Recently, a group of former Republican office holders banded together to help elect a pro-choice, center-left, Trump-hating Democrat to the office of Governor. I know a few of them by name, and have no idea who any of the others are, but the Inquirer informed me in a glowing collective profile that they are intent upon saving the commonwealth from Doug Mastriano, and the sort of people who would vote for him. 

Call this the “Franklin Project,” a local version of the national “Lincoln Project” whose sole goal was to prevent Donald Trump from remaining in office. Good luck to them in trying to get Josh Shapiro ensconced in the governor’s mansion. And like the beloved character in “Clueless” once told us: as if. 

As if it’s going to work. Because the majority of people who are voting for Shapiro don’t need any assistance from a group of has-been country club Republicans who have managed to burn their bridges with the conservative movement in Pennsylvania. 

READ MORE — Christine Flowers: Philly’s mayor looks forward to leaving mess he created

These are the folks who tried to get Kathy Barnette tossed from the Senate primary because she was too “radical” and would have guaranteed a Democratic win in November. These are the folks who were conspicuously silent when a Trump-abetted Supreme Court majority fulfilled the wishes of every social conservative in the state since 1973: overturn Roe. These are the folks who think it’s okay to look down on the majority of voters who aren’t watching the January 6th hearings because they don’t see any balance, and who will not be influenced by what emerges from that biased spectacle. 

These are the folks who, if we are to be honest, likely agree with what President Obama said in an unguarded moment about the people who cling to their guns and their religion. And these are the folks who wince whenever someone says that cultural issues are high on the list of their concerns when deciding who gets their vote. They don’t like Ron DeSantis and the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. They were happy that Glenn Youngkin won in Virginia because he wasn’t closely aligned with Trump. They weren’t exactly thrilled that Mehmet Oz was the senatorial choice in the primary because, well, he’s a famous reality TV star and we all know what happens when they get into office.

I am aware that some might think I’m generalizing, given the fact that the reason most of the “Never Dougers” have explicitly stated that their only goal is to keep Mastriano from winning the governorship. Some of them might be pro-life, although none have been known for their full-throated support of the unborn. Some might actually support those feisty parents at School Board meetings, and think that the vaccine mandates were unconstitutional, and that the shutdowns were counterproductive. The vast majority of them are for small government, and hate the sort of bloated budgets that are the hallmark of Democrat administrations. They grew up, comfortable and contented, in the moderate-red, comfortably civilized southeastern regions of the commonwealth, with a smattering from the west and the Lehigh Valley. They would just as soon support AOC as they would attend a BLM rally.

But the prospect of Doug Mastriano, someone who Josh Shapiro has characterized in a tweet as a man who “bussed” (should be “bused”) what he called “rioters” to the capitol on January 6th, “crossed police barriers” and “defied law enforcement” (exact words) is so abhorrent to them that they have formed a coalition of establishment patriots to massage the electoral process. In other words, they want to use their money and their voices to keep those pesky social conservatives, blue-collar Republicans, and non-woke folk in line.

I wish all of those pro-Shapiro Republicans luck in their efforts to “Democratize” the state. And I’ll do everything in my power to guarantee that it’s bad.

They recognize Shapiro. He looks like them, sounds like them, has lived the same lives that they have, in precisely the same way. They’ve likely even attended the same dinners together, and maybe even their kids play on the same softball teams, or go to the same summer programs. It’s cozy.

Mastriano — for whom I did not vote in the primary and who is on the extreme end of things by any measure — is not the sort of fellow they can stomach. To be honest, he’s not my cup of tea. But I respect his military service, his work as a legislator, and he doesn’t have me running scared about “Christian Nationalism.” That’s another troubling aspect of the “Never Dougers.” They seem to be adapting the leftist playbook of religious bigotry, without actually coming out and saying that Christians are scary. 

But even though I’m not a huge Mastriano fan, I will vote for him. The reason I will vote for him has less to do with him than it does with my refusal to have someone patronize me into voting for the “safe” choice, the “mature” candidate, the one that will make the suburban mommies in their SUVs heave a sigh of relief that their abortion rights will be safe and codified.

So I wish all of those pro-Shapiro Republicans luck in their efforts to “Democratize” the state. And I’ll do everything in my power to guarantee that it’s bad.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

14 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: No thanks, Never-Dougers”

  1. Yes, nailed it. At the core of the never-trumper crowd are just angry has-beens who don’t disagree on policy mostly but rather that they don’t get to run things anymore. R committee should take names and do more than “censure” them, perhaps lifetime ban from party functions. Let them go hang out at their club.

    1. It’s astonishing that you think Donald Trump’s involvement in the January 6th Capitol riot is nothing. Doug Mastriano was at that rally and he tried to steal Pennsylvania and give it to Trump after he lost our state. Josh Shapiro is what saved PA from being stolen. Donald Trump has no business anywhere near power again. He lost in 2020 and the fact that he’s still saying he won makes him insane. Doug Mastriano is a dishonorable man himself.

      1. The democrat controlled PA supreme court changed PA election laws pertaining to mail in/drop off ballots. That caused a lot of questionable ballots to be counted.

  2. At least Pennsylvanians will have a choice in candidates. Apparently this group of people is only for choice if it concerns a woman and her baby.

  3. Christine you say:
    “Mastriano — for whom I did not vote in the primary and who is on the extreme end of things by any measure.” mmmm, He is not extreme. Senator Mastriano follows the Bible, the moral commandments.. He answers to a higher power.. That is not “extremism,” its called FAITH.. TRUE, PURE, RIGHTEOUS FAITH.. not the watered down, “all in this together science matters, god does not until I am on my deathbed”, faith.. He knows, as do I, as do many Mastriano supporters, that we all WILL answer to a higher power in the end.. All of us, whether one wants to believe it or not. That said, by anyone, including the lame attack commercials, claiming Mastriano is “extreme,” is really attacking his faith.. he cannot, nor should he back down on baby killing, or anything else that would violate his morals and ethics,.. as I said, answers to a higher power in the end. And he knows it.. Faith over fear… always.

    1. I am not motivated to vote for Mastriano at this point in the election cycle. Apparently there are a lot of folks who would be happy to vote Republican who feel similarly. I think this is best shown by the fundraising flop that is his current campaign. Because of his lack of money he has abandoned the airwaves to Shapiro – and Shapiro is painting the picture of who Mastriano is without having to worry about a counter punch. A stronger gubernatorial candidate would probably be in a position to beat Shapiro. Unfortunately, it appears that will not be the case this time around.

      1. Well, sadly, I feel that people in general, are so far removed from their souls, that they wouldn’t recognize light, truth, and the Lord, if he walked among us. I don’t mean that statement in a judgement way, I just mean, WE, the GLOBE, are lost.. all of us.. and if God and the love of the holy spirit walked among us, knocked on our door, bumped into us a grocery store, I sadly believe most of us would be blind. Humanity has fallen that far from grace. Its not a red vs. blue issue, but a fall from grace.. a humanity issue.

        I plan on voting for Mastriano, because he is different.. because he stands for what he believes in, even if the establishment/his own party/or anyone else doesn’t like him for that.. I don’t care anymore to vote for the person who raises the most money, talks the correct talking points, DOES NOT offend.. no thanks.. Looking for different… RINOS can pound sand.. Their days are numbered.

    2. I’m not attacking his faith. That’s a ridiculous statement particularly if you e read anything I’ve ever written. I love it when I get attacked by left and right for the same column. Rashomon indeed.

      1. By saying he is an extreme candidate, whether you understand what you said or not, you are attacking his faith.. Mastriano is who he IS BECAUSE OF HIS FAITH, AND PEOPLE CALL HIM EXTREME BECAUSE OF HIS BELIEFS. BECAUSE OF what he says, how he behaves, his stance on abortion, etc.. His morals and values come directly because of his faith.. it made him the man he is.. So when YOU say he is extreme, you are attacking the MAN… and what made him WHO he is.. Capice’?

  4. The last time Josh Shapiro ran for re-election as a Montgomery County Commissioner, he and his running mate campaigned on not having raised taxes for many years. Then, within days of being re-elected he voted to raise taxes by about 10%. He had to know he was going to do that during the campaign.

  5. When the other side is running “hate” ads, what are they hiding?
    Mastriano is my choice for GOV.

  6. Is it possible that voters in Pennsylvania will not notice the similarities between Shapiro and his mentor, Wolf? They are two peas in the same pod, except that Wolf at least had some experience in the private sector to temper his collectivist political proclivities. Shapiro has done NOTHING HIS WHOLE LIFE except attend school, work for a politician or be a politician. Is that the professional resume we want as our chief executive? Higher taxes and administrative fees will follow Shapiro’s campaign promises to lower taxes. Carbon taxes, gasoline and other fuel oil taxes, sales taxes, everything will be on the table to more effectively feed the beast that is our state government. Abortion mills will be doing a land office business. (Maybe they can hire Dr. Gosnell to work his magic on the black population by granting furloughs periodically.) He will install a cabinet full of affirmative action “yes men/women”. He will make sure that election laws are not applied to his favored electorate. In other words, his administration will be Wolf redux with a vengeance. Say what you will about Mastriano, he served the country honorably for many years, including combat experience, retiring with the rank of Colonel. He has been the subject of scurrilous and libelous attacks by the leftist media, yet has not a whiff of scandal about him or anything in his personal life. Shapiro has been suckling at the public teat his entire adult life, “serving” (an ironic term in this context as all he has ever done is live off the taxpayers’ dime) in elected office exclusively since 2004. I will vote enthusiastically for Mastriano, and believe that a majority of my fellow Pennsylvanians will do likewise.

  7. Doug Mastriano took part in and supported an insurrection and attempted to stop the smooth transition of power that is the staple of our democracy. These actions broke his Oath of Office and he really should be removed from his current elective office and from the November ballot.

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