Pennsylvania Townhalls

Town halls, etc.
We're going to share the mic. My name is Ryan, I'm from Bucks in Philadelphia as well. I live in Philly now. My question is, Trump is going to be Trump, and we're all aware of what's coming in the next few months and years. But what can the Democratic party do to do an actual autopsy? Like assess really why they lost, because they lost to a bigoted, orange orangutan that... (Applause)

It's so maddening that we have to be here, and take time out of my day to call the EPA, and write to the EPA, and call Scott Pruitt. And how can we adjust in 2018 and 2020 - adopt a progressive agenda. 42% who are voting Republican, prior to this election were registered Independents, and what is the Democrat Party going to do to incorporate them and bring them on board? And try to win again, because you're not going to with establishment strategies.

CASEY: You're right, we didn't as a party and I don't think it just played out in a particular election last year, I think it's played out over a long period of time where if...

(?): Philadelphia's 497th, that is an example right there. A district with 95% non-Republicans, 5% Republicans, and there is only the Republican on the ballot, the special election is March 21. Only a Philadelphia Republican in a 5% district, that is a problem...

CASEY: Let me just finish, there is no question that our party at the national level, and I include myself in this, has to do a much better job of focusing on issues that will allow us to grow our party, right? At least to grow it in terms of the votes we get.

Number one is, that's what I said before, we've got to focus on an economic message and have a program, or a substantive matter like an infrastructure bill. So that's one thing we've got to do. But there are also issues that, frankly we put - and I say we, I mean myself, a lot of my fellow Democratic Senators and others in the context of last year or the year before - is to go into communities and to talk about not just the broader economic issues, but also to talk about things in their life where they are not getting ahead for a lot of different reasons. One of them, for example, is broadband. If we live in a country where 40% of rural areas do not have high-speed Internet and its lower in Pennsylvania thankfully but it's still 20% of rural Pennsylvania doesn't have high-speed Internet. We should work on solving that problem.

We should work on solving the problem of declining or flattening wages. We've had a report for years now from the Public Policy Institute which said that wages went up in this country for 25 years between 1948 and 1973. In those 25 years after World War II wages went up 91%. So as production went up, wages went up with it. What happened since '73 according to this report - which they've updated over and over again - it wasn't 91% wage growth, it was 11% over 40 years. So if we live in a country that had over 40 years wages went up on average only 11%, we've got some work to do. And there's no question that had an impact on the last election.


So I get it that your concern is that we can't just approach things in a conventional way, but I think it does start with those economic issues and I think it does as well show we've got to engage with people. Have more engagement by Democratic officials in small towns and rural areas then we probably have today, and I include myself in this.

RYAN: It's more so than that actually, I think that's a very micro way to look at it and you've identified a few micro issues that are important obviously. But this is a bigger picture here, and how moving forward as a party does the Democratic party actually regain its integrity? Because to me they've lost it.

This is from transcription of the 3/12/2017 Town Hall with Senator Bob Casey, hosted at Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The text has been lightly edited for clarity. The transcriber was Travis Mitchell, please e-mail with any corrections. Several videos of the event are available on Facebook, the one with the best audio was posted by Alyssa Posoff and can be viewed here.

#Inequality, #DemocraticPartyReform, #BobCasey, #AnsweredCasey

District Keywords: Pennsylvania's Representative to U.S. Senate, Class 1

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