How can you not be revolted by today’s Republican Party? After acquitting Trump on charges that he abused his powers, in the face of overwhelming evidence, the GOP is now gleefully egging on his campaign of retribution and sighing contentedly as he unleashes his worst authoritarian instincts.
At moments like these, November can feel a long way off. But if you want to channel your disgust and your anger into productive action right now, there’s something you can do: Help elect union plumber Harold “Howie” Hayes to the Pennsylvania state House next month.
On March 17, the Keystone State will hold a special election in the 18th House District, located in the Philadelphia suburbs. The seat became vacant when its former representative won a different office last year—one of more than a dozen Republicans in the chamber who’ve decided to bail rather than seek re-election.
Please donate $3 to help Howie Hayes beat Republicans and turn Pennsylvania blue!
Better still, this area has a history of supporting Democrats at the top of the ticket: It voted for Hillary Clinton by a 53-44 margin in 2016, and supported Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey by more than 20 points apiece in 2018. And here’s the key stat: Thanks to big gains two years ago, Democrats need to flip just nine seats to take control of the 203-member House this fall, despite the GOP’s extreme gerrymander. If we win in March, that figure shrinks to eight.
That’s where Hayes comes in. A committed Democrat and a member of Philadelphia Plumbers Local 690 since graduating high school, Hayes shares a background with many voters in these working-class suburbs. He believes the minimum wage needs to be a livable wage, he strongly supports women’s reproductive rights, and, as a plumber, he knows better than anyone the importance of clean water and a healthy environment.
Hayes has also witnessed two of the worst American plagues firsthand: His uncle, a police officer, was murdered by a gunman, and one of his apprentices died of an opioid overdose. These tragedies have made Hayes’ drive to end gun violence and the opioid epidemic a centerpiece of his campaign.
Of course, Republicans badly want to cling to this seat. That’s why they’ve nominated K.C. Tomlinson, whose chief qualification appears to be the fact that she’s the daughter of a popular local state senator, Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson. The GOP is banking on nepotism to keep this seat in its hands.
It’s also counting on low turnout. This election could have been consolidated with the state’s presidential primary, which is in April. But Republicans were in charge of setting the date, and they bumped it up several weeks because they feared tons of Democrats would show up at the polls to cast ballots in the presidential race. It’s voter suppression at its finest.
But we can throw that cynical move right back in their faces by doing everything we can to support Howie Hayes. And we can also show Republicans that their Trump sycophancy comes at a cost. They’re eagerly torching the Constitution, but they’re also lighting a fire under progressives who are burning to make the GOP face the consequences. Let’s make them very costly indeed.
Give $3 today to help win a key seat in Pennsylvania and send a message to Republicans: We’re going to make you pay a steep price for bowing down to Trump.