This article originally appeared on PA Post.
Forget D vs. R when politics comes up at the dinner table
This month’s off-year election in Pennsylvania was fascinating — not so much because of the electoral shakeups in once reliably red or blue counties, but mainly because of all the new parties and political faces that showed up on the ballot … and won!
In Berks County, for example, instead of a blue wave or red army, the Libertarians painted their color (gray, maybe?) on the map. Channeling Ron Swanson’s limited-government energy, close to a dozen different libertarians ran in uncontested races this past election. They won Birdsboro and Kenhorst borough council seats and five township auditor seats. “One mission is to show people that our ideology and methodology works and that people can trust us to help run these governing units,” said the party’s county chairman, Jerry Geleff. Geleff conceded that it may seem out of place for the party of no government to be campaigning to run some government, but he was quick to note that most Libertarians believe a little government is necessary.
And while the greater Philly area saw a shakeup in historically Republican areas, arguably the largest upset (at least what most news organizations focused on) was Kendra Brooks’s election to the city council carrying the banner of the Working Families Party. Putting aside whether or not you agree with Brooks’s progressive platform, it will be interesting to see how the 14 council Democrats work with her and the two elected Republicans.
Finally, there was Paige Cognetti – an independent – who won the mayor’s race in Scranton. Cognetti, a Democrat, was spurned by the party machine in the city. So she switched her registration to independent and ran on boosting small business while also increasing funding for infrastructure (true middle of the road politics).
So if you’re looking to steer the dinner table political conversation away from the red vs. blue cliche, steer the topic to third party candidates and what their rise means in an increasingly polarized state and nation.