Political Tide: Democrats Struggle

By Shaun Pierce

Things aren't very good for Democrats in this area these days. With the history of union power and Democrats (both dwindling), it's often assumed that the GOP has a real disadvantage in Pennsylvania. However, history does not dictate the future.

With 'Bonusgate' in the news and national and local campaigns generating excitement with voters, Democrats are facing a strong challenge and may pay the price by losing their slim 102-101 margin in Harrisburg.

Republicans have run the Senate for almost all of the past 25 years. While it's true there are now more than 1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans in Pennsylvania, what Democrats have done with their power leaves many looking for alternatives.

The corruption charges and allegations attached to long time officials and once promising new comers give the GOP and tremendous opportunity to expand their influence and take Pennsylvanians out of culture of corruption.

As "Bonusgate" plays out, how much affect it will have on state House races remains to be seen. The allegations are that some House Democratic staffers, in 2006, spent days and even weeks working on political campaigns and later were illegally rewarded with at least $1.2 million in state-funded bonuses.

To date, all 12 arrests have been of House Democratic lawmakers or staff members, including the former No. 2 Democrat, ex-Rep. Mike Veon, and Rep. Sean Ramaley, both of Beaver County. As the pay raise outrage of the last election still smolders in some voters minds, the political tide may be turning.

Attorney General Tom Corbett has said additional arrests are likely, and some state officials expect them to hit before Sept. 30. The next round could deeper ensnare Democratic leader Bill DeWeese as he presided over this corruption. Some are already calling on Mr. DeWeese to step down as House leader.

Whoever wins, let's hope the culture of corruption ends, those in power serve the people and the Keystone state gets back on track.