If you have ever watched Braveheart, you have at least a general idea of the state of play between Scotland and England in the late 1200’s. They were locked in an ‘on-again, off-again’ war in which the Scots were not only victimized by repeated English invasions but betrayed by their “leaders” the Scottish nobles, who often sided with the English against the Scottish people. Ultimately, it fell to William Wallace and other Scottish patriots to lead a popular uprising and to defeat the English threat.
In Pennsylvania, the GOP base finds itself in the same position as the Scots seven hundred years ago. And it is still waiting for its Wallace.
In 2019 the Pennsylvania state legislature, controlled by GOP majorities in both houses, passed Act 77. As part of a backroom deal with the Democrats, the GOP establishment moved Pennsylvania to mail-in voting and opened the door to massive electoral fraud. Subsequent decisions by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Secretary of State stripped out what protections still existed to ensure the integrity of the vote.
What happened next is well known. In a state where rallies for Donald Trump drew tens of thousands and enthusiasm for Joe Biden was virtually non-existent, Trump somehow lost and Biden won. Electoral anomalies were legion. A report following the election found that votes counted exceeded the number of people who actually voted by over 200,000.
The results of the November 2020 election remain disputed. The best that can be said perhaps is that we still have no idea who really won the Presidential race, and the possibility that Biden stole the election remains very real.
The Republican base in Pennsylvania knows all that. They are furious. They are white-hot. They have been mobilized for almost fourteen months now and demanding that their representatives act to investigate what happened and to ensure it never happens again.
The GOP legislative majorities in Harrisburg have done nothing. They have blown smoke, postured, and claimed to “feel the pain” of the party’s base. They have made no effort to take the state back to in-person voting. They have conducted no meaningful investigation of what took place in 2020.
One of the key figures in the legislature is Senator Jake Corman, known affectionately to the base as “Jake the Snake.” Corman has undercut all efforts to take meaningful action. He has spewed meaningless rhetoric, stalled for time, and assumed the people will ultimately lose focus, walk away and allow him and others to continue with business as usual in Harrisburg.
Only days ago, Corman was reelected to his position as President Pro Tempore of the state senate. He has already been sworn in. A man reviled by the vast majority of Republicans in Pennsylvania was confirmed in his position as the third most powerful man in state government. If there is a more offensive way in which the establishment could “give the finger” to the Republican rank and file I have no idea what it is.
Meanwhile, in Harrisburg, the Democrats are moving aggressively to capitalize on the results in 2020. Governor Wolf has brought in a new Secretary of State named Leigh Chapman. As Secretary of State theoretically she should be a non-partisan guardian of election integrity. In fact, she is a Democratic Party operative who has spent her professional life pursuing the agenda of stripping out all protections from the voting process and institutionalizing electoral theft.
It is not simply that the GOP establishment has failed. It is not just that the GOP establishment has not solved the problem. The GOP establishment is the problem. There is a divide – the size of the Grand Canyon – between the people who make up the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and those individuals in Harrisburg who claim to represent them.
All over Pennsylvania for the past year, a vast number of Patriot groups have appeared. They have held rallies. They have sent millions of emails and letters to their “leaders” and demanded action. They have gathered on the statehouse steps and voiced their demands for action to ensure the integrity of the ballot box.
Their “leaders” heard all of this. They ignored it all. Contemptuous of the very people they supposedly represent, they continued with business as usual.
The time for conversation has passed. The time for primary challenges and a clean sweep has come.
It is time for Wallace. Maybe many Wallaces. It is time for a rebellion within the Pennsylvania GOP.