Why Did Corbett Miss the Wave?
Voters rejected persona, not policies, amidst union-funded demonization
Last night, candidates embracing free-market policies won legislative seats across Pennsylvania and our country. In states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and even Illinois, gubernatorial candidates who made the case for fiscal reform prevailed.
Voters rejected Gov. Tom Corbett’s persona, not his support of free-market policies, which they endorsed in many other races.
“I congratulate Governor-elect Wolf, and I look forward to working with him and the Republican-controlled legislature to devise policy solutions that best serve the needs of all Pennsylvanians,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation.
“Poll after poll shows voters want liquor privatization, school options for their kids, pension reform to save their homes, lower taxes to spur economic growth, reduced government spending, and relieving the stranglehold that government unions have on taxpayers.
“It was not Corbett’s policy prescriptions that voters rejected, but the public’s perception of the governor that was bought and paid for by a relentless, negative PR campaign by public sector union leaders. They effectively misled the public using millions of dollars in taxpayer-collected union dues and political money.
“Pension reform is a great example. The $50 billion public pension debt is a nearly universally acknowledged problem that diverts funding away from classroom programs and contributes to rising property taxes. Persistent and well-funded opposition from public sector union leaders stymied this critical reform as well as popular liquor privatization efforts, either of which would have hugely boosted Corbett’s perception among voters as an effective leader.
“In contrast, voters in Wisconsin and Michigan—swing states like Pennsylvania—rewarded their incumbent governors’ bold leadership in taking on public sector union leaders on meaningful reforms.
“However, those same unresolved issues—from unsustainable pension costs to a government liquor monopoly to violent and failing schools—will challenge Governor-elect Wolf and the Republican-controlled legislature. I am confident that as he transitions from politics to policy, Governor-elect Wolf will see that he needs to deliver what Pennsylvanians have been demanding for years: bold leadership on common-sense fiscal policy.”
Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact us at 717-671-1901 to schedule an interview.
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The Commonwealth Foundation, founded in 1988, crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.