Tuesday, May 21, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called attention to Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional district, though he may regret it.

Pennsylvania held a special election for the House of Representatives today. As expected, Republican candidate Fred Keller won handily in the state's reddest district—although not by quite as much as the 70% Trump crowed about on Twitter in an attempt to take credit for the victory. 

For Trump to mention the district at all may have been a political miscalculation, though. The seat was vacant because its former member, Tom Marino, resigned in January. Marino's political fortunes were damaged after Trump nominated him to become Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a position better known as the nation's "drug czar." In that position, Marino would have been leading the White House's efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

But as investigative reporting quickly revealed, Marino had authored legislation that crippled the DEA's attempts to investigate the pharmaceutical companies responsible for massive overprescription. Marino pocketed almost $100,000 in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies for his efforts on the bill. Trump, who appeared to have nominated Marino on the basis of being an early supporter, was forced to withdraw the nomination. 

Trump held a rally in the district last night—theoretically for Keller, but really for himself. Both Marino and Keller were far more popular with their voters than Trump himself is, though. He would lose Pennsylvania to Joe Biden by double digits, according to a poll taken last week by Quinnipiac University. (Most other Democrats also led Trump in that poll.) 

That may explain why, at yesterday's rally, he begged the crowd to remember that the Pennsylvania-born Biden "left you for another state, and didn't take care of you." Biden was eleven years old when his family moved to neighboring state Delaware.

Why does this matter?

  • It's wrong to take credit for things you had nothing to do with.
  • Jobs affecting the health and safety of Americans should go to qualified people, not political supporters with lobbying ties to the industry they'd be regulating.