Not content with taking your vote away, apparently Republicans also want you to die

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

This was going to be a column about the non-trivial issue of politicians seeking to disenfranchise millions of voters literally because they didn’t like how the election went, but COVID-19, being COVID-19, the virus pushed itself back to front and center in the headlines again Thursday.

With cases spiraling — especially in the central part of the state, where too many elected officials discouraged people from wearing masks and observing social distancing – Gov. Tom Wolf had little choice but to install new limits on public dining and other public activities for the remainder of the year.

And while Republicans in the state legislature are screaming about how unfair this all is, $1.3 billion in CARES funds that could have gone to help the small businesses impacted by COVID, instead went in a questionable manner to close the state budget gap (decades of poor GOP fiscal management have the left the commonwealth with a structural budget deficit and yearly gimmicks to close it). On the federal level, Republicans in Congress have blocked any aid to small business for months, including The Restaurant Act.

Nope. Their solution is to open everything up and if employees and customers get COVID, spike the spread of the virus in the community and literally kill people, well, so be it. As long as the commercial rents and mortgages get paid, it’s all good.

The basic premise seems to be “give them all COVID and let God sort it out.”

Of course, local critics — such as the sinister spokes group for commercial real estate developers, bankers and big law firms – are screaming about the hit for local small businesses and how unreasonable Wolf is being. They don’t really care about small business — they never have. They just want to make sure their big-dollar backers get their money, while pushing corrupt GOP talking points.

Yeah — Wolf is being sooo unreasonable by trying to keep us alive until the vaccine is widely distributed. 

Dead restaurants can come back to life (something like one in six close every year, even without a pandemic). Jobs can come back to life. Dead people can’t. Money can fix the first two, nothing can fix the last. 12,000 Pennsylvania families have lost loved ones already — what is going to fix that?

In a perfect world, Wolf — who seemed reluctant to take these steps Thursday – would have given more notice to restaurants, so at least they could modify their orders of perishable items. But those claiming to be blindsided are either willfully ignorant or disingenuous. I wrote Wednesday that it was likely that new restrictions were coming. Aside from the word circulating for days around the state, the daily numbers — about 12,000 new cases and 250 deaths per day — were too high to ignore.

In Southeast Pennsylvania, ICU beds are running short. Yes, Chester County is in slightly better shape than its neighbors, but the region and the county will likely be out of ICU beds before the end of the month – and that’s with the new restrictions. Without? January would become a hellscape of overwhelmed hospitals and needless deaths.

And yet, while other states with the virus raging – Virginia, California among others — went back to full on stay at home orders, Wolf took the minimal route, keeping as many businesses open as possible without endangering public health. 

And yes, it stinks for restaurants and gyms — but the fact is that this is where people either take off their masks to eat and drink, or breathe hard in the process of working out, they spread COVID. While some, like the pro-death lackeys bemoaning the impact of the closures, claim there’s no science to back this up, there is a great deal of science to back this up. We know the virus is airborne, we know most HVAC systems recirculate, rather than filter, infectious air. Studies show that not only people at your table are vulnerable if you have COVID, but so are those at neighboring tables. People have been infected from as far away as 20 feet.

So, to stop the spread, we need to shut down inside dining. Yes, there should be a massive federal aid package for restaurants, bars and similarly affected businesses to help them and their employees weather this pandemic. It is inexcusable and a sign of the lack of fundamental decency in one of our political parties that we make small business owners choose between bankruptcy and risking the lives of their employees and customers.

In the meantime, if you are able, please get take out from your favorite restaurants as often as possible. It won’t replace all of the revenue lost – again, we need a federal bailout – but every dollar will help. If you belong to a gym, try to make your monthly payment even if you can’t go, if you can afford it. Again, it won’t replace the lost revenue, but every dollar will improve the odds that your favorite workout place will survive.

We need to get through the next few months until the combination of the new vaccine and warmer weather drive down the infection rate. It’s been a long, difficult fight, but the end is in sight. 

Don’t let the selfish, narrow arguments of a few distract you from doing the right thing.


The election is over. It’s actually been over for about a month, but I guess we’ve been patient.

That patience is running out, however. 

There is a segment of our population that believes God or the Avengers or Martha Stewart is going to emerge from some magical place and anoint Donald Trump as El Presidente For Life. That somehow, millions of mythical ballots “fraudulently” cast will miraculously appear and show how Democrats stole the election for Joe Biden while getting their butts kicked down ballot.

The thing is, pumpkin, the fraud never happened. Ask Attorney General William Barr. Ask dozens of courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

The search for evidence of some sort of fraud has gone on for a month and guess what? Nada. 

Well, actually, that’s not true: there were two cases of Republicans, including one here in Chester County,  trying to vote twice for Trump. Despite million dollar bounties — by the way, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is a deadbeat, refusing to pay our Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for pointing out those two incidents — no one found any of this alleged “fraud.” There was a video from Georgia that was supposed to be some sort of smoking gun, except it had been edited and the full footage actually showed not much of anything. There were mysterious food trucks in Michigan that reportedly were bringing in secret ballots, but were just bringing dinner.

Oh, then there were the four states that showed a late flurry of Biden votes, including Pennsylvania. There were these alleged statistical models that showed how it could never have happened legitimately. Unless, of course, those four state legislatures prevented the mail-in ballots from being counted until Election Day. The majority of those ballots were for Biden, because Trump told his voters not to trust the mail (after, of course, sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service).

It’s all bogus, yet few Republicans have stepped up to tell the truth. Some of our own state legislators sent a letter to Congress last week asking for them to overturn the will of the electorate, after Trump leaned on State House Speaker Brian Cutler like some sort of mob boss. Some knuckleheads in the state House of Representatives want to overrule your vote and pick their own electors — for Trump.

To his credit, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said this was “unacceptable.” But most Pennsylvania Republicans are either playing into this dangerous lie, or hiding.

Lt. Gov. Fetterman is showing compassion toward these folks, noting that if they were to stand up for the truth, they’d have to fear for their lives. Maybe true, as new Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward suggested that if she hadn’t signed the letter to Congress her house would have been bombed.

Maybe and and maybe it’s a bit of cowardice. 

I’m somewhat less inclined to cut them a break — these folks helped create and benefitted from the suspension of reality. Now that it is literally coming back to bite them on the butt, it’s hard to feel sorry for them.

Still, this is the logical conclusion of the thuggish, morally corrupt Tea Party movement. Here in Chester County, they bullied the old-school, moderate Republicans out of the county committee and turned what had been a political powerhouse into a radical laughingstock.

Now, these Trump true believers are emptying their bank accounts to fund a fake legal effort, and selling their souls on behalf of a lying sociopath who has failed this country by almost every objective measure. This is a man, as more than 3,000 people a day are dying from a pandemic, can literally do nothing beyond having daily temper tantrums on Twitter.

Like parents with overtired toddlers having a rage tantrum, we hoped it would burn itself out, that these folks would come to their senses and move on. God knows, most Clinton supporters found a way to cope and accept the results in 2016, which were a lot closer. Yes, they thought Trump would be bad for the country and worked in opposition to him, as one does in a democracy (and certainly to a lesser degree than Republicans did in opposition to Barack Obama — where for too many the issue was the color of his skin).

But most of these folks have not come to their senses.

It’s time. Already, as seen last night in Washington, D.C., Trumpists sparked violence.

If we don’t start seeing voices within the Republican Party having the courage to admit it is over and that Trump lost fairly, more violence will break out.

This isn’t just how we lose a democracy, it’s how we lose a nation.

It’s time for this end. There was no fraud. Joe Biden was fairly elected president. The Electors will meet in 50 states on Monday and certify that result.

America, in the middle of the worst crisis in a century, needs to turn its focus to fighting COVID and restoring the economy.


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