Progressive Democrats in Pennsylvania, if they actually exist, should support Malcolm Kenyatta for U.S. Senator

I will be voting Green regardless, because the Democratic Party is where progressives go to be co-opted and because it is ever more apparent that the Democrats are most comfortable in opposition where they can take pot shots at Republicans without actually having to do anything themselves. But were the Democratic primary for U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania to be decided on the merits, there is little question in my mind that Malcolm Kenyatta is the superior candidate.

For learning whether it is possible for a progressive can win a statewide race in Pennsylvania, John Fetterman is likely the better shot.[1] But this would be to value political over ethical considerations; Democrats have done this for far too long.

I still don’t see these fracking jobs that Fetterman and Conor Lamb are so worried about protecting; I am sure I would and I flatly don’t think they even exist. I think the worry about protecting those jobs is a lie, not merely the withholding of information in deception, but the intentionally misleading misstatement of fact.[2]

I also retain deep doubts about that incident in Braddock, where as mayor, and in classic white supremacist style, Fetterman chased down and held a shotgun to a Black jogger.[3] He again refused an apology[4] that he should have offered profusely, long ago.

In Dec. 2013, [John] Fetterman chased a Black jogger in his pickup truck after hearing what he thought were gunshots while playing outside with his son, according to media reports. He then held up the unarmed man, Chris Miyares, with a shotgun while waiting for police to arrive.[5]

When, as I often do, I drive through Braddock, where Fetterman was mayor prior to winning statewide election as lieutenant governor and where he still apparently lives, I still see a town beset by blight. Its sole significant industry is U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson plant, an aging contributor to Monongahela River Valley (“Mon Valley”) pollution problems that employs workers who live not in Braddock but rather commute in from out of town. I see a couple of COVID-19 denying taverns in town, as well as two small, mostly invisible affordable housing complexes.

The shell game that starves local municipalities of badly needed money[6] is one thing; what I see few signs of in in a 69-percent majority Black population[7] in Braddock is meaningful and effective Black empowerment. I suspect Fetterman instead of “white savior complex.”

And so, I join those who doubt Fetterman is a “true” progressive. I think he is mostly performative. Marijuana remains legal only for medicinal purposes in Pennsylvania, despite his alleged efforts.[8] His illegal draping of a rainbow flag from his office window[9] accomplished nothing for LGBTQ+ folks. That he can point to an obstructionist, indeed Trumpist, state legislature[10] serves merely as yet another example of my reason for voting Green.

  1. [1]Gillian McGoldrick, “New Pa. U.S. Senate poll: John Fetterman pulling ahead as Democratic favorite, GOP race still wide open,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 14, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/04/14/fetterman-pulls-ahead-as-democratic-favorite-gop-pa-senate-race-still-wide-open-in-april-f-m-poll/stories/202204130138; Daniel Strauss, “Is Conor Lamb Collapsing Against John Fetterman in Pennsylvania?” New Republic, April 21, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/166164/conor-lamb-collapsing-john-fetterman-pennsylvania
  2. [2]Sissela Bok, Lying (New York: Vintage, 1999).
  3. [3]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  4. [4]Julia Terruso and Jonathan Tamari, “5 takeaways from Thursday’s Pennsylvania Democratic Senate debate,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pa-democratic-senate-debate-fetterman-lamb-kenyatta-20220421.html-2
  5. [5]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “It is what it is,” Not Housebroken, December 31, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/31/it-is-what-it-is/
  7. [7]Census Reporter, “Braddock, PA,” 2020, https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US4207992-braddock-pa/
  8. [8]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  9. [9]John L. Micek, “‘Flag Police’ acting at GOP’s urging, took down Pride Month flags, Fetterman tells donors,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 2, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/flag-police-acting-at-gops-urging-took-down-pride-month-flags-fetterman-tells-donors/
  10. [10]John L. Micek, “‘Flag Police’ acting at GOP’s urging, took down Pride Month flags, Fetterman tells donors,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 2, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/flag-police-acting-at-gops-urging-took-down-pride-month-flags-fetterman-tells-donors/

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