If there’s a state that embodies where Republicans’ dreams of a midterm “red wave” went to die, it’s Pennsylvania. Their election-denying, insurrection-attending Trump sycophant gubernatorial candidate lost in a landslide. Their carpetbagger-TV host-doctor U.S. Senate candidate got sent back to Jersey. After years in control of the state legislature, the GOP even lost its majority in the state House of Representatives, a thorough repudiation in a state where, outside of the cities in its southeastern and southwestern corners, most folks live in deep-red, rural counties.
Tossed from power for at least the next few years, Pennsylvania Republicans did the most Republican thing they can: voted to impeach Philadelphia’s twice-elected district attorney Larry Krasner, a Democrat and reformist prosecutor who, among other things, presided over the first-ever successful prosecution of a Philadelphia cop for killing an unarmed Black man and revitalizing a conviction integrity squad to look into convictions that relied on testimony by a police department that Krasner has described as committing “egregious misconduct” and “horrendous abuses of power.” Those things, of course, have made him really unpopular with Philly’s police union, which supported an opponent that Krasner easily trounced in the last Democratic primary for his seat in 2017.
And who, exactly, was it that propelled Krasner into office and then overwhelmingly voted to keep him there? That’s right, Black and Hispanic voters. Philly’s population of about 1.6 million is just about 60 percent Black or Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of just over 1 million registered voters there, more than 800,000 are registered Democrats. It’s those people— left-leaning Black and brown voters who have had it with the bullshit in Philly’s police department and from mostly-white Republican legislators from the sticks—that those same legislators want to punish by proxy in trying to remove Krasner from office.
The biggest newspaper on the other side of the state, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, said it in plain English:
Twenty-five years ago, Philadelphia Police and the District Attorney’s Office had one of the worst reputations in the country. Frame-ups, lies, coerced witness testimony, planted evidence and other dirty tricks sent many innocent people to prison and death row. Where was the General Assembly then?
Mr. Krasner was elected because people in Philadelphia, especially people of color, were fed up with a corrupt and abusive law enforcement system. Now, Mr. Krasner has his own critics, including some in the communities that elected him. But it is they and the people of Philadelphia, not the General Assembly, who should determine how long he remains in office.
That’s coming from a newspaper whose editorial board ridiculously endorsed Donald Trump in 2020, in a county where Joe Biden won by the largest margin for any Democratic presidential nominee since Lyndon Baines Johnson.
As much as they claim it’s about crime, Pennsylvania’s Republican legislators don’t actually give a shit how many Black people die by gunfire, in Philly or elsewhere. The Post-Gazette op-ed points out that though far smaller by population, gun violence in Pittsburgh, where as in Philly, the majority of victims are also Black men, has climbed by similar rates in recent months. But conservative legislators haven’t voted to oust the local district attorney there—a Democrat who’s been in office for a generation—because he’s largely unpopular with Black voters and hasn’t made a point of going after not just individually awful cops, but policing culture like Krasner has.
Before the midterms, Republicans talked a big game about about election integrity. In Pennsylvania they ran a candidate for governor who vowed to prevent voter fraud (there was none) and bring back election integrity (it had never gone anywhere). But if there’s anything that proves their alleged concern about Democracy is all BS, it’s what they’re trying to do to Larry Krasner, and the people who put him in office.