As I’ve mentioned over the years, I used to work at a macrobiotic restaurant in Amsterdam; it was part of De Kosmos, the meditation center. Some of us, myself included, would regularly fast. It’s where I started fasting every Sunday— no eating and no talking. But we would sometimes do longer fasts as well— 4 days, a week, 10 days, 2 weeks. I don’t think I ever did one past 2 weeks. I loved fasting; you get so high and feel so clean. But two weeks was long enough for me. Maybe not long enough for Pennsylvania fascist Doug Mastriano, the MAGA sociopath running long shot race for governor.
Mastriano is losing… badly. The Republican Party has all but abandoned him and they’re certainly not wasting any money on his moribund campaign. His polling is in the toilet:
Mastriano's campaign isn’t running TV ads and Mastriano won’t do interviews with mainstream media and refuses to debate Josh Shapiro. The most recent poll— by Marist— shows Shapiro beating him 53-40%, even worse than the average of polls which is already miserable for his campaign in a 50-50 state like Pennsylvania:
The fundraising capacity between the two campaign has been astronomical, Shapiro having spent $27.9 million over the past 3 months, with another $11 million in the bank. Mastriano was only managed to raise $3.1 million, $2.5 million of which he has in the bank for a final push. A million of that money— so about a third of what he’s raised in total— was from one lunatic fringe donor, Wisconsin psycho-Nazi and billionaire Dick Uihlein who almost always supports losers.
Oh, so back to the fasting— yesterday Bill Bender and Jonathan Tamari reported that Mastriano plans 40 days of fasting and prayer between now and the election. That ain’t gonna happen. From what I’ve seen of Mastriano, he wouldn’t last a week, let along 40 days. “On Monday night,” they reported, “Mastriano’s campaign posted on Facebook a photo of two hands under the words ’40 days of fasting & prayer’ with the dates Sept. 29 through Nov. 8— Election Day. ‘Interceding for our elections, our state, and our nation,’ it stated, along with a verse from the Book of Isaiah. ‘Starting in a few days,’ Mastriano wrote in the post. One Facebook supporter responded: ‘It’ll be my honor to fast with you.’ While it is unclear who Mastriano expects to start fasting on Thursday, the recent entreaties seem to indicate that his campaign, which epitomizes what scholars call Christian nationalist ideology, has fallen on hard times.”
The messaging has grown increasingly erratic, sometimes arguably bordering on nonsensical. One of Mastriano’s main attack strategies these days is emphasizing that he is taller than Shapiro. He and his supporters have also, at times, reverted to earlier campaign themes, such as emphasizing his opposition to abortion with no exceptions, that might have helped during a GOP primary, but that are unpopular with the wider electorate. He has also revived his attacks on fellow Republicans.
“The GOP establishment is selling out Doug. Never forget this. Ever,” conservative provocateur Jack Posobiec, one of Mastriano’s biggest online boosters, tweeted last week to his 1.8 million followers.
Mastriano then retweeted it— even as he seeks financial support from that same GOP establishment.
Jenna Ellis, Mastriano’s legal adviser, also lambasted the Republican Governors Association last week for not funding his campaign and urged voters to contact the RGA directly. She later deleted the tweet.
On abortion, Mastriano had sought to downplay the issue after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, calling it a “distraction” in the governor’s race. But, last week, he returned to an earlier talking point, and again referred to it as “the single most important issue, I think, in our lifetime.”
Then, this week, he told a conservative network that his views on abortion are “kind of irrelevant” because the legislature, not the governor, writes the laws. (While the governor cannot change the law unilaterally, he can veto aboortion legislation passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has blocked such bills three times, and Shapiro has said he would also do so).
On Tuesday, NBC News dug up an old radio clip from 2019 in which Mastriano said women who violated his proposed abortion ban should be charged with murder.
The Mastriano campaign did not respond to a request for comment for this article.
J.J. Abbott, a former press secretary for Gov. Wolf who now runs a progressive advocacy group, said Mastriano’s failure to build a campaign infrastructure and consolidate support within the GOP appears to be catching up to him.
“It’s one thing to run a rural state Senate campaign using your friends and family,” Abbott said. “It’s very hard to do that at this scale statewide. Shapiro has a strong campaign and a lot of statewide and local infrastructure through his campaign endorsements and supporters. Doug seems to have very little outside his band of misfits and small group of core supporters.”
On television, you’d be hard-pressed to know Mastriano is even running for governor— except for when he’s mentioned in Shapiro attack ads. The Republican hasn’t spent a dime on TV since winning the nomination, according to AdImpact, which tracks political advertising.
Shapiro has outspent Mastriano, on TV, Google, and Facebook since the primary by $21.6 million to $6,300 through Tuesday. All of that $6,300 from Mastriano has been on Google and Facebook ads. Shapiro has spent nearly $2.8 million on those platforms alone. The Democrat right now has six different ads on the air, according to AdImpact.
…[E]ven some conservative figures have recoiled at his far-right rhetoric around decertifying all of the state’s voting machines “with the stroke of a pen” and making “corrections” to elections. Two Republican super PACs have been working against Mastriano since the primary, along with other well-known Republican figures.
In a recent Washington Post column headlined, “Why Mastriano’s candidacy presents a special danger to the nation,” the conservative columnist George F. Will wrote, “His motives are frightening because they are pure: He has the scary sincerity of the unhinged whose delusions armor them against evidence.”
…Privately, GOP operatives watching the race say Mastriano has turned out to be exactly the political liability they feared.
“What has he done to gain a vote since May?” asked one longtime Republican Pennsylvania operative, who asked for anonymity in order to speak frankly about his party’s nominee. “Winning statewide in Pennsylvania is hard, and you have to run a relatively perfect campaign, or be in unique circumstances.”