Why Fetterman is the better man

How the Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor can make the jump to senator

Joe Baske, Contributing Writer

Amid an onslaught of attacks following a lackluster debate performance against his Republican counterpart, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Pennsylvania’s Democratic senatorial candidate John Fetterman’s run to shift the balance of power in the Senate has started to stagnate.

While Fetterman’s eloquence has declined tremendously following a stroke he suffered in May, the left cannot overlook political competency with so much at stake.

Fetterman’s dedication to human rights and the preservation of democracy is evident in roughly every policy he’s either personally enacted or passionately pushed for.

As mayor, Fetterman officiated same-sex weddings in 2013 before it was legal to do so in his state, per The Advocate. Likewise, he is pro-union and a vocal supporter of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act – a policy that would enable workers to democratically organize for better wages and increased benefits, according to NPR.

In terms of health care, Fetterman is supportive of universal health care coverage, according to his website. Universal healthcare should sound appealing to anyone who doesn’t want to live their life with the impending threat of any uncontrollable health scare financially devastating their future.

Endorsed by prominent activist organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign as well as the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Fetterman is far from a moderate, run-of-the-mill Democrat content with the social state of the U.S. This is what should matter.

In a political environment where the left too often finds themselves forced to defend themselves against the impassioned political activism of the right, Fetterman’s proposals will constantly work to enact further progressive change as a direct counter to Republicans’ aggressive push to achieve the widespread revocation of human rights.

However, Fetterman’s senatorial victory is far from a guarantee.

Fetterman is far from a moderate, run-of-the-mill Democrat content with the social state of the U.S. This is what should matter.

— Joe Baske, contributing writer

After a Sept. 15, poll from polling website FiveThirtyEight revealed that Fetterman possessed 51.2% of Pennsylvania’s support in comparison to Oz’s 41%, the Hollywood personality has managed to creep his way back into contention, now facing a miniscule 1.1% deficit to his opposition.

The Oct. 26, senatorial debate between the two has played a crucial role in this dropoff.

After Fetterman’s stroke forced him to take three months off the campaign trail, the nominee made the choice to step back into the public light before fully recovering from the health scare – a decision that, while necessary, nonetheless provided his opposition with ample ammunition.

While on the debate stage, the lingering symptoms of Fetterman’s stroke were put on national display.

As a result of an auditory processing disorder sustained during the incident, the candidate relied on two oversized teleprompters featuring a live closed captioning system to process the questions of the moderators and responses of his opponent. The quippy, fast-paced nature of the debate essentially guaranteed that the night would be an uphill battle for Fetterman.

“Hello, goodnight everybody,” certainly wasn’t the most ideal of openers.

By the time the curtains had closed, Fetterman’s roller coaster of a performance had sparked doubt and confusion among voters.

Naturally, the Republicans desperately attached themselves to the aesthetics of the event, equating the soundness of Fetterman’s policy proposals with the quippiness and pizzaz with which he delivered them.

Fetterman’s fight to turn health care into a basic human right, raise the minimum wage, legalize marajuana and enact large-scale prison reform were nonchalantly overlooked by mainstream right-wing critics as they proceeded to hyper-focus on the insignificant optical mishaps of the recovering stroke victim.

This brand of devastating political cynicism has evolved into the norm not only among voters, but among media outlets alike.

As the November election date creeps closer, conservative media outlets have shifted their attention to degrading the Democratic nominee as a quiet concession to voters that they can’t actually find a way to speak positively on the man they’re supposedly in support of.

“Fetterman Failure: Why no one can spin his painful debate performance,” was the headline that dominated the cover of Fox News’ website following the debate.

“The Lieutenant Governor repeated he ‘supports fracking’ three times in one sentence at Tuesday night’s debate,” the articles’ subheadline reads.

In hyper-fixating on the minor oratory mishaps of a man in the midst of recovering from a stroke, right-leaning news sources have shown their hand. Such coverage exemplifies what can only be interpreted as Fox News’ best attempt to once again redirect the conversation away from the destructive political propositions of the candidate they’ve found themselves cornered into endorsing by ways of blind, uncritical party loyalty that has plagued the right in recent years.

What’s more: this race is bigger than Fetterman. The current Senate consists of 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two Independents – both of whom are currently caucusing with the Democrats. This divisive 50/50 split in political perspective has significantly decreased the efficiency with which policy can be passed, stagnating the political ambitions of both parties.

For spectators such as myself that don’t reside within the borders of Pennsylvania, this is what makes this race so important — its outcome won’t only influence the policy enacted within the singular state in which the election is being held, but will instead drastically alter the balance of power in one of the government’s most prominent political institutions.

With Republican Sen. Pat Toomay having already served two terms, his decision not to run for reelection has opened up a Senate seat that could play an integral role in the Democrats regaining the majority say.

A Democrat taking the place of the incumbent Toomay in Pennsylvania would play an integral role in the passing of progressive policy that this country desperately needs. This would follow the increased intensity with which the right has applied throughout their ongoing pursuit to force regressive policy down the throats of a nation overwhelmingly comprised of voters opposed to such practices.

In the midst of America’s ever-melancholic political atmosphere, voting out of contention for a candidate’s opposition has become a common ritual at the ballot. While Fetterman’s opposition – a celebrity doctor who decided on a whim to fulfill a fantastical impulse to run for Senate – certainly doesn’t make things difficult for this ever-expanding base of voters, Fetterman may be one of the few candidates truly worth getting excited about.