There is a truism in the world of political journalism that “elections matter.’’ But when elections go to the highest bidder and districts are safely gerrymandered, this phrase no longer rings true.
The budget stalemate proves it. For four years, Tom Corbett and his GOP legislature manufactured a $2 billion deficit, cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy with no plan to pay for them. Tom Wolf ran against this foolishness and won. The people spoke loudly that they wanted to make those who could afford it pay their fair share, so that communities could pay teachers, police and firefighters, so that there would be money to pay for crumbling roads and bridges, so that pensions could be funded and Pennsylvania’s state universities could be preserved.
If elections mattered, there would be no budget impasse.
But GOP legislators know that their seats are safely protected by a gerrymandered map and a phalanx of wealthy donors, and they are willing to bet on it. They would rather destroy Pennsylvania’s great public universities than make their donors pay their fair share.
Let’s put their political calculus to the test. Majority Leader Jake Corman is driving this cynical budget impasse, this economic war on Penn State employees and students. Call him, write him, petition him; let him know that elections matter.
The war to take back our democracy from the corporations and billionaires that stole it from the people begins right here in our backyard and it begins now.
Matt Jordan, State College