As another presidential election approaches, America once again has to lead the world this time facing new challenges that seem bigger than anything before in our lifetimes.
Despite the media’s obsession with the presidential primary race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, a number of state races are just as important to our future in the Lehigh Valley. Seven talented Democrats with very different backgrounds are running in the April 26 Primary for U.S. Senate and Attorney General. Five candidates from both parties filed for their respective primary ballots to succeed retiring State Rep. Julie Harhart in the 183rd District across northern Northampton and Lehigh counties.
In this contest of problems and decisions, we Democrats are solidly committed to values that were passed down to us generations ago. Americans faced the Great Depression along with World War II and we prevailed because WE AMERICANS ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
We Democrats stand for:
- Rebuilding a resilient economy on the foundation of a broader, stronger and more stable middle class;
- Strengthening small businesses that create local jobs;
- Vastly improved access to higher education and training, ensuring citizens can thrive individually and collectively;
- Safeguarding women’s rights and equal protection under the law for everyone;
Transitioning to clean, renewable energy sources that reduce carbon emissions and protect clean air and water;
- Foreign policy that emphasizes international relationships rather than unilateral actions which lead to a permanent state of military conflict;
- Balancing the budget while lowering property taxes in PA by closing tax loopholes;
- Ending governmental gridlock and getting the job done by the politics of inclusion, not the politics of obstruction.
We Democrats remember that our policy differences within our party and between our own candidates are minor compared to the policy proposals of the opposition.
We remember that America has always prevailed when we fought together for justice, not on behalf of any single group’s ideology.
Above all, we Democrats operate on the knowledge that every person is a potential ally in the solution of problems, not a potential enemy.
As a reminder of what’s at stake in November, the modern Republican Party stands in stark contrast to these principles. Donald Trump, the current ring-leader of the circus our opposition has become, uses fear along with racially and religiously divisive language to motivate potential voters.
But the surprising success Trump has enjoyed only highlights his most vociferous and hateful renditions of the same themes shared by his nearest front-runners, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Trump, Rubio, and Cruz all share the same basic views on the major issues of the day.
The Republican front-runners ignore the scientific evidence, consensus and potential solutions for climate change. They support mining and drilling our land and off our shores for the cheapest possible energy sources, even those known to poison our air, water, and citizens. They want to continue or even expand subsidies for fossil fuel industries that are making record profits while condemning incentives for a nascent renewable energy sector.
The GOP leaders oppose rights for workers and collective bargaining claiming the “free market” will make sure workers get what they deserve from large, corporate employers. Meanwhile, they prescribe lower taxes on large corporations and the wealthy, despite most of these wealthiest citizens and businesses using numerous loopholes and subsidies to already pay a significantly lower effective tax rate than struggling middle class Americans.
Republicans scapegoat immigrants and Muslims for our problems, suggesting if we build a giant wall or apply a religious test that it would solve everything. They seek to expand and escalate our involvement in military conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere with no end in sight. Ignoring those new terrorist groups such as ISIS formed in consequence to our decade-plus interventions.
Rather than suggesting improvements to health care access and containing long-term costs, they repeatedly seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act and with it the protections ensuring Americans with pre-existing conditions or on limited incomes can afford coverage and preventive care.
Democrats should vote their preferences for President, Senator, and Attorney General on April 26, remembering the values that unite us as our strongest connection to our shared humanity.