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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Allentown's Motto: Stupid is as Stupid Does?

Although I'm a Democrat, I'm no fan of straight-party voting. It originated among resentful Democrats in the post civil war deep South, but its practice today is limited to just fifteen states, including Pennsylvania. It enables the election of weak candidates, the "coat tail effect."

In the last Lehigh Valley Congressional race, it could have easily resulted in the election of Siobhan "Sam" Bennett. Although Congressman Charlie Dent was easily re-elected, he lost in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Many city residents just pulled the lever, thinking Sam must be a very nice guy.

Scott Armstrong, who publishes the always-informative Allentown Commentator, has written a short essay about this, aimed specifically at Allentown. But his insight applies to each of the three LV cities.

City Motto

"Stupid is as Stupid Does"

Upon taking time to peruse the election results I noticed that, once again, many of Allentown's Democrats voted straight ticket. By doing so they again threw their support to a proven self serving incompetent. In the past this sort of obedience to the party has meant that confirmed bunglers like Julio Guridy, Dave Howells, Marty Velasquez, and Frank Concannon were given second and third chances to wreak havoc on the city as elected officials. This time Allentown's Democrats sacrificed their integrity to support "Sam" Bennett. Sam was a "known" commodity in the city even before the campaign began, and, true to form, her race for congress was an embarrassment from start to finish. The coverage of her blunders was front page news so no one can credibly claim ignorance as an excuse for their support. No, the truth is much uglier and simpler than that; it is clear that Allentown's Democrat voters would rather vote corrupt and/or incompetent Democrats into office than elect the better candidate if he or she is a Republican. This lemming's approach to party loyalty is a disservice to the city and its residents. Allentown has declined and compromised its future because too many of the city's Democrats continue to place a priority on partisanship rather than good government.

Scott Armstrong


Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

Although I agree with Mr. Armstrong's opinion about straight-ticket voting, I would just like to take quick exception to his characterization of some of our previous city council members as "confirmed bunglers," which is hardly an apt description of all four of them.

A.J.C. said...


Anonymous said...

mr. armstrong neglects the equal and obvious point that straight ticket voting often hurts the party it is trying to help.

i have often thought that if you want to see a stronger, more assertive party, then the last thing you should do is vote a straight ticket because then you may also be bringing to office incompetents who will eventually bring disgrace to the party you are trying to build.

in the democratic party in allentown i can think of many people we have elected who were not suited to serve the public in any capacity. you all know the names; a few are still in office. the democrats would win a lot more of the closer, contested races if we didn't lose credibility with some of these lunatics. and wouldn't you know it, it is often during a critical campaign that some of these guys venture out to seek the most publicity.

so, if you really and truly care about the democratic party, don't vote for some of these turkeys.

ps. "confirmed bunglers"...this writer is being extremely generous. i can think of more offensive, yet truthful descriptions.

Anonymous said...

One party rule, whether practiced by Rs in Orange County CA or Ds in Allentown, PA, ultimately fails its taxpayers.

We're about to get the same failure from our federal government.

Anonymous said...

that's right. Blame the voters. Bad democracy! If the city GOP could campaign, I'd be willing to listen to the complaints of one of their diehards. Until then, I'm not so inclined.

FTR, I didn't vote straight party.

Anonymous said...

Scott Armstrong is the definition of partisanship. He has no credibility.

It is ironic that Scott would complain about this when this is exactly how his buddy Mr. Phillips got on council.

Anonymous said...

The GOP generally has done a piss poor job of representing Allentown an its interests, including Dent.

Above this, they do a terrible job representing themselves in the community. The hand full of people that represent the party in the city simply whine and put down our city while never coming up with any ideas of their own. Who wants to be a part of that?

South Side Sam said...

Not very smart Bernie. This is why the GOP has become the next wig of the US.

They live under a very small tent and refuse to expand or move into a larger one to acomodate more. When someone does not fit or chooses not to enter for what ever reason you criticize and call names without any thought to how it helps your cause just because you feel spacial for being in the tent.

I don't really see you point or how advancing this meaningless message help you or your buddy Dent.

Anonymous said...


Name a dem. you ever voted for. How many times have you voted straight rep.?

Anonymous said...

Armstrong has no credibility on this matter - he's a republican hack. He should move to the Poconos and write his vitriolic nonsense from an isolated cabin in the woods, away from all the thugs he complains about.

Look Out Lehigh Valley said...

AJC: Because I said so.

Anonymous said...

The postings from the D’s on this topic reflect an abyss of ignorance unworthy of response.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Mr. Armstrong is right as are you Bernnie. Straight Party voting is unfortunate. However, as always Mr. Armstrong slants his statistics to suit his point. If you examine areas in both Lehigh and Northampton County as well as Berks you will find significant pockets of straight Republican voters.
As one rock-ribbed Republican once told me if there is a Republican on the ticket I don't like I don't vote but I will never vote for a Democrat.
That thinking is sadly too strong in both Parties but Mr. Armstrong predictibly only makes one side of the case.

Larry Dell

Bob jr said...

To expand on what I assume is anon 3:32's view: Why portray City Democrats as lemmings because they may not agree that Dent or the GOP is working in their best interest? Isn't this the same Mr. Armstrong who posted last week that inner-city Atown looks like the Philly ghetto? Maybe the City D's agree with you, Mr. Armstrong, and wanted Change.
Also, Mr. Armstrong's arrogant dismissal of anything not in lockstep with his opinions exemplify why the GOP is now a fringe element.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:25,

I fon't blame the voters. I blame legislation that encouranges one-party rule. Pa. is one of only 15 states that still provide for straight party ballotsd. it's a system that enabled Dexiecrats to slow things down in the South. It is, in fact, anti-democratic, and I'm using a small "d" here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bob, Jr,

Armstrong says things that need to be heard. Whether you diagree with his assessment of Allentown, the reality is that one-party rule leads to corruption and incompetence. Abolishing the straight party ticket option from the ballot is, in fact, change.

Larry Dell gets it. His criticism is right on point. You can't look beyond the fact that Armstrong wrote a good message. In this connection you only insult yourself. LOLV gets it, and I find her thinking toi be a little more liberal than the usual fare of most contributors here.

When I look at the most recent presidential election, we had two very strong presidential candidates. In Pa., people were very recepetive to Obama's message. He resonated among college students as well. On election night, when I saw the LU students teamed up outside of the Litzenberger house, at least 8 out of ten were wearing Obama T-shirts or pins. It was an amazing and wonderful sight for all of us. It was democracy in action.

I know for a fact that 75% of the folks who were there to vote for Obama also voted straight D, in effect voting for a very weak congressional candidate. There is little doubt in my mind that few of these students knew a damn thing about that race. If the straight party ballot were not an option, I doubt Bennett would have received many of their votes.

The same situation applies to the Rs elsewhere, as Larry Dell so ably points out. Perhaps Scott should have pointed that out, but he was only writing about A-town.

Why would anyone promote a system that was encouraged by Dixiecrats to keep decent blacks out of office? It's time to get rid of this crap.

The fact that this undemocratic election method happens to benefit Democrats in A-town is no justification for its continued use.

The fact that Scott's little essay generated such interest on a weekend in such a short time span tells me this is a subject that legislators neeed to address.

Anonymous said...

Scott writes this same thing every time there is a local election.

The problem is, his party keeps failing at fielding qualified candidates. If they do have one from time to time, like Thiel or Burke, they are thought to be jokers by most because of the face of the city Republican Committee.

What was Scott's last idea? Let's hear it!

Bob Jr said...

No, Mr. OHare, you insult the D's who voted straight ticket by saying they though Sam was a good fellow. In other words, those that disagree with you are maroons.
Those that agree with you, "get it."
How about answering my question: Isn't this the same Mr. Armstrong who wrote a few days that downtown Allentown looked like the worst of Philly? If so, why re-elect the status quo?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bob Jr,

I told the truth. That can sometimes make people angry, especially partisans.

I criticize members of either party who encourage one-party rule with tools like straight-party balloting. You're so busy attacking Armstrong that you haven't bothered telling us how you feel about that.

Do you favor meaningful reform like that or do you prefer a system that facilitates machine politics? You can answer that without a personal attack on Armstrong, I think.

On election day, I traveled thru many of the precints, and know for a fact that many of the idiots who voted straight party knew nothing about her. A close friend voted straight D simply bc of Obama, knowing nothing aboiut Bennett, which nearly sent me to the hospital. One voter did sat, "That Sam Bennett is a nice guy, isn't he?"

That's how well-informed they were before they pulled that lever. She was an incredibly weak candidate, compared to most other Dem leaders. That is also fact. She was hoping to win on Obama's coat tails.

But the point of the post is straight-party ballots, which can be equally injurious to Dems.

My beef is with straight-party ballots. 35 states have abolished it. Why not Pa? That is also Armstrong's beef. Why not address the argument? Is that so hard? And I'm not answering a question you posed to Armstrong.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 8:42,

You prove Scott's point. Qualified R candidates aree comsodered losers by a one=party city that permits straight-party tickets. As a result, you lose. I understand why A-town is predominately Democratic, but don't like a system designed to keep it that way.

Not that long ago, most mid-Westerners were Ds. The Dem party was the party of Thomas Jefferson, the party of the people against federalist aristocrats and Hamiltonian bankers and merchants, the party that stood against New England and the North, the party of the farmer. Illinois, of course, was a Democratic base. To be successful in Illinois, it helped to be a Democrat.

This is the state that produced Lincoln, who was a Whig, and later, a Republican.

Imagine the field day Pawlowski and his acolytes would have with that penniless, uneducated "long-armed gorilla" who lived "in the boonies."

Anonymous said...

if somebody asked the question about bennett being a nice guy, they didn't vote straight party. That person probably went through the ballot and clicked for each dem individually. If you vote straight party, you dno't have to make that evaluation at all.

Still, straight party, for any party is unfortunate. My guess, though, is that the voters who voted straight party on the opening screen probably would have ticked off each of the D's for the individual races.

The problem isn't straight ticket voting: the problem is an electorate that doesn't get enough information for races further down the ticket. I don't blame the voting system for that. I blame a system of corporate media interests controlling access between candidates and voters and a finance system that is dominated by people who stand to gain directly from the spoils of victory. Should straight party be dropped as an option. Sure, but it won't solve the larger problems of who dominates our elections.

And Bernie, you say Allentown's Motto: Stupid is as Stupid Does. I read either you are insulting Allentown voters or you failed to realize that straight ticket voting is a decision made at the state level, not the city level. Only one city has the power to make ballot decisions and that's Philly. Still, no local jurisdiction can make the independant call to permit or not permit straight ticket voting. Why pick on Allentown? Shouldn't you pick on Harrisburg.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:59,

1) The person who asked that question about sam bennett did, in fact, vote straight party.

2) You are correct when you note that changes to this straight party option must come from the legislature in Harrisburg.

3) My headline is posed in Question Marks. I do not believe that A-town is acting any more idiotically than any other community that permits what Lord Acton called a tyranny of the majority. I made that clear in the body of my post as well. Scott's small essay was specific to A-town, but I believe the argument applies in many places, including some heavily R communities in Lehigh County. I probablty should have used a diufferent headline. Your criticism there is fair.

Anonymous said...

It's sometimes a good idea to vote straight party. If you can't agree with the other side on anything, why vote for them?

Also, everyone knew that Sam was going to lose. There were probably quite a few protest votes and votes to remind Charlie that yes, he lives in a moderate district, so make sure not to vote more conservatively than 89% of the rest of the Congress on economic issues. Or did you forget about that, Barry?

Bob jr said...

Three things, Bernie:
1. Find a personal attack I made on Mr. Armstrong. You can't. Don't paint me with that brush, it's unfair.
2. I thought it none of your beeswax, but I'll say it now: like 12:38 suggests, my straight-party vote was a message/protest for exactly those reasons. I was not a lemming. I voted for Bennett to remind Dent he has to earn his way; I voted for Morganelli (against my better judgment) to make a statement on political witchhunts. All conscious decisions.
My point is: not everyone who voted straight D is a lemming, as Mr. Armstrong's "essay" suggests. You put lipstick on his words and elevated his argument into a debate on whether straight voting should be allowed. My responses were directed toward Armstrong's reasoning, not your debate.
3. Voting straight party is a conscious decision. I would agree with your argument that voters should be better informed, but not that a decision or option is taken from them.

Anonymous said...

The GOP has fled Allentown and left it to its liberal masters to enact every aspect of their agenda. How's it workin' for ya A-town?

Ironically, it turns out that Dems are just as willing to piss away corporate welfare as they've always been willing to piss away welfare to the singularly unproductive.

When a government subsidizes anything, we get more of it. When we subsidize the unproductive and undeserving - whether they be individuals or corporations - we get more of them. Why is this so difficult to grasp?

Anonymous said...

bennett was a poor choice for the Dems to back.. But remember, it has always been the Dems that elected the Republicans in Allentown. The party may be inept, and many voters may be inept, but as a whole we get things done, despite our party machine, not because of it. We need to educate our voters. Obviously, they are not reading the newspaper, or watching the TV debates. We need a real source of available information to the actual voters after we sign them up. It is the mindless voter, newly registered by the GOTV folks that throw this all off kilter. It is no longer the candidates or their positions that matter, it is now the GOTV action.

Anonymous said...

Straight party voting is a good thing. It lets the line move faster allowing more people to vote and go about their productive lives.

Why do you assume anyone who hits the straight party button is a fool. One could just as easily click through the whole darn ballot and hit red or blue? Should we abolish colors?

Perhaps you are the fool. The people of Allentown are the future of the valley. You need to give people more credit.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem has been controlled by Dems for generations, often complete control.

How has this hurt? Bernie just loves kissing up to R's and hating the people of Atown.

Lumbering Lou said...

"Stupid is, as Stupid Does."

Isn't that on the Northampton County Council Coat of Arms?

Pot, meet Kettle.

Scott Armstromg is mocking Democrats? I call that be a sore loser. And who do the Republicans plan to run as the mayoral candidate next year?

A Democrat who switched parties, an opportunist who used that same straight party ticket voting line to gain office.

Even more incredible is local A Republican Party lead by Bill Platt JR, forever captured on U-tube for his race baiting histrionics at a Republican Rally.

Unless Ed Pawlowski loses the primary, he will cruise to reelection.

WhetherVain said...

I wish more people could witness what ACTUALLY takes at the polls during election day. Working the polls allows me to make some interesting observations.

At least the way it's implemented in Lehigh County, the option to vote straight party frequently confuses many voters!

They interpret that display section of the ballot as a way of revealing what PARTY they're registered as - not as a straight party choice. While voting, they ask us questions as to why all of the candidates appears already selected in subsequent displays!!

Then they get to the end of the ballot where the questions are, and I'm sorry to say that most people appear to know nothing about these topics until they are presented to them while voting. They don't realize that they can just "pass" (read: ignore) this portion of the ballot (as they might have on the old mechanical machines). But this new touch screen technology seems to make the voter think that they HAVE to SELECT SOMETHING in order to move forward with their voting session. Very unfortunate.

Contrary to Anon 10:59, even though you may vote straight party in the earlier portion of your voting session, you are still presented with the individual choices later on in the ballot (already "checked") - and for the uninitiated, technically-challenged, elderly or language-challenged voter, this is most confusing. (At least, in Lehigh C)

Finally, of the 1146 voters who cast their ballot in my district, only 1080 were cast for either Obama or McCain and there were 7 write-ins...TOTAL 1087.

That leaves 59 folks who didn't select a Presidential candidate! (1146 - 1087 = 59)

In an election where, by far, most people had intentions of selecting someone from this high office, I find myself wondering if this technology is delivering the "people's will". I believe that some additional human engineering is still needed in the way ballots are presented to the voter.

I would be in favor of eliminating the straight party option; the voter can still have his/her wishes expressed with a few more taps of the finger.

I'll pay for any voting-induced fingertip callouses that develop down the road.

WhetherVain said...

Oops, in my calculations of uncast Presidential ballots, I forgot to include the 21 votes cast for the Nader and Barr.

Revised calculations: 1146 - 1108 = 38.

Still, a surprising number.

Glenn said...

While I have the same concern that the "BIG" lever voting is not a good way to go when many voters are just plain party oriented. It does work for and against both parties.

This year however it was a great way for me to expedite my vote in a very busy district. It enabled me to vote for the majority of my selections quickly, then change the two candidate selections I favored from the other party (split my ticket).

I felt on the old voting machines, had persons need to draw down each lever, they would realize how many candidates they actually were approving. With the electronic machines, this does not achieve the same impact and would greatly slow down the voting process. With the mechanical machines everyone at once was there before you. The numerous screens are not very well interfaced for humans.

PS: I disliked that these machines did not have the mounted printers on them (that are optionally available) for hard verification. A machine failure could result in every vote that machine registered thrown out. The paper roll could be recounted. That is VERY BAD!

That said... I certainly would have no problem removing the STRAIGHT PARTY selection, since I have little confidence in my fellow voters doing the research and taking the easy way. I tend to agree it's time has passed.

As S.A. looked at the straight party vote, I would hope it reflected my split-ticket that resulted after a straight party pull?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Find a personal attack I made on Mr. Armstrong. You can't. Don't paint me with that brush, it's unfair."

" Mr. Armstrong's arrogant dismissal of anything not in lockstep with his opinions"

Calling Armstrong "arrogant" and accusinmg him of demandsing "lockstep" behavior is a tad personal in my book. But I've seen much worse. Perhaps you're right.

2. I never asked you whether you voted straight party. That is none of my busioness. I understand there are times when it is the thing to do. My point is that a straight party ticket should not be an option on the ballot. Shoulkd there be a one-lever option or not? It should not be any easier than it is to split your ticket. You have yet, in your third comment, to address the subject of the essay. You're addressing everything else.

3) See #2.

Anonymous said...

To the partisans who refer to me as partisan, let me remind you that my commentary on Allentown is not merely an intellectual exercise. I live on the 15 hundred block of Turner street, i.e. three blocks from this weekend’s latest series of gunshots and shootings, so it is personal for me, my liberal wife and my two school age children.
I post commentary on Allentown to shine a light on the reality of life in the city. If I hold the Democrats responsible for much of what has occurred, it is because that is what I have seen with my own eyes. Eight years ago I was not called a partisan; I was a community leader who was recognized by the Morning Call with a “Community Spirit Award.” I was one of the five co-signers of the “Rental Inspections Bill”; other interested parties in this effort included Allen Jennings, and Ed Pawlowski. In 2000, in the interests of good government I encouraged both Julio Guridy and Tom Burke to run for council. In 2001, I refused to endorse Republican Bob Lovett for mayor because I felt such an action would be inappropriate for a community leader.
I became a partisan when this word was applied to me by Afflerbach in his successful effort to squelch voices of dissent in the city. It is unfortunate that Democrats who knew me for years instantly believed the words of a liar instead of their own experience. When it became clear that Afflerbach’s reign as mayor would be catastrophic to Allentown, Bob Lovett (then the Republican Chair of Lehigh County) asked me to become a consultant for the local committee. He brought me on board because I was a proven community organizer (sound familiar?), not because I was a fire breathing Republican. I took the position for I felt political action was necessary to bring good government back to the city. In my position with the LCRC I recruited top notch candidates for local offices and brought in new and diverse volunteers to become grassroots committee people (someday I could write a tell all on how this was greeted by some party old liners). I also, under Bob’s direction, formed the state’s first County Latino Republican Committee, an action that was soon to be copied by the local Democrats. Of these efforts I am proud. I left this position at the end of 06 because it was exhausting and thankless; since then I have just been a regular Republican voter. I was elected to a committee position by someone (not me!) in my district.
I see plenty of “hacks” and partisans” in the county. The difference between them and me is that I never worked to get proven incompetents elected to any office.

Scott Armstrong

Erica B. of Allentown said...

Although I too agree with Mr. Armstrong's opinion about straight-ticket voting, and the local congressional race, I was one of those who made the choice not to vote straight ticket primarily because of Sam Bennett's incompetency in supplying the public with the facts... Sam Bennett=Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

The attacks on Scott Armstrong's audacity to offer dissent are telling in a city that one party has made into such a mess. His critics are quick to attack him, but rather reluctant to defend the party that has largely presided over the rapid decline.

There aren't many dissenting voices in Allentown politics. Democrats would prefer there were none. That's understandable, given what Democrats must defend.

Anonymous said...

"When it became clear that Afflerbach’s reign as mayor would be catastrophic to Allentown, Bob Lovett (then the Republican Chair of Lehigh County) asked me to become a consultant for the local committee."

In other words, you were a paid political operative (hacks don't get paid). Thanks for the disclosure. We now know you have a personal and professional interest in Atown's political activities. I don't fault you for that, but would like to point out that your commentary about the Democrat Party (or Democratic Party), elected Democrats or the electoral outcomes in the city/county should be taken with a grain of salt. If your timeline is to be taken at face value, 2005 was the year you were working for the GOP. It is the same year Pawlowski and Cunningham cleaned up the GOP in the city/county.

I think it is now fair to take any and all of your commentary on these races or seats in the same light as we would take commentary from Mark Penn on Clinton's failed campaign or Karl Rove on Bush's administration.

Bob jr said...

Perhaps you HAVE seen worse, such as everyone who disagrees with Armstrong reflects an "abyss of ignorance" ... to which I said was an arrogant dismissal of opposing views. Perhaps, also, saying that expressing my opinion only "insults" myself is a close second.
Sorry if I wasn't clear enough, but I tried to respond to your argument with 3.: don't take away an option from voters. So no, I don't agree with eliminating straight-party voting.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Armstrong did not characterize disagreement with him as an "abyss of ignornace" - he clearly identifies personal attacks on him for reflecting the ignorance they do, in fact, reflect.

As far as insulting yourself is concerned, you did that when you illogically presumed that an argument that applies to both major parties is somehow only intended as an insult at Democrats. That's just silly, but there you go.

But at last we now know that you prefer to keep Pa. in the league of states who used that straight party option in the deep South to deter the advance of civil rights. Good for you.

Long live the party machines!

Bob jr said...

Bernie, I don't have to presume anything: Armstrong's rant WAS directed solely at Democrats. His insult WAS directed solely at Ds. And thank you for saying my politics are rooted in the reconstructionist era. To quote you, that's "bullshit".

Bernie O'Hare said...

That is how I characterize your position. You support a balloting system that was originally designed to ensure that blacks remain segregated. You support machine politics.

As far as Scott is concerned, I perceive no partisan attack. But I'm no lever puller. You've established what you are.

Anonymous said...

"I live on the 15 hundred block of Turner street, i.e. three blocks from this weekend’s latest series of gunshots and shootings"

Wrong, That is 5.5 blocks from this weekend's incident. 3 blocks west and Armstrong 2.5 north. Even when this guy tries to come clean he fibs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Wow! Three blocks v. 5.5 blocks. You really got him on that.

Bob Jr said...

Bernie sees no partisan attack from Armstrong. That says it all.
Signed, the lever puller

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am quite aware Armstrong is an ardent GOP fan, but saw nothing in his essay that I considered partisan. He used Democrats in Allentown as an exampole but it could just as easily have been Republicans in some Western Pa. counties.

You apparently are unable to see beyond that lever and are willing to justify a system that has been used to hurt black people bc you like the results in Allentown. An ends justifies the means kind of guy.

I'll take a partisan who can look at the bigger picture, even if his math is off. But that's me.

You apparently prefer to vote for a candidate who nearly caused a bank run to "send a message" to Charlie Dent.

Knock yourself out. Maybe you'll get a golden rake, too.

Lumbering Lou said...

Mr. Armstrong, I don't consider anything that you compose to be an "intellectual exercise."
Dissent is healthy, but yelling "Fire" every night in a crowded movie theater, is not healthy dissent. it's more like annoying the patrons, closer to a "boy that cried wolf!"

You strain your own credibility with your blatant partisan attacks.
Why don't you run for City Council? You are a City resident, and you seem to know the issues.
Maybe Tony Phillips could ride your coattails?

If you run for office, you could present your alternate plan and vision for our City. If it's as smart as you say it is, I'm sure you will get an overwhelming majority of votes.

This isn't a personal attack, Mr. Armstrong, I'm only saying you would be easier to read if you put your money where your mouth is.

Michale Donovan said...


In the state of Maine, party voting was eliminated in the 70s and forever changed the face of its politics. (For the record, Republican control diminished, and the Democratic party gained more influenced.)

I do not agree with party voting. It is always the person, their ability, background, training, and willingness to challenge conventional thinking while respecting tradition.

At the same time, if someone wants to vote by person and it ends up being faithful to one party, that is their choice.

Best regards,

Michael Donovan

michael molovinsky said...

dear lou, you wrote;
"This isn't a personal attack, Mr. Armstrong, I'm only saying you would be easier to read if you put your money where your mouth is."

as someone who was opposed to scott's position on the rental law and historic district, i can assure you he puts his money where his mouth is. although he has chosen not to run for office, he has been the energy behind most initiatives that even liberals support in allentown. (rental law and historic district). on the neighborhood side he was president of the west park civic association and is a saturday morning fixture in picking up neighborhood trash in west park and beyond. nobody familiar with neighborhood groups and quality of life in allentown, questions the contributions of scott armstrong

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if all of those posting on this subject live in Allentown, but I do.

I have been at the polls and seen how the straight party choice has been used to "guide" voters - by poll workers - to the Democrat ticket. Many times, the people voting have no idea who the people are in many of the "less prestigious" races (such as county council, city council, etc.). The result has been that candidates in the non-premier races end up getting more votes than they deserve.

An example of what the ultimate result has been (again using Allentown as the example)? Voters, rightfully angry with issues such as overly-generous police pensions end up re-electing some of the very people that approved such measures.

Does straight-party voting work to the benefit of the Republicans in other areas of the state? I'm sure it does but Allentown is where I live so I only have first-hand experience here.

I fail to see the benefit of keeping the straight-party option. This past election if you knew who/how you were voting in each race or ballot question (and we all hope that voters make an informed decision), it would have taken less than 2 minutes to individually mark each choice and cast your ballot. Anyone who wanted to "send a message" to a favored candidate could have easily done so at the INDIVIDUAL level.

Anonymous said...


Straight line voting is a big problem and it now infiltrates into the college vote. I worked the Allen High School polling place for 13 straight hours last Tuesday and met with nearly everyone of the 650+ Muhlenberg College students who voted. At least 90% off these students told me they planned to vote a stright ticket. When asked why, for the most part I was told, because this is what they were told to do by their Young Dem club and some teachers - note: the young Dem Club members of Muhlenberg wore T-Shirts that stated "I voted Democrat". When I asked students about their Congressional and State Rep vote, most had no idea who the candidates for either party were. Even when I approached a Young Dem member and asked her what J. Mann's platform was - she quickly responded Democrat! Great, these kids have no idea what a platform is! But, they are now going to vote who our local leaders will be. No wonder Dent lost Allentown by 6,000 votes. By the way, one of the above bloggers - Michale Donavan )A professor at Muhlenberg and an A-Town city council member) was also walking the line throughout the day - "proudly" wearing his Obama pin and talking to all his students. I'm sure there was no undue influence there. It makes one wonder what is actually being taught at these institutions of higher learning.

Personally, I would love to see PA abolish straight line voting. Perhaps then students and others would become better informed about all candidates, not just the top of the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:29 PM: Donovan teaches at Cedar Crest, not Muhlenberg.

Let me guess: you were working the polls too. Can I ask what candidate or party?

Michael Donovan said...

For the record, I teach at a different college, and I have every right to promote candidates with whom I believe in similar philosophies. Ummm...that seems to be normal procedures among all parties.

At the same time, I continue to remain pragmatic and listen to all sides. Give me good information and I consider it. Give me ideology that does not have backing, and I'll have to look, but not accept.

Best regards,

Michael Donovan

michael molovinsky said...

one must question what college students (such as muhlenberg, cedar crest or lehigh) from new jersey or long island know about local candidates running for congress on the state or national level. michael donovan, i differ with you about promoting candidates. parents are paying tuition for their children to be educated, not indoctrinated. perhaps your right to promote at polling stations would be best served on the east or south side, away from your students.