Can Josh Shapiro Conduct an Effective Campaign Swing for Malinowski in late October?


Full disclosure:  I am an unabashed, enthusiastic full-throated supporter of Pennsylvania’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro.  Without question, he is the national Democratic star of Campaign 2022.

In October, 2020, I authored a column, “Could N.J.’s neighbor give America its first Jewish president?”

In this column, I gave fulsome praise to Josh for his unsurpassed stardom as Pennsylvania attorney general, triumphing in landmark litigations of national significance.  And I gave him my ultimate compliment:  I called him the Roberto Clemente of politics!  Finally, I predicted that in 2022, Josh would be elected Governor of Pennsylvania and go on to become a presidential candidate on or before 2040.

To understand the significance of the Roberto Clemente moniker, one must realize that like every other Jewish boy growing up in Pittsburgh or its environs, I had two dreams as a child: Growing up and playing right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates, like the Great Roberto and becoming the first Jewish president.  Pirate fans are relieved that I never played for the Buccos, and MAGA thugs are glad that I never ran for public office!

Now an interesting note on Josh’s gubernatorial run: There already has been a Jewish governor of Pennsylvania, and his last name was Shapiro!

I speak of Milton Shapp, the cable television magnate, Democratic governor of Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1979.  His original last name was Shapiro, but he changed it to Shapp early in his business career to avoid antisemitism.   Shapp was an effective governor, and he ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1976.  When it came to charisma, however, Shapp always ran a huge deficit, and his campaign got nowhere.   By contrast, Josh Shapiro is charisma on steroids.

A personal note on Josh:  I knew his father, Steve when we were in high school!  We were both leaders in a Jewish organization, Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA), the boys’ branch of B’nai B’rith Youth.  I grew up in suburban Pittsburgh, while Steve lived in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.  I even remember the name of his chapter: William Gerber AZA!  I doubt that Steve remembers me, since I am eminently forgettable.  Today, he is a pediatrician in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where Josh lives also.

Now Josh’s Republican opponent, Doug Mastriano, is a vile, repulsive, despicable antisemite and election denier.  Mastriano would have been a perfect poster child for the fascistic, Nazi sympathizing movement of Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s and 1940s. The combination of Mastriano’s negatives and Josh’s positives guarantees that Josh will win a landslide, with a double-digit margin.

Josh’s campaign has been masterful and a perfect template for other Democratic candidates throughout the nation.  There are three principal issues in this campaign: 1) the economy; 2) the threat to democracy posed by Donald Trump and the MAGA movement; and 3) abortion.  While the economy issue works in favor of the Republicans, the threat to democracy and abortion issues are major winners for the Democrats.  And Josh is getting his message through on these issues, loud and clear.

With four weeks to go, like most candidates destined for landslide victories, Josh can afford to spend a small portion of his time to assist other Democrats whose help could be vital to him in the future.  Certainly, he will devote some time to the Pennsylvania Democratic US Senate campaign of John Fetterman, who remains in the lead but whose victory, while highly likely, is not certain.

Another good use of Shapiro’s time would be to campaign for Democrat Tom Malinowski reelection in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District.  An assessment of where the race currently stands is vital to understand how valuable Shapiro’s assistance could be.

In every respect, the Malinowski campaign has strongly outpaced and outfought the Tom Kean, Jr. campaign.  In terms of message, the Brad Lawrence – Steve DeMicco team once again has the best commercials in New Jersey.  As for fundraising, where Kean, Jr. should be way ahead, Malinowski continues to lead.  In terms of enthusiasm, Malinowski is also comfortably ahead – just look at social media postings and volunteer efforts.

But the real Malinowski advantage rests with the communication by the candidates themselves.

Malinowski has been a superstar on the stump.  His knowledge of foreign and domestic issues is encyclopedic.  His courage is undeniable.  His style of speaking is absolutely engaging.

As for Tom Kean, Jr, he has been a candidate communication disaster.  Donald Trump is a ten-ton albatross around the neck of Tom Kean, Jr.  Kean’s stance on the abortion issue has been mangled beyond belief.  And he has been a model of cravenness in failing to repudiate MAGA extremism in the GOP and in avoiding the media.

This is the opposite of Tom Kean, Sr., who smartly sought to communicate directly with his critics and cultivate them.

The Junior Kean is a decent man with an above average knowledge of policy.  But in taking on Tom Malinowski, he is a light heavyweight fighting a heavyweight, punching way above his weight.

Junior Kean’s pathetic performance is reminiscent of the 1962 play of Marv Throneberry, an amiable but incompetent first baseman for the original New York Mets.  On his birthday, the Met players congratulated him but admonished, “We were going to get you a birthday cake, but we were afraid you would drop it.”

So with all these discrepancies, why is all the “smart money” still with Kean, Jr?

The answer is simple:  the additional 17,000 registered voters the Republicans picked up in the 7th District in the redistricting process.

Is there anything Malinowski can do about the New Republican registration advantage?

Yes – it is a four-letter word -GOTV – Get Out The Vote.   Whichever party gets out the larger portion of its base should win.

And that is where Josh Shapiro can play a most vital role for the Malinowski campaign.

A key to any successful GOTV effort is the appearance of stars as speakers in order to generate enthusiasm.  And there is no greater new star in the Democratic firmament now than Josh Shapiro.

Josh Shapiro lives in Abington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  Less than an hour away from New Jersey District 7.

If Josh speaks at three Malinowski rallies, he can significantly boost the Malinowski turnout.  And both he and Tom Malinowski can be home on time to watch their favorite respective baseball teams in the MLB playoffs, Malinowski with the Yankees, Shapiro with the Phillies.

New Jersey, Tom Malinowski, and you.  Perfect together, Josh Shapiro.

Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

(Visited 649 times, 1 visits today)

3 responses to “Can Josh Shapiro Conduct an Effective Campaign Swing for Malinowski in late October?”

  1. Steinberg, I’ve been reading you for a good few years now. You seem to be getting more out-of-touch with each column. Is it age? Or maybe desperation? I can’t tell.

  2. I hope your take on the stardom of Josh Shapiro is realistic, but as one who live in NJ-07 and is working to GOTV for Tom Malinowski, I was surprised to read about Josh’s popularity. I am not aware that my friends, all enthusiastic Malinowski supporters, have heard much about Josh. But what Tom M does have is legions of very enthusiastic volunteers, of which I am one. And he is in touch with his constituents more than any candidate I have ever followed. So we are hoping — and taking nothing for granted.

  3. Alan is right that Josh is a star… but his time would be better spent in PA ensuring that Fetterman wins and ensuring a commanding victory margin for himself. A candidate who can win more than 55% of the vote in a swing state is presidential timber. No one knows who Josh is in NJ-07 and the voters won’t care. It could behoove Josh to campaign in NJ since it will allow him to build chits for a national campaign, but it likely won’t do much for Malinowski.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News From Around the Web

The Political Landscape