#PAGov: Why the Growing Attention to Allyson Schwartz’s Conservative Streak is Important

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Rich Wilkins thinks it doesn’t matter that Allyson Schwartz is the most conservative member of the PA delegation:

I’m not looking for a partisanly pure candidate, or an ideologically ideal candidate. I want a winner. That’s it. Give me 70% of what I want, and a slam dunk win, and you’re my candidate. Beating Corbett is all that matters. I’m voting for Mr. or Mrs. Electable. Showing you can withstand the bright-lights of the primary, beating back the negative attacks, and building an organization is what matters right now. Raising money matters. Being an 83% vote instead of an 85% vote is nitpicking.

The reason this matters is because the argument the Schwartz campaign wants to make is that we should tolerate the significant electoral liabilities she’d have as the general election nominee, because she’s the more progressive candidate.

That’s how the trade-off for these things usually works. Maybe you sacrifice some partisan purity in order to get a more electable candidate, or maybe you sacrifice some electability to get somebody whose record lines up closest to the base’s policy priorities.

The growing attention to Schwartz’s conservative streak is so dangerous to her campaign because it shows you get neither of these things if she’s the nominee. You get all her Congressional voting history baggage, but you don’t even get a more progressive candidate for it. It’s not at all clear what advantage you get picking Schwartz.

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6 Responses to #PAGov: Why the Growing Attention to Allyson Schwartz’s Conservative Streak is Important

  1. Sean Kitchen says:

    There are economic issues I’d compromise on like cutting some taxes, granting businesses some benefits to move into an area and whatnot, but social security and safety net programs should never be on the table. Schwartz has a record following her on economic issues that goes back to when she was first elected to the House, and her healthcare votes also has me wary.

    She has good records on trade and social issues, but she has a glaring weakness when it comes to her economic record.

  2. bender says:

    I can’t shake the feeling that Schwartz is the democrats tom Corbett. She can manage to say enough of the right things on the campaign trail to garner support for the nomination but she is basically an empty vessel. I just can’t imagine the state being run any differently with her as governor.

    • Sean Kitchen says:

      Another argument that was brought up. How “progressive” will her cabinet be? Who will head the DPW? DEP? Someone from the energy sector? Economic Development? Someone from the building trades? How about Department of Health?

      Her cabinet positions aren’t going to be too progressive.

      • Jon Geeting says:

        On cabinet appointments, my main worry is that she’ll prioritize Schwartz loyalists over getting the most talented people. That’s how its worked with the campaign it seems.

  3. Tsuyoshi says:

    If all you want is someone who can beat Corbett, honestly, I believe anyone in the big four (McCord, Schwartz, Wolf, McGinty) can do it. It might be off your radar if you don’t have school-age children (the local media is not covering this issue well at all), but Corbett’s education cuts have been catastrophic pretty much everywhere outside the Main Line. K-12 school funding has essentially doomed Corbett’s reelection. There are few sure things in politics, but Corbett losing the election is one of the surest things I’ve ever seen. I really don’t think electability should be a top concern in this primary.

    That said, McCord and Schwartz (both experienced politicians) seem to understand Corbett’s vulnerability here, more so than McGinty or Wolf. I would expect them to be better at exploiting it.

    Anyway, specifically with Schwartz, I guess her liabilities are supposed to be that 1) she’s from Philadelphia and 2) she ran an abortion clinic. (Maybe I’m missing something?) I know Republicans are salivating to run against her, but I think they are greatly underestimating the popularity of 1) living in Philadelphia and 2) having only as many children as you want.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      The liability is the long Congressional voting record which contains plenty of process votes they can lie about. Imagine the mailers: “Allyson Schwartz voted to raise taxes 600 times!”