WASHINGTON ― Democrats have “done a good job of addressing the needs of Americans and will continue to do so,” despite election defeats, said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), whose state narrowly voted for President Donald Trump after going Democratic in the previous six presidential elections.
“What we saw in November, to a certain extent — and remember, Hillary Clinton won by 3 million votes — what we saw were a lot of people who were concerned about whether either party is addressing their needs, rightly or wrongly,” Wolf told The Huffington Post on Wednesday.
Trump campaigned as an anti-establishment candidate and his voters “wanted to shake things up,” Wolf said. A winning strategy for Democrats, he said, is to accomplish policy priorities to restore voters’ faith in government.
Wolf cited his latest budget proposal, which he said increases funding for public education, jobs and the fight against the opioid crisis.
“I’m actually increasing amount of money that I think Pennsylvania ought to invest in those areas. At the same time, I’m not asking for any tax increases,” he said. “I’m going to make government work better to do the things that people in Pennsylvania want it to do.”
Wolf said it’s important for state and local officials to fight policies that hurt their constituents through the courts. But ultimately, he said, voters will decide.
Last month, attorneys general from more than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro (D), vowed to challenge the constitutionality of Trump’s ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations. A lawsuit filed by Democratic attorneys general in Washington state and Minnesota successfully halted enforcement of the ban.
“The attorney general has the ability to pursue cases that — in our case, Josh Shapiro — are unconstitutional, but the best way is to make sure that we have representatives in various offices at the federal and the state level that don’t pass unconstitutional measures,” Wolf said.
Since Trump’s election, Democrats around the country have become more actively engaged in grassroots activism.
In Pennsylvania, progressive activists have targeted Sen. Pat Toomey (R), with a new group called “Tuesdays with Toomey,” which goes to the senator’s local office each week to voice concerns.
Toomey narrowly won re-election in November, in part by distancing himself from Trump. He waited until Election Day to reveal that he voted for Trump.
Toomey has avoided town hall meetings this week, apparently fearing protesters. Activists mocked his absence with an empty suit at an event on Tuesday.
The national Democratic Party is preparing to choose a party chair this weekend. The Democratic National Committee race, featuring former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) as front-runners, has exposed rifts within the party on how best to oppose Trump and the GOP.