“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.”
On Jan. 1, 2017 and again on Jan. 1, 2019, Pennsylvania State Representative Aaron Bernstine (R, PA-10) recited this oath of office, swearing him into the State House of Representatives. This oath represents the bond between state lawmakers and their constituents, a pledge by the legislator that they will truly put in the effort to represent the people of their home district as faithfully as possible.
Even before his first inauguration, he has not once attempted to represent his constituents, rather, he has chosen to be a faceless representative of the national Republican Party. He has decided that his constituents and even his boss, Mike Turzai, take a backseat to the messaging of President Donald Trump, despite his district overall rejecting Scott Wagner in 2018 by an extremely thin margin, despite being gerrymandered to be as conservative as possible.
Most of his notable infractions lie in the use of his Twitter account, which he has repeatedly used to personally target his own constituents and anyone in general who may not have voted for him. He has gone after local news sources and local reporters solely for reporting facts that he personally believes are unfavorable towards him.
When you consider his electoral performance in 2016 and 2018 compared to other Republicans, strongarming local press and local campaigns seems to be his only real method of hanging onto his seat. After this piece is published, I largely expect some anger pointed in my direction. I invite Rep. Bernstine to discuss his issues with me on my radio show with dignity instead of doing it behind my back.
For those unaware, in the 2018 election he was opposed by a single candidate—Green Party nominee Darcelle Slappy, who received that nomination despite being an outspoken Democrat. Bernstine was listed as the Democratic nominee during that election due to him filing legal objections against any Democratic candidate during the primary season. Local Democratic candidates that had filed to run against him were forced to withdraw from the race due to an inability to fight those challenges because of the costs associated.
Regardless of having both major party nominations, Bernstine still performed the worst of any incumbent up against no major party opposition, with third party nominee Slappy taking 22 percent of the vote. Of the other races with one major party and one third party, Bernstine’s performance at 77 percent is the worst, with the closest being Rep. Karen Boback (R) in Luzerne County with 82 percent (Libertarian Lou Jasikoff took 18 percent). These numbers. in addition to Bernstine’s actions. imply that with a proper Democratic challenger, Bernstine would be an extremely vulnerable incumbent, and I urge the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania to begin searching for candidates now.
With a largely fruitless legislative record, no solid accomplishments for the people of PA-10, and no personality beyond what he feels will get him attention from the president, it is time for the Representative to resign his seat and return to his former teaching job in Pittsburgh. He is completely out of touch with what this district’s residents truly want, regardless of party, and his strategy of strongarming his way into his seat will not work for much longer.
To wrap this column: As I mentioned earlier, I am aware that this may attract some attention from Rep. Bernstine. If he chooses to respond casually – for every time he uses the buzzphrase “Trump Derangement Syndrome”, I will down a shot of the cheapest alcohol available at Ginger Hill. I invite anyone interested to join me.