Can Pennsylvania's John Fetterman Turn Politics Around?
This Senate campaign meets the MAGA challenge—meeting relentless bullying, nastiness, and negativity that is designed to make voters bitter about the America they live in with humor and kindness
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My John Fetterman tee shirt arrived yesterday.
As you may know, Fetterman is a gigantic, progressive Democrat in a hoodie, tattoos, and cargo shorts. Currently the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, he hopes to replace Republican Pat Toomey in the United States Senate in November. Toomey is retiring, and with Donald Trump’s blessing, Pennsylvania Republicans made their lives far more difficult at the end of May by choosing the wrong candidate: they spurned former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick, who might have picked up independents in this generally moderate state, in favor of TV doctor Mehmet Oz.
You probably know about all the baggage that Oz brought into the race: a skilled cardiologist at one point in his life, he turned his back on medicine to become a talk show host, wellness guru, and shill for the diet and supplements industry. Want to sleep better? Oz can sell you a $2500 mattress for that, as well as sheets, pillows, weighted blankets, and everything else that will guarantee a good night’s sleep.
OK, if you have ever suffered from a sleep disorder, you know that’s a lie. But there’s more—perhaps you are feeling fat? Maybe you should consider System Oz, a wellness, intermittent fasting, and exercise program that will help you lose weight in an amazingly short time. It will cause you to need a great many dietary supplements from Dr. Oz’s business partnership with iHerb. Want to be young? Beautiful? Have whiter teeth? Less Alzheimers?
Oz has you covered: there will be more supplements involved. Lots more. Oz’s financial disclosure pegs his fortune at somewhere between $75 and $300 million.
So, Mehmet Oz knows supplements. What he doesn’t know much about is politics, campaigning, or governing. He’s one of the mini-Trumps running around the country—J.D. Vance in Ohio, Blake Masters in Arizona—whose sole qualification for office is that he is rich. Bizarrely, the poor, non-college educated, working-class white people who identify as MAGA Republicans seem to love voting for people who are insanely rich and who know nothing about government.
Due in part to the horrible campaign Oz has run, Fetterman currently has a comfortable, 9-point lead, according to 538.com. Despite the fact that he was felled several months ago with a heart attack and a stroke, had to come off the campaign trail, and is only now re-emerging on a limited schedule, Fetterman’s lead has shrunk a bit in recent weeks, but not much. Why?
OK—here is the answer you will not hear from any other pundit. Because his comms—politico-speak for “communications”—are so funny.
Fetterman’s style is a breath of fresh air in a line of work that seems to attract every Gloomy Gus in America, not to mention every Ivy League graduate who wants to tell you that your life is no longer worth living because Joe Biden is President. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Ted Cruz.)
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