The Grave Implications of Pennsylvania’s Midterms


Widely viewed as the puny, less important cousin of the presidential election, midterms are often overlooked as merely a day off of school, an off-year in the election cycle. Yet, this year, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s divisive decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, midterm elections matter more than ever before. The maintenance of abortion in Pennsylvania lies in the hands of the ability of Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Josh Shapiro, to quell the rise of far-right extremism in the form of Republican candidate Doug Mastriano.


A Montgomery County native, Josh Shapiro, who currently serves as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, is a textbook Democratic moderate, campaigning on workers’ rights, supporting small businesses, strengthening the education system, queer rights, and most importantly in this election cycle: abortion rights.


Mr. Shapiro has garnered a host of support from fellow Democrats, and is even beginning to tear down the partisan divides that once had a chokehold on the state as he boasts several Republican endorsements. And while Shapiro’s rather centrist policies are in part helping him attract the Republican vote, this sudden GOP support can more plainly be attributed to our state party’s growing disdain for their own candidate, far-right extremist Doug Mastriano.


A 2014 photo of Mr. Mastriano smiling ear-to-ear in a Confederate uniform is only the latest in a string of scandals that have created tension between the nominee and fellow party politicians. A speaker at an event promoting Qanon conspiracy theories and a self-proclaimed Christian Nationalist advocating for the abolition of the separation of church and state, Mr. Mastriano most notably made headlines for his participation in the insurrection at the Capitol last January.


Extremist to the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mr. Mastriano has been working to end abortion in Pennsylvania since his time in the State Senate, but in a statement released following the Roe decision, he spoke only vaguely regarding the extent to which he plans to limit abortion. His incentive to hide his intention is obvious — only 15% of Pennsylvanians support the complete ban on abortion he intends to institute — but without his radical plans on the forefront of his campaign, he holds a significant chance at victory in November.


While Republican politicians who have a certain public image to uphold in the face of their constituencies are renouncing Mastriano, among the common people of Pennsylvanian, his popularity seems to only soar. Having built an online platform through his nightly Facebook live streams during quarantine, Mastriano has amassed a notable following of incredibly loyal supporters who are working tirelessly to ensure his election. If Doug Mastriano is able to achieve gubernatorial success, he will undoubtedly end abortion in Pennsylvania.


With that, all I can do is urge you to do is vote. Grab your parents, teachers, relatives, really, anyone you know above the age of eighteen, and beg them to exercise their civic duty and vote. If you’re like me, under eighteen and itching to make a difference, you can donate to Shapiro’s campaign or volunteer to be a poll worker come election day. The future of Pennsylvania lies in our hands. We must not squander this opportunity.