Want to Learn How to Run for Local Office? Start Here

iStock.com

iStock.com

If nothing else, Democrats and Republicans can agree on one thing right now: they aren’t happy with their respective parties.

In fact, even before the election, less than half of the nation’s Republicans and Democrats viewed their parties favorably, according to a Gallup Poll from May 2016. The poll found that only 44 percent of Democrats were pleased with their party (again, before the mess that was the 2016 Democratic National Convention and, you know, Election Day). Even fewer Republicans – 37 percent – were content with the GOP party, the poll found.  Read more »

Donald Trump Is the President America Deserves

Donald Trump

Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

Another day, another insult from president-elect Donald Trump.

As you have no doubt heard, on the eve of MLK weekend Trump took to attacking the legacy of civil-rights icon and Georgia congressman John Lewis:

At this point, I’m not surprised by ad hominem Twitter rants fired off by our next president. I’m more stunned by the continual fake shock espoused by my liberal friends on social media. Every damn day, I see white progressives post “Trump has gone too far this time” or “I’m scared for this country” or “We are now entering a dangerous America.”

I sit there laughing — often hysterically — but this weekend I couldn’t take it anymore. Read more »

Exit Interview: Pit Bull U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. | Photo courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office

In Philadelphia, Zane David Memeger is a feared man. During his six-year tenure as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he helped end the decades-long political career of Congressman Chaka Fattah, put Ironworkers Union boss Joseph Dougherty behind bars for extortion, and cleaned house at the city’s ticket-fixing Traffic Court. He’s also successfully prosecuted terrorists, human traffickers, pill mill operators and international arms smugglers.

This month, Memeger will step down. We talked to him Friday about the incoming Trump administration, how to clean up the city’s political system, and whether there is truly justice for cops who commit crimes. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Read more »

To Resist Trump, Fix Philly’s Elite, Boring, Anti-Competitive Democratic Party

Bob Brady, Leslie Acosta and Chaka Fattah.

Bob Brady, Leslie Acosta and Chaka Fattah. Photos Jeff Fusco, Pa. House, Matt Rourke via AP

Philadelphia’s Democratic Party suffers from the same cancer as the national Democratic Party. Only it’s arguably much more advanced.

Think the Democratic National Committee favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders behind closed doors? In Philadelphia, the Democratic City Committee paves the way for its preferred candidates out in the open, without any shame: Before the mayoral primary even started, Philly Democratic Party boss Bob Brady publicly threw his weight behind state Sen. Tony Williams. The party puts its thumb on the scales in Democratic primaries for the judiciary, City Council and General Assembly, too, and its endorsements matter even more in these races because so few people pay close attention to them.

Think the national Democratic Party turns a blind eye to corruption? Earlier this year, the Democratic City Committee endorsed Chaka Fattah for Congress after he was charged with using taxpayer dollars and charitable donations to pay back an illegal loan. How could the party do this, as its schools were starving and its constituents were sinking deeper and deeper into poverty? Oh, but it gets worse: This month, Philly Democratic state Rep. Leslie Acosta was reelected after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering at a mental health clinic in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Imagine how selfish you have to be to run for office after admitting to bilking the most vulnerable among us — and imagine how little she’ll be able to get done for her constituents, many of whom are Latinos and immigrants, now that she’s the laughingstock of Harrisburg. The list goes on and on. Over the summer, the FBI raided the offices of Democratic Councilman Bobby Henon and subpoenaed Mayor Jim Kenney’s campaign finance records. The feds are also reportedly investigating Democratic District Attorney Seth Williams.

Think the national Democrats are boring and not liberal enough? Let me introduce you to Katie McGinty, the uncharismatic Senate candidate who lost to Pat Toomey in an election that Democrats desperately needed to win in case of a Donald Trump upset. A lot has been made of the fact that McGinty, a moderate who supports fracking and is wishy-washy on sanctuary cities, received millions of dollars from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the primary. What has gotten much less attention is the fact that she was just as much a product of the Philadelphia Democratic Party as the DSCC. Everyone from Brady to former Gov. Ed Rendell to former Mayor Michael Nutter to numerous City Council members backed her in the primary over Democrats John Fetterman and Joe Sestak, two anti-establishment figures who might have fared better in a year in which people were clearly crying out for change. Read more »

Councilman Derek Green Introduces Bill Addressing Gayborhood Racism

Councilman at Large, Derek S. Green, Esq.

Councilman-at-Large Derek S. Green, Esq.

On the heels of the October 25th Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations hearing on Gayborhood racism, City Councilman-at-Large Derek Green introduced companion bills on Thursday that would tie a business’s ability to retain its commercial activity license to its adherence to the city’s existing Fair Practices Ordinance. Read more »

OPINION: As a Black Gay Man, I No Longer Support the Human Rights Campaign

Courtesy of Human Rights Campaign.

Courtesy of Human Rights Campaign.

Just one week before Election Day, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization — the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — is causing a stir. On Saturday, HRC president Chad Griffin, revoked the organization’s endorsement of Illinois GOP Senator Mark Kirk after Kirk made racist remarks against Democrat challenger U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth during a debate. This was the first time in HRC’s 36-year history that it had rescinded an endorsement of a candidate from either political party.

Read more »

Curt Schilling: I’ll Run for Senate Against Elizabeth Warren

Curt Schilling during his Wall of Fame induction at Citizens Bank Park on August 2, 2013.

Curt Schilling during his Wall of Fame induction at Citizens Bank Park on August 2, 2013.

Ed Wade famously described Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling as a horse every fifth day, and “on the other four days, he tends to say things which are detrimental to the club and clearly self-serving.” The reader was left to fill in the punch line: A horse every fifth day, and a horse’s ass the other four. Read more »

The (Too?) Careful Candidate: Inside Katie McGinty’s Senate Run

Photography by Will Figg

Photography by Will Figg

I have been getting some pretty weird emails from Senator Pat Toomey’s reelection campaign lately. There’s an anxious, almost desperate quality to them.

“Can’t sleep” was the subject of one from late June, which arrived a few hours shy of an important fund-raising deadline.

“Had to email you,” said another.

“Running out of time.”

“please … ” Read more »

Opinion: Marc Lamont Hill, I Can’t ‘Afford’ a Donald Trump Presidency

Photo of Marc Lamont Hill via Hill's website; photo of Trump via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Marc Lamont Hill via Hill’s website; photo of Donald Trump by Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons

Trailblazing Black gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin once said, “Let us be enraged about injustice, but let us not be destroyed by it.” In the midst of this presidential campaign, the Black community couldn’t be more enraged. Many rightfully feel as though neither major political candidate — Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump — will best serve the interests of the people. Some have taken it a step further by considering voting for a third-party candidate.

One of those individuals is Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, a powerhouse commentator and scholar on race and politics. But such a position is more dangerous for our community than he and others might imagine. Read more »

Meet the New Class of Latinx Political Leadership

philly-latinx-political-leaders-940x540

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times for wonkish Latinx folks like me.

With the Democratic National Convention just two weeks away, there’s a certain amount of exhilaration at the prospect of the Party’s P-A-R-T-Y in Philly.

But it’s also depressing. No, I’m not talking possible SEPTA nightmares (though there is that). It’s just that, as a Latina, I’m unlikely to be seeing more than a handful of mi gente among the ranks of the party’s top pols.

The sad reality is that I’d have a better chance of that at the Republican National Convention. Chew on that for a while (especially given the GOP’s not-so-friendly-to-Latinxs policies). From rising star governors Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval to former presidential contenders Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the GOP has cultivated a deeper Latinx bench — where top pols are concerned — than the Dems.

Oh, sure, cabinet members Thomas Perez and Julian Castro and Congressman Xavier Becerra have been named as potential VP picks for Hillary Clinton, but nobody — not even representation-starved Latinxs — are betting that any of them will actually be selected for the number two post.

And that lack of bench is not just a national thing.

Precious few of Pennsylvania’s pledged delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and none of the superdelegates, are Latinxs. Councilwoman María Quiñones Sánchez, and State Representatives Ángel Cruz and Leslie Acosta are the pledged delegate exceptions … but where are the young, up-and-coming Latinxs? Where is the next generation of Latinx political leadership?

The answer is that the new Latinx political class is still in the wings, laying the groundwork for the future from within the party, behind the scenes, and at the grassroots.

I hope in the next number of months to highlight folks in the city and region who are beginning to make their mark politically, but I start with three engaging — and engaged — Latinxs.    Read more »

« Older Posts