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Paul Kengor

Paul Kengor: Allegheny County Democrats eat their own

| Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, 6:03 p.m.
Mark Salvas
Mark Salvas

Mark Salvas, executive director of the Alle­gheny County Democratic Party, has resigned because of backlash from Democrats over two Facebook posts. One was a picture of him and his wife aside the words, “I stand for the flag, I kneel at the cross.”

“I’m not ashamed of my patriotism,” responded Salvas, a former Marine and Gulf War veteran, “not one bit.” He told KDKA’s Jon Delano: “I fought for this country. I think I have a right to have a voice and be patriotic.”

It wasn’t the only reason for Salvas’ dismissal.

A second post came from Salvas’ wife, asking support for the family of police Officer Michael Rosfeld, accused of killing an African-American teen, Antwon Rose II.

Salvas has known Rosfeld since he was 3 years old, but his backing of the young officer was slammed as “racist” by fellow Democrats, an accusation Salvas vehemently denies. Not only were no racial remarks leveled anywhere in the post, but Salvas has a biracial child and black Americans in his own family.

The Rosfeld family has “been there for us in hard times,” said Salvas, “and my wife and I felt it was necessary to be there for them because family backs family.”

But Allegheny County Democrats refused to back one of their own family.

“To put that up on Facebook was, to me, insensitive, also to African-Americans,” State Rep. Ed Gainey said. “Everybody knows that it was insensitive. If you’re going to be executive director of the Democratic Party, you have to be sensitive to things like that.”

Gainey, who is African- American and knows Salvas, concedes that Salvas is not racist, but refused to support him nonetheless.

In short, Salvas was fired for two, if not three, offenses: alleged racial insensitivity, flag insensitivity and perhaps religious insensitivity as well — and the ensuing fracas from enraged Democrats.

Asked point blank in an interview with Fox News if the flag post “singularly was the reason” for his dismissal, Salvas said it was “a combination” of the two posts.

“I was asked by the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Party to resign my position due to the controversy that was taking place on social media, and I did,” Salvas told Delano.

So, Mark Salvas was tossed under the bus for supporting his friend, his flag, his faith.

And yet, Salvas, curiously, still supports his party, insisting it’s a “big tent party.” “There’s a place for all of us and all of our views,” he says.

Really?

The painful truth to Alle­gheny County Democrats, many of them heirs to union guys and gals, the hardhats, coal miners and steelworkers (my relatives, too), is that this isn’t your grandfather’s Democratic Party. In today’s party, JFK and Harry Truman would get the boot quicker than you could say “Mark Salvas.” This is the party of Pelosi and Bernie and Elizabeth Warren and Hillary and Obama.

It was once the party of God, guns, family, farmers, steelworkers.

Old-school Democrats like Salvas don’t realize their party was long ago hijacked by the extreme left. They’ve allowed their party to be fundamentally transformed, to borrow Barack Obama’s term. They never stopped the radical leftists, and now they will be devoured by them.

Like Saturn, the Democratic Party will eat its own.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His column appears twice a month.

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