made it clear that Jewish people — or anyone — can not be part of his community or movement without converting to his particularly vile version of Christianity.

Torba — and by extension, Mastriano — support a hateful, vengeful version of Christianity that essentially flies in the face of the teachings of Jesus Christ, embracing hate over love, tolerance and common decency. 

While I have massive disagreements with Mastriano over policies ranging from education to women’s rights, none of that is my real issue with the man.

My issue is that he is a loathsome, despicable, hateful human being unfit to serve in any public role in any capacity at any time. He is, in short, a bad person.

Tragically, many rank and file Republicans are rushing to support Mastriano. They know better and they don’t care, they did the same thing with Trump.

When I wrote some years back about the death of the Republican Party — when the local GOP embraced Trump, this is exactly what I meant. It has come to pass. The party that dominated Chester County from the Civil War until 2017 is a sad, pathetic shell of itself, driven by hate.

Republicans no longer support the rule of law.

Republicans no longer respect freedom and individual rights.

Republicans no longer support even basic democracy or the institutions that back it.

They now are supporting a “Christofascist” philosophy, and seek to impose a rigid, cruel dictatorship and run every detail of your life.

For your sake, for Pennsylvania’s sake, for the future of the United States as a democratic republic, Mastriano needs to be repudiated at the polls and by large numbers.

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