For 100 years, the League of Women Voters has chosen to support democracy by working to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and the participation of an informed electorate.
The league has fought to end gerrymandering, and is in the forefront of the most important federal and state voting rights cases around the country. Two of the major projects of the LWV Education Fund, Fair Districts PA (www.fairdistrictspa.com) and Vote411.org are focused on creating a transparent and fair redistricting process, and on providing online election-related information and assistance in both English and Spanish.
As a nonpartisan organization, the LWV does not endorse any candidate for office, nor align itself with any political party. Since the beginning, our message has been simple and direct: Vote!
This year, however, many voters are troubled by uncertainties that may affect the casting, collection and counting of their ballots in the general election. In response to those concerns, the LWV recently joined with the ACLU, the NAACP and Common Cause in a Commonwealth Court case to affirm Pennsylvania’s use of drop boxes for collecting mail-in votes and the way mail-in ballots were collected and tabulated in the June primary.
The league is also urging all eligible voters to take action now to be sure that you can cast a ballot for the candidates of your choice, and that you can vote in the manner of your choice. Attending to these details sooner rather than later will allow time for you to verify the receipt and accuracy of your documents on file with the Cumberland County Bureau of Elections before the anticipated flood of inquiries and materials they may receive as Election Day draws nearer.
You can do all these things quickly and confidentially at www.Vote411.org, the league’s website for voters and prospective voters. You can register, update and verify personal registration information, request and track your mail-in ballot, locate your polling place and view a list of candidates. The site has links for volunteering to be a poll worker and for reporting election day problems.
You can also access these resources through the website of the Cumberland County Board of Elections at www.ccpa.net or by contacting them at 717-240-6387.
Election Day 2020 will be a big day for Pennsylvanians. We’ll have the opportunity to vote for president of the United States and Pennsylvania’s attorney general and treasurer, and for their representatives to the U.S. Congress, the state Senate and the state House of Representatives. Prepare to participate. Vote!
What were you doing the night of Saturday, March 19, 1977?
Like 21.2 million other Americans, I was watching the final episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Watching it and making a nerdy audio recording of it for posterity. Sure, I didn’t anticipate the cassette keepsake having such an eardrum-assaulting HUM on it, but at least I felt like I was a part of something historic. And maybe I should use the tape’s hum even today to drown myself out when I spontaneously start singing, “It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go…”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The 50th anniversary of the premiere of the show is coming up on September 19. Even though the late Moore was already famous for playing Laura Petrie on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” who could have guessed when she bumped “Petticoat Junction” from the CBS Saturday night schedule that her eponymous sitcom would last for seven seasons, spawn three spinoffs, provide a template for future workplace comedies, garner 29 Emmy Awards and make a sex symbol out of Ed Asner? (Okay, four of five ain’t bad.)
Moore’s character (liberated thirtysomething Mary Richards) dated – but she was an inspiration to countless girls and young women who chose to focus on their careers and self-actualization rather than settling down with the first Prince Charming who would “rescue” them. After umpteen dateless nights in high school and college, I was starting to think that not only Mary Richards but also Jane Jetson, Ethel Mertz, Phyllis Diller, Morticia Addams and Miss Nancy on “Romper Room” were inspiring girls to make me a low priority. (“As soon as I’ve made a million dollars in my career watching paint dry, maybe you can take me out.”)
I don’t know that I was fully conscious of the influence at the time, but in retrospect, I’m sure the gang in the fictional WJM TV newsroom had an impact on my majoring in broadcast journalism in college. (Of course, that was only after I couldn’t find a university with a doctorate program in “Movin’ on up to the east side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky…”)
The writing on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was smart, sophisticated and socially relevant. And it’s a blessing that we have reruns preserved in amber on Hulu, so we don’t have to harbor pointless dreams of a remake. Do we really need to hear “The F-word’s all around, no need to waste it” or see a jubilant Mary toss a Molotov cocktail instead of her tam into the air? Would we want Chuckles the Clown coming back to life and writing a bestseller about his visit to heaven? (“A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your…er, gown.”)
Highly promoted series finales have become standard now. But when “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ended, it joined “The Fugitive” as one of the few shows that offered closure to loyal viewers. All those shows featuring castaways, genies, nose-twitching witches, Martian uncles and caped crusaders just ended unceremoniously. Of course, maybe that’s a blessing. (“Wiiiillllbuuuurrr – Soylent Green is horses!”)
Thank you for reading this far in my ramblings. You’re gonna make it after all…oh no! The dreaded last-paragraph drift to the crossword puzzle!
I hope there’s no clue for “pluck, spirit, mettle.” I HATE spunk!
As ambivalent as I am about a Donald Trump victory — or, for that matter, a Joe Biden one — there is one scenario I would enjoy: What if Trump was reelected thanks to support from Hispanics?
Now, I should say this is only a remote possibility. There’s zero indication Trump can win a majority of Hispanics nationally. Biden currently has about a 20-point lead among Latino voters nationwide. But the whole reason the thought comes to mind is that Biden is underperforming among the fastest growing demographic group, even at a time when he is generally doing better than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and has been holding a steady lead over Trump for months now.
The biggest worry for the Biden campaign is that Trump is actually leading among Hispanics in Florida, a crucial state for Democrats and an absolute must-win for Republicans. This is largely because Cuban-Americans tend to be more supportive of Republicans more than other Hispanic groups, and Trump’s anti-socialist rhetoric probably has special appeal to a community with long memories of Castro’s takeover of Cuba.
But the fact that Trump is doing well with Hispanic voters in Florida highlights an important point: Hispanics aren’t a monolithic group. Cuban-Americans are very different than Mexican-Americans and Mexican-Americans are very different than Puerto Ricans.
This is true culturally — just ask some of them! — but it’s also true as a matter of public policy. The national media often makes it seem like Hispanics generically care about immigration with equal intensity simply by virtue of the fact that they’re Hispanic. But Cuban-Americans historically had a special carve-out in immigration law (until 2017 when Obama ended the “wet foot dry foot” policy as part of his overture to Cuba). Puerto Ricans may care about immigration for principled reasons, but it’s worth remembering that Puerto Ricans aren’t immigrants. They’re U.S. citizens.
Anyway, you get the point. So why would I enjoy it if Hispanics voted decisively for Trump? Because it would make some people look like idiots and force pretty much everyone to rethink their locked-in positions on not just immigration but on identity politics generally.
Much of the intensity around the immigration issue in recent years has stemmed from the belief that Democrats want “open borders” so they can import evermore Democratic voters. There are thoughtful and non-racist versions of this argument and there are dumb and very racist versions of it as well. But it’s gotten to the point where it’s mostly just a lazy talking point.
But it’s a persuasive talking point to many people because so many Democrats talk as if that is precisely their thinking. As Peter Beinart noted in a 2017 essay for the Atlantic, “As the Democrats grew more reliant on Latino votes, they were more influenced by pro-immigrant activism.” In 2008, he noted, the Democratic Party platform condemned illegal immigration. In 2016, the platform didn’t even mention it. According to many Democrats, the word “illegal” has a nativist and offensive tinge.
I hate most of Donald Trump’s rhetoric about immigration and immigrants, but wouldn’t it be wild if it turned out to be more offensive to rich white liberals than to the actual targets of his diatribes?
Meanwhile, the racists who tell me — usually in ALL CAPS — that importing brown people is suicidal and that’s why we must support Trump would, to borrow a phrase from that great Cuban American, Ricky Ricardo, “have some ’splaining to do.”
And so would the progressive activists and politicians who think they can summarize the views and attitudes of a huge, and hugely diverse, group of human beings.
Again, I wish Trump wouldn’t use racist rhetoric about immigration. But if Hispanics voted for him in large numbers despite that rhetoric and despite his immigration policies (or even because of them), it would deal a mortal wound to the claim that wanting to enforce immigration laws or making our immigration system slightly more restrictive is racist.
Lastly, Hispanics themselves would benefit in the long run simply by virtue of the fact that both parties would now compete for their votes.
I understand this is a hard argument to make with Trump in office for a lot of reasons, and I personally wish we were talking about a different Republican presidential candidate. And it’s not going to happen this time, anyway. But Trump’s relative success with Hispanics suggests it could happen someday, particularly with a Hispanic GOP nominee. And that’s something to hope for.