The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Breaking: Senator Specter to Become Newest Dem!

Posted by demkid on April 28, 2009

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the 12th-most senior member of the U.S. Senate, has just announced that he will switch parties today and will run for re-election as a Democrat!  I’ve always admired Senator Specter, since he’s one of the few true moderates in the Senate and he’s been terrific on environmental issues.  It should be noted that he’s been a member of the Republican Party since 1966.  I think it’s most useful to post part of his statement:

“I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary,” said Specter. “I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.”  He added: “Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

Bravo, Arlen!  As I discussed yesterday, the Republican Party is shrinking, and now they’ve lost one of their most senior statesmen.  What else does this mean?  First, Senator Specter will be the 59th Democrat in the Senate.  This leaves the party one vote short of the magic filibuster-proof number of 60, and that 60th vote (hopefully!) will come at some point in the near future, in the name of Al Franken.  As you recall, Senator-elect Franken is being held up by a silly court fight in Minnesota by his defeated opponent, Norm Coleman.  Coleman has appealed a recount and subsequent election contest to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and this is scheduled to start next month.  I have a sick feeling that this breaking news today will push Coleman and the GOP to try and fight on further, even after a defeat by the state supremes.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens on that front.

Next, Senator Specter’s switch to blue only serves to reinforce the fact that the GOP is now merely a fringe party in the Northeast.  Their lack of any sort of competitiveness up there must be troubling, and it leaves the two Maine women as the last “official” Republican senators (although they’re also very moderate).  This also shows that the party is losing the center of American politics, which isn’t that surprising given the last 8 years.  I think Senator Specter, in addition to following his heart today, followed thousands of his consituents who have also recently made the switch away from the Republican Party.  Of course, he also followed his brain, as he’ll have a much better chance of holding his seat next year running as a Democrat.

So, terrific news from Washington!  I’m happy to have Senator Specter as the newest member of my party…the party that truly has a big tent!

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One Response to “Breaking: Senator Specter to Become Newest Dem!”

  1. progressivethink said

    Healthcare Reform & Cap & Trade… here we come!

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