2016 Ups & Downs

Happy New Year politicos! Our countdown of who had the best and worst 2016.

What more can be written about 2016? Our yearly Ups & Downs, that’s what!

With last year now in our rear-view mirror, let’s take a look at who had the best and worst year.

This is our third edition of the annual Ups & Downs list and you can read the 2014 version here and the 2015 version here.

Before we present the biggest Ups & Downs of 2016, though, let us first recognize our honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

Up ArrowJosh Shapiro. The Montgomery County Commissioner has been the PA Democratic Party’s “next big thing” for awhile now. That promise finally paid off in 2016. In the spring, Shapiro was able to fend off two opponents in the Democratic primary for Attorney General. Throughout the year, Shapiro received welcome help from President Obama and deftly handled the spectre of his predecessor. On November 9th, Shapiro emerged with the most votes of any statewide candidate. A new Attorney General, and Democratic star, was born.


Down ArrowJohn Dougherty. How the mighty have fallen. Johnny Doc got our Up Arrow of 2015 and now he finds himself in our honorable mentions for all the wrong reasons. It all started with a physical altercation in February in which Dougherty was accused of hitting a man. Then he stuck his neck out for Stephen Zappala in the Democratic primary for Attorney General, only to see Zappala lose. The bombshell came, however, on an August morning when Dougherty’s home was raided by the FBI. They also searched his union’s office and his sister’s house among other places. Shortly afterward, we learned the AG’s office is also looking into Dougherty. Even this week, Dougherty was making noise by criticizing the national Democratic Party. 2017 could very well end being a miserable year for the labor leader.

Up ArrowPat Toomey. Just about an hour before polls closed on Election Day, Sen. Toomey ended months of speculation and revealed that he had voted for Donald Trump. There’s no way he’ll ever admit it, but as Pat Toomey cast that ballot he must’ve thought that both Trump and himself would go down in defeat. After all, that’s what all the polls were saying. Instead, they both won. Relations with his party’s new leader may be fraught, but in the end Toomey got that second term he spent six years fighting for.


Down ArrowChaka Fattah. Last year, Fattah took umbrage at our prediction that he “will likely spend some portion of 2016 behind bars”. So we do owe him an apology, since his sentence doesn’t start until January 25th. Back in February 2016, though, it was Chaka Fattah Jr. who got a five-year jail sentence. Two months later, Fattah Sr. was upset in the Democratic primary by Dwight Evans. The hammer came down in June when the Congressman was convicted on all charges. After a quixotic bid to stay in office, Fattah was finally pushed out of office. In December, he was issued a ten-year prison sentence, a punishment our readers judged as fair. This commonwealth has seen far too many of its public officials behind bars.

The Down Arrow of 2016

Down ArrowKathleen Kane. It’s a three-peat! Kathleen Kane is truly the Phil Jackson of down arrows. In 2014, her political and personal life went down the tubes. In 2015, she faced criminal charges. In 2016, she was convicted and forced to resign from her position as Attorney General. One day we’ll regale our children and grandchildren with the story of how a Scranton prosecutor became an overnight political rockstar, only to flame out in extraordinary fashion. The sky was once the limit for Kathleen Kane, now it seems as if there is no bottom for her.

The Up Arrow of 2016

Up ArrowPA GOP. Could the past year have gone better for Pennsylvania Republicans? After twenty-eight long years, the Keystone State finally went red in a presidential contest. Add to that the aforementioned Toomey victory as well as the massive majorities in the state legislature and you’ve got an impressive list of accomplishments. For quite some time, Pennsylvania appeared as if it was a purple state on the verge of becoming blue. Now, at the very least, it is purple once again.

15 Responses

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  2. When the godfather caught cancer up the rectum during Junior’s A.G. Race, Johnny Doc performed an exorcism and saved his life. We thought it was a miracle but it was just a wad of cash. Now that deserves an up arrow.

  3. Big down arrow to Katie McGinty….not ready for prime time as Chief of staff or Senate candidate.

  4. Nothing about the Bucks county republican party getting caught in FBI corruption investigation? but if some low level city employee spray paints a wall that’s worth weeks of coverage… Starting to get how things work here.

  5. GOP with an up arrow? Really? They did very little for Trump and went 0-for-3 in the statewide races. They’re not as good as they think they are.

  6. Stephen Zappala where is he now? FBI zoned in on him and his buddy Doc. Should have stayed in Pittsburgh. Watch as the corrupt fall. Oh the web we create.

  7. The down arrow should have gone to Mike Parrish. He was the worst Dem candidate in a competitive seat in the entire country. Local Dems made fun of him behind his back. His house is still in foreclosure and he is getting sued by business partners and it ain’t gonna end pretty for the colonel. He should be loser of the year.

  8. You folks still under-estimate Johnny Doc. The much-hyped raid, with all media in tow, occurred August 5th. What have you heard since? That’s right, crickets. He continues to run arguably the strongest IBEW local union in the nation. Look at every positive thing that’s occurred in Philly in the past 18 months (Papal visit, DNC, East Market Street investments) and you’ll find Doc deeply involved. He’s the city’s biggest and most effective civic booster. So stick your down arrow up your a**.

  9. You forgot to mention Val DiGiorgio’s endorsements for State Republican Chair as another factor in Josh Shapiro’s up arrow.

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