An implosion? Really?
The Bucks County Courier Times Editorial Board’s recent take on Democrats upset with their tone-deaf party chairman is hardly an implosion. In fact, the editorial is about as tone-deaf as John Cordisco’s initial decision to participate in a fundraiser hosted by the now shuttered “People 4 Trump founder” Jim Worthington at his Newtown Athletic Club.
Let me be clear: I don’t want to agree with everything I read in my daily newspaper, nor should I. And for readers who might not know this, I write a biweekly column for the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer. But when egregious mistakes are made, as in this case, then it is time to speak out.
Many in Bucks County view Worthington as representing the growing far-right extremism afflicting the Bucks County Republican Party and GOP politics nationally. Not surprisingly, this is something the editorial board has failed to take a stand on, nor bring up in its recent article.
I wrote about Worthington’s really disgusting views about Democrats in a previous column about his “frivolous lawsuit” against Democratic Congressional Candidate Ashley Ehasz, something that Democrats highlighted in their critiques. And it’s worth repeating for the Courier Times’ editorial writers in case this column reaches them.
Don’t worry readers, Worthington can’t sue me for citing what he told Canada’s Globe and Mail for its October 30, 2020, article “Same street, different worlds: In Pennsylvania, Trump and Biden voters live in separate realities.” This is what was published word-for-word:
“‘The only thing they hate more than America is themselves,’ he continued. ‘They have a chip on their shoulder. They feel they’ve been ostracized. They’re self-loathing, violent, mean, aggressive. Who has time for that kind of hate?’ That’s Mr. Worthington, talking about Democrats. …”
Now why would local Democrats be upset with their party’s chairman doing an event with someone who thinks they hate America, and themselves, and are “self-loathing, violent, mean, aggressive?” That’s something the Courier Times editorial leadership should have asked itself. Never mind what Worthington likely says privately to his fellow far-right Bucks County Trumpers.
In the same article, Worthington also told the reporter that he doesn’t even watch Fox News any more because he thinks it is too liberal. Really? What is to the right of Fox News?
And never mind he also spread election lies in the same article, a motivating factor for many of the insurrectionists who believed the election was stolen. Here’s what Globe and Mail columnist Johanna Schneller wrote:
“Mr. Worthington would assert something, I’d question it, we’d move on. He claimed that Philadelphia’s 17 new satellite offices, where voters can hand-deliver mail-in ballots, were Democrat-only, unsupervised places in private homes; in fact, they’re in schools and public buildings, and run by state employees.
‘Hey, I know a certain percentage of my employees are stealing from me, so what’s to stop someone there from saying, ‘Here’s $20, vote for Joe’?’
‘What’s to stop someone from doing the same for Trump?’ I countered.
‘Republicans don’t cheat,’ he replied.”
Moreso, journalist Jordan Hopkins captured this gem of a Facebook post of Worthington spreading the “Big Lie,” now scrubbed like any online existence of his former People 4 Trump organization, in his article “Jim Worthington Goes to Washington.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that the results reported in this election are inaccurate and corrupted and need to be challenged at every level legally or otherwise,” wrote Worthington.
So to characterize Democrats’ disgust with this situation as a “far-left feeding frenzy” misses the mark completely. And shame on the Courier Times for not digging deeper, or better yet, actually talking to Democrats who could add more context. I implore them to do better next time.
I don’t care that Cordisco is a NAC member or is friends with Worthington. Everyone has an “Uncle Jim” at the Thanksgiving dinner table, and those uncles have friends. But as the leader of a party fighting to preserve and strengthen democracy, he shouldn’t allow his position and status to be used to normalize and mainstream this type of far-right extremist, who actually counsels “moderate” Republican Brian Fitzpatrick.
There is a time for bipartisanship and coming together. But it matters who you are doing it with and where. Jim Worthington isn’t some middle of the road Republican. A moderate Republican wouldn’t disparage all Democrats saying they “hate America” or begin pushing the “Big Lie” before the election even happened. Cordisco’s initial decision, which thankfully he thought better of after hearing from his party – which is actually democratic – would have given the extreme right in Bucks County a veneer of legitimacy. That’s unacceptable.
And it’s also unacceptable how the Courier Times portrayed this event in their editorial, which Republicans couldn’t have scripted better if they’d tried.
The Courier Times has historically, at best, had a blind spot with the far right in Bucks County, at worst has intentionally coddled them. If our local daily newspaper wanted to correct this unfortunate trend, then they might want to consider an editorial about Bucks County Republican Committee Chair Pat Poprik being one of “84 people who signed bogus documents claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.” This is a damning indictment of the Bucks County Republican Party’s disdain for democracy.
Or an editorial about how the local Republican Party of so-called election integrity is embroiled in a fake petition signature scandal, something they haven’t even reported on yet.
They already missed an opportunity to implore the Party to condemn and disassociate itself from the Proud Boys when their members rallied shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow Fitzpatrick supporters outside of the Congressman’s local office. One local Republican leader even called this “hate group” “patriotic young men.” Not surprisingly, one of these “patriots” from the rally sits in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 Insurrection.
I appreciate that the Courier Times bemoans the loss of bipartisanship, but it needs to recognize its own responsibility in making that happen. By failing to report on the radicalization of the local Republican Party, dating back to at least 2011 when local Republicans invited the founder of the anti-immigration hate group VDARE to speak in Newtown, the newspaper missed time and again opportunities to keep the party from becoming a hub of extremism. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and potentially could have quelled this trend.
Democrats were right to want its party leader to separate himself from Jim Worthington’s fundraiser. And they were right to organize another event. The Bucks County Courier Times was wrong to suggest otherwise.