Pennsylvania Republicans try to kick black Philadelphians in the teeth before they leave office

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks to members of the media during a news conference in Philadelphia, Thursday, October 13, 2022.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks to members of the media during a news conference in Philadelphia, Thursday, October 13, 2022.
photo: Matt Rourke (AP)

If there’s one state that epitomizes the place where Republicans’ dreams of a halftime “red wave” died, it’s Pennsylvania. Your election-denying, insurgent Trump sneak gubernatorial candidate lost in a landslide. Your insidious TV presenter and doctor candidate for the US Senate was sent back to Jersey. After years of controlling the state legislature, even the GOP lost its majority in the House of Representativesa thorough rejection in a state where most people live outside the cities in the southeast and southwest corners in deep red, rural counties.

The Pennsylvania Republicans, thrown out of power for at least the next few years, did the most Republican thing they could: voted to indict twice-elected Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a Democratic and reformist prosecutor who, among other things, led the first-ever successful indictment of a Philadelphia police officer for the murder of an unarmed black man and revived a conviction integrity unit to investigate convictions based on testimony from a police department that Krasner has described it as “egregious misconduct” and “horrific abuse of power”. These things, of course, made him really unpopular with Philly’s police union, which backed an opponent Krasner easily beat up for his seat in the last Democratic primary in 2017.

And who exactly was it that propelled Krasner into office and then voted overwhelmingly to keep him there? Right, Black and Hispanic voters. Philly’s population of about 1.6 million is only about 60 percent black or Hispanic, according to the US Census Bureau. From just over 1 million registered voters there, more than 800,000 are registered Democrats. It’s these people — left-leaning black and brown voters who got it off their sticks with the bullshit at Philly’s police department and from mostly white Republican lawmakers — who want to punish those same lawmakers by proxy by trying to remove Krasner from office.

The largest newspaper across the state, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, said it in plain English:

25 years ago, the Philadelphia police and prosecutors had one of the worst reputations in the country. Conspiracies, lies, coerced testimony, planted evidence, and other dirty tricks have landed many innocent people in prison and on death row. Where was the General Assembly then?

Mr. Krasner was elected because the people of Philadelphia, especially those of color, were fed up with the corrupt and abusive law enforcement system. Now Mr. Krasner has his own critics, including some in the communities that voted for him. But it is they and the people of Philadelphia, not the General Assembly, that should determine how long he remains in office.

That comes from a newspaper, its editors ridiculously endorsed Donald Trump in 2020in a county where Joe Biden won the widest margin for a Democratic presidential nominee since Lyndon Baines Johnson.

As much as they claim it’s about crime, the Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania really don’t give a damn how many black people die from gunshots, in Philadelphia or anywhere else. The Post-Gazette commentary notes that gun violence in Pittsburgh, where, like Philly, the majority of victims are also black, has been increasing at a similar rate in recent months, despite a much smaller population. But conservative lawmakers haven’t voted to oust the local district attorney there – a Democrat who has been in office for a generation –because he is largely unpopular with black voters and has placed no emphasis on prosecuting not just individual horrible cops, but also a police culture like Krasner.

Before the midterms, Republicans talked a big game about election integrity. In Pennsylvania, they fielded a candidate for governor who promised to prevent voter fraud (there was none) and bring back the integrity of the election (it had never gone anywhere). But if there’s anything that proves their supposed concern about democracy is all bogus, it’s what they want to do to Larry Krasner and the people who put him in office.