Only One Philly Ward Liked Both Obama and Bernie

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Here’s a strange nugget from yesterday’s primary results: 6 out of the 7 wards* where a majority of voters cast ballots for Bernie Sanders … went for Hillary Clinton back in 2008.  In some cases, the change between elections was staggering.

Take the three most-decidedly pro-Sanders wards: 31, 18 — which are neighboring wards covering the Fishtown/Port Richmond area — and 1, which connects Pennsport and East Passyunk (ed note: It’s where I voted). Look at the disparity in Clinton votes during the past two contested Democratic primaries within each of those blocs: Read more »

Sen. Toomey to Meet with Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee

Pat Toomey; Merrick Garland

Pat Toomey (left) says he’ll meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but he won’t vote to confirm him.

Pat Toomey has taken a beating in the wake of Merrick Garland‘s nomination to the Supreme Court. His Twitter mentions are a series of jabs from Democrats tweeting #DoYourJob. He’s taken almost a month of attacks from the three primary Democrats vying for his senate seat.

That’s because Toomey has been steadfast in his decision for the last month: He’s not going to vote for Garland, saying it should be up to the next president. After Garland was nominated, Toomey said he wouldn’t even meet with him. But, today, Toomey released a statement changing his mind: He would meet with Garland.

But don’t get too excited, Democrats. Toomey still isn’t voting for Garland’s confirmation. He said in a statement: Read more »

What They’re Saying: Pennsylvania Pols React to Obama’s Pick for Supreme Court

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, stands with President Barack Obama as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, stands with President Barack Obama as he is introduced as Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

Today, Barack Obama made one of the most important decisions of his presidency: In his final NCAA tournament poll, he picked the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA Championship.

Oh, wait. He also nominated Merrick Garland for the vacant spot on the Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died last month.

The president has even launched a website section — complete with FAQ! — about Garland’s qualifications. Notably, it includes a quote from ultra-conservative Sen. Orrin Hatch praising Garland as a possible pick for the Supreme Court.

Naturally, the Republicans don’t want to confirm Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. They have cited the Thurmond Rule, a guideline that judges shouldn’t be confirmed in the run-up to an election, though that guideline generally refers to a six-month time period. Basically: The GOP would rather have a conservative nominate the next Supreme Court justice, and it’s close enough to the election that Republicans can probably stall until then.

As such, Mitch McConnell said the GOP won’t even hold hearings on Garland. Republicans have a majority in the Senate, which needs to confirm Supreme Court nominees, and they plan to sit this one out. Read more »

Is Donald Trump Driving Up GOP Registration in Pennsylvania?

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Why are so many Pennsylvania Democrats fleeing to the Republican Party?

PennLive reports that nearly 46,000 Keystone Dems have flipped their registration to the GOP since the beginning of 2016 — a phenomenon writer Colin Deppen attributes largely to enthusiasm for the candidacy of Donald Trump.

“With the increase in support in exit polls for Trump among working class, blue-collar Democrats, it is my belief that these are people who fall into that genre,” Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, told Deppen.

Other possibilities: That disaffected Democrats have left, repelled by the party’s liberalism. Or that Democrats who have long voted Republican and are just now getting around to making the switch.

Let’s offer a fourth possible reason: The Obama Era is over. And a lot of the “Democrats” switching to the GOP might’ve been Republicans before Obama arrived on the scene.

What seems to be forgotten: As the Clinton-Obama primary battle approached in Spring 2008, the ranks of Pennsylvania Democrats actually increased by more than 111,000 voters in just six months. At the time, AP reported, “more than 68,000 registered voters changed their affiliation to one of the major parties, with those switching to Democratic registration outpacing those turning Republican by more than 3-1.” Back-of-the-envelope math on that three-to-one ratio means roughly 50,000 or so Republicans and independents became Democrats that year.

Maybe some of those folks have decided to return home?

Not that the Trump phenomenon should be easily dismissed. “This has no parallel in modern history,” Madonna told PennLive. “You couldn’t make this stuff up.”

Clinton, Trump Lead Among Pa. Voters

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the leading presidential candidates in Pennsylvania, according to a new Franklin & Marshall poll.

Primary election day is still two months away — April 26 — but Clinton holds a sizable lead over opponent Bernie Sanders among likely voters, 51 percent to 29 percent. Trump’s margin is much lower over a still-divided Republican field: He clocks in a 21 percent of likely Republican voters, compared to 18 percent for Marco Rubio, and 16 percent each for John Kasich and Ted Cruz.

Philadelphia is proving to be bulwarks for both front-runners, according to the poll: Clinton attracts 59 percent of the metro area’s Dems, while Trump commands the support of 50 percent of area Republicans — by far his most concentrated pocket of support in the state.

The survey had an error range of plus or minus 3.1 points. Read more »

Jonathan Papelbon Owns an “Obama Can’t Ban These Guns” T-Shirt

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon after being ejected form the game for hitting Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (not pictured) with a pitch in a September 23rd game.

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon after being ejected form the game for hitting Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (not pictured) with a pitch in a September 23rd game.

Jonathan Papelbon is at the height of Wildwood boardwalk fashion.

The former Phillies closer was traded to the Washington Nationals in July of last year, was disappointing as the team’s new closer, then got into a dugout fight with NL MVP Bryce Harper late in the season.

He’s still the Nationals’ closer for the 2016 season. And at the start of spring training last week, Papelbon held a press conference apologizing for his role in the fight with Harper last year. “I was in the wrong,” he said.

But, according to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, Papelbon had an idea for a shirt he’d wear to the press conference: One with cut-off sleeves that read, “Obama can’t ban these guns.” Read more »

Philly Is Winning at Enrolling People for Obamacare

HealthCare.gov

HealthCare.gov

Philly is among the nation’s leaders in enrolling residents for health insurance, the White House announced this week. Signup for Obamacare coverage during the 2016 year ends today.

The city joined Milwaukee and Detroit in signing the most new residents for health insurance, White House officials said, though they told Philly Mag today they don’t yet have an exact number. The communities were among 20 big cities challenged by the White House in November to raise their health insurance enrollment rates during the signup period. Read more »

Obama, Wolf Say Syrian Refugees Welcome

President Obama speaks during a press conference in Turkey. (WhiteHouse.gov)

President Obama speaks during a press conference in Turkey. (WhiteHouse.gov)

In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, President Obama and Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf said today that the nation — and state — will continue to accept refugees from war-torn Syria.

They promised, however, that the open-door policy would be accompanied with an eye on security.

“Even as we accept more refugees, including Syrians, we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks,” Obama said in a press conference in Turkey. “We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves, that’s what they’re fleeing. Slamming the doors in their faces would be a betrayal of our values.” Read more »

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