Commentary: The Importance of Doug Mastriano

by Jeffrey Lord


Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor — that would be state Sen. Doug Mastriano — is under attack by the establishment elite for not being … part of the establishment elite. And, of all people, the Republican Governors Association has signed on for the attack.

For those who have not followed the tale, Mastriano is a 30-year active-duty combat veteran who retired as a colonel in the Army. Apart from being deployed to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm (1991), assigned to the U.S. forces liberating Kuwait, in the post–9/11 world he was assigned to NATO and had three tours in Afghanistan. He ended his military career as a professor at the U.S. Army War College, in nearby (to me) Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He has four master’s degrees and holds a doctorate in history.

In 2019, retired from the military, he ran for the Pennsylvania state Senate from his central Pennsylvania district, winning in a landslide. In the spring of 2022, Mastriano ran in a nine-candidate race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, defeating the other eight candidates in a landslide with 43 percent of the vote.

And now? Now Mastriano is being accused of being — you guessed it — an “extremist.” The charge comes from his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. And, but of course, the usual establishment elites in the GOP and elsewhere on the right are taking aim at Mastriano for — oh, the horror — standing up for election integrity in a state notorious for voter fraud. And, I should note, having spent the past weekend at the Pennsylvania Republican state committee meeting chaired by state GOP chair Lawrence Tabas, a serious champion of party loyalty, that both gubernatorial nominee Mastriano and Senate nominee Mehmet Öz, or “Dr. Oz,” were greeted with huge applause.

Count among those establishment elites Wyoming’s Rep. Liz Cheney of the authoritarian Jan. 6 Stalin-esque show trial (who was overwhelmingly defeated in her GOP primary) and “conservative” Washington Post columnist George F. Will. Cheney said, “We have to make sure [Doug] Mastriano doesn’t win.” Will as well has apparently become a serious champion of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, writing that Mastriano’s demands for election integrity represent “a special danger to the nation.”

Pennsylvania, as I have repeatedly outlined in this space — as here — has a serious, well-documented history of voter fraud in its elections, though Will will not say a peep about that genuinely serious “special danger to the nation.” As I noted:

In the 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2008 elections, not to mention back there in the dinosaur age of 1994, there were repeated examples of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. All seriously documented.

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway’s bestselling book, Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Electionsreports this on the “abundant” reasons to suspect the Pennsylvania 2020 election was rigged in favor of Democrats, as I stated in a previous article:

  • The Trump campaign in Philadelphia, per a Commonwealth Court judge, was deprived of its “statutory right to have poll watchers present at places where electors cast and submit votes in person” and in “unparalleled” numbers.
  • Ballot harvesting is not allowed in Pennsylvania. Yet Philadelphia allowed it. The notoriously partisan Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro — now the Democrats’ nominee for governor in the 2022 election — said that objecting to ballot harvesting was now suddenly “illegal voter intimidation.”
  • The Democrat Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the “Democrats in Philadelphia did not have to allow the Trump campaign any observation of the vote counting.”
  • “The Trump campaign had a legal right to observers within a reasonable distance from the counting,” Mollie writes. “Why did election officials in overwhelmingly Democratic Philadelphia go out of their way to deprive the campaign of that right?”

Note well, again, this sentence about Mastriano’s Democratic opponent, Shapiro:

The notoriously partisan Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro — now the Democrats’ nominee for governor in the 2022 election — said that objecting to ballot harvesting was now suddenly “illegal voter intimidation.”


For opposing all this monkeying with election integrity — it is, no kidding, Mastriano who is being called an “extremist” by Shapiro and other establishment elites.

Will, blithely ignoring both the rigging games cited above in Pennsylvania’s 2020 election and its serious history of voter fraud in one election after another long before former President Donald Trump arrived on the scene, as cited specifically above, is horrified — horrified! — that a Gov. Mastriano would use his power as governor to put a stop to all this in a demand for election integrity.

And for opposing all this, Mastriano is accused of being, yes, but of course, an “extremist.”

No less than the Republican Governors Association is failing to do the basics of its supposed job — supporting GOP nominees for governor. The New York Times reported:

The Republican Governors Association, which is helping the party’s nominees in Arizona, Michigan and six other states, has no current plans to assist Mastriano, according to people with knowledge of its deliberations.

About the Mastriano campaign, Republican Governors Association co-chair and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is quoted as responding this way:

We don’t fund lost causes and we don’t fund landslides…. You have to show us something, you have to demonstrate that you can move numbers and you can raise resources.

Got that? The Republican Governors Association’s job, according to Ducey, is to ignore a 43-percent primary victory from grassroots Republican voters because, well, sniff sniff, you know, Mastriano and his voters aren’t the establishment GOP elite’s favorites.

God forbid that Pennsylvania would have a Republican governor who vows to stand up for honest elections.

But there’s even more here in these charges that Mastriano is an “extremist.” Where have I heard this allegation before? And from Republican establishment elites exactly like today’s Ducey? And who was the Mastriano-style target? I just happen to remember.

As I recorded here in this space in a 2015 column about then–new candidate Trump, there were these jewels from establishment GOP elites of the day targeting, yes indeed, then–presidential nominee Ronald Reagan. Much of them are from Steven F. Hayward’s book The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964–1980Let’s revisit:

  • Vice President Nelson Rockefeller dismissed Reagan as “a minority of a minority” who “has been taking some extreme positions.”
  • New York’s Republican Sen. Jacob Javits said that Reagan’s positions were “so extreme that they would alter our country’s very economic and social structure and our place in the world to such a degree as to make our country’s place at home and abroad, as we know it, a thing of the past.”
  •  Illinois Republican Sen. Charles Percy said Reagan’s candidacy was “foolhardy” and would lead to a “crushing defeat” for the Republican Party. “It could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in American political life,” he said.
  • Former President Gerald Ford said, “I hear more and more often that we don’t want, can’t afford to have a replay of 1964.” He argued that if the Republican Party nominated Ronald Reagan, “it would be an impossible situation” because Reagan “is perceived as a most conservative Republican” and “[a] very conservative Republican can’t win in a national election.” When asked if that meant Ford thought Reagan couldn’t win, Ford replied to the New York Times, “That’s right.” The Times story went on to observe that Ford thought “Mr. Reagan would be a sure-loser in November” and that Reagan held “extreme and too-simple views.”

And all of the above comments from GOP establishment elites of the day were on top of similar attacks on Reagan from the media of the day.

From the New York Times to the Chicago Daily News to Harper’s Magazine, the New Republic, even National Review, and more, Reagan was ridiculed and smeared as some sort of extremist nut who could never win and would be a disaster if he did. In Ford’s case — he was running for election in 1976 against Georgia’s former governor, Jimmy Carter — not only did Ford lose the national election, but yes, indeed, he lost Pennsylvania to Carter. Reagan would go on to carry not only the nation by 44 and 49 states, respectively, but also Pennsylvania twice in those 1980 and 1984 elections.

All of which is to say, Mastriano, like Reagan before him, is no extremist. As a Pennsylvanian myself, I have met him up close and personal and listened to several of his speeches, in which he says things like this, as recorded in a recent interview: “Democrats have a penchant for calling all their opponents wherever they live in America radical extremists…. They’re the extremists.” He also noted that during Shapiro’s six years as attorney general, “crime has gone up by 37%, including record numbers of homicides in Philadelphia.”

Bingo. And when it comes to Shapiro’s lack of action on crime, note well this recent headline from just this week out of Philadelphia, per the New York Post:

Watch rampaging youths ransack Philadelphia Wawa, twerk on counter

The Post story reported this, bold print for emphasis supplied:

Philadelphia police said they responded and found approximately 100 juveniles inside the Wawa, stealing and damaging store merchandise. The officers dispersed the crowd but made no arrests.

No arrests after suspects caught — on camera no less! — destroying a Wawa? Now that’s extremism at work, with the attorney general nowhere to be seen.

And where else is this extremism on display?

Extremism is the Biden-run FBI’s swarming Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry and confiscating his cell phone. No objection from Shapiro.

Extremism is Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman using his power as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and as the chair of the Board of Pardons to pardon convicted murderers. All of this while Shapiro sat silent.

And on and on the Left’s endless extremism goes, with Mastriano’s opponent signing on for all of it. From being silent on everything from Pennsylvania’s serious sex trafficking and fentanyl problems to the freedom-crushing business lockdowns and mandated masking of children, both of which the attorney general supported, Shapiro and Fetterman are the very definition of far-left extremism.

The bottom line in this race to be Pennsylvania’s next governor? Mastriano is a seriously accomplished candidate who has devoted his life to the service of his country and his state. He proudly wore the uniform of the United States Army for 30 years — but, typically, his appearance at a costume party in Confederate uniform is what his elite opponents focus on. And, in Shapiro, Mastriano faces a genuinely extremist Democrat whose only experience is a lifetime as a professional politician, saying whatever he feels he needs to say to get elected — and then moving on to the next election rung.

The fact of the matter is that Mastriano, like Reagan and Trump before him, is carrying the flag for freedom, getting government off the backs of Pennsylvania taxpayers, and standing up to fight the seriously alarming rise in crime, which was illustrated again just this week with that rampaging — and unarrested — mob in that Philadelphia Wawa.

No wonder the establishment elites and the Republican Governors Association can’t stand him.

But it is clear that there are Pennsylvanians aplenty around here who think a Gov. Mastriano is exactly — exactly — what Pennsylvania needs.

Can he win? Yes. Can he lose? Yes.

But in either case, the real long-term question is whether the establishment elites, who run, in this case, everything from the Republican Governors Association and the left-wing media to woke corporations, should continue to get support from grassroots Republicans when, in fact, the Republican Governors Association and others like Cheney are devoted to defeating their own grassroots to make the GOP a party of elites, by elites, and for elites.

The election can’t come soon enough.

And regardless of the results, this fight against establishment elites — which Ronald Reagan waged so relentlessly — will go on.

– – –

Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at [email protected] His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
Photo “Doug Mastriano” by Senator Doug Mastriano.




Appeared at and reprinted from The American Spectator

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