So the election is over and not much has changed. Voter turnout was low (what’s new?) and Philly’s Democratic Party reined supreme.
If it weren’t for the proposition to vote on keeping the Office of LGBT Affairs open, I honestly would have sat this entire race out in protest. Most of the seats were either uncontested or already a done deal – but again, what’s new for Philly politics?
But yet again, my friends on social media acted as if this election was “very important this time.” Because “democracy.”
Growing up, my mother used to ask what I wanted for dinner as if I actually had a choice. I still had to pretend like I had one and participated enthusiastically. That’s what voting feel like in Philly.
So who really won the election? Clearly not Andrew Stober or any other third-party candidate.
The winner’s name isn’t even on the ballot, but his money is all over it. Congratulations, John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty – you just purchased yourself more political capital at the expense of the general public!
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney owes his win to the infamous labor boss, and union support shaped his entire campaign. Very soon, Dougherty’s electrician’s union Local 98 will have to negotiate contracts with Kenney. How do you imagine that will turn out after all that money it took to guarantee Kenney’s win?
Let’s just say I’m banking on the unions to own Kenney this upcoming term given that he doesn’t have the best record on standing up to such influence.
Speaking of money and influence, guess whose brother got elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court? Not a coincidence or a shock (as the press tried to make it seem), but Kevin M. Dougherty, Doc’s brother, was the top vote-winning Supreme Court candidate statewide.
Sure, Kevin is a respected Common Pleas Court judge … but let’s get frank here –his brother’s money made all the difference. This was the most expensive state Supreme Court race in American history, and over $300,000 in campaign funding came from electricians unions or Johnny Doc’s strong-arm, same thing.
So we have a mayor-elect and Supreme Court justice whose power (among many others) are going to be in debt to one influential union boss.
If you were elected to office and wanted to stay in power, who would you be quick to prioritize: a low voting population who will vote for you anyway? Or the union boss who has the power to build up another opponent to go against you?
And that’s why Philadelphians lost this election cycle. We don’t have the voting power or money to dissuade our elected officials to do better by us.
Clearly this isn’t our entire fault; there are vultures among the ranks that clearly would like to keep it that way. City Commissioner Chairman Anthony Clark, got re-elected on Tuesday as well – will he actually show up to work this term?
Either way, our only hope is to watch our new mayor-elect’s initial moves critically. They say, “follow the money,” but I think we should all follow the motives.
This piece expresses the views of columnists, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metro US.