State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster)
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster)

When a candidate for the highest office in Pennsylvania shares content that suggests America was a better place “before women had the right to vote,” we have to ask what that means about his potential policy goals.

In a campaign cycle that is getting weirder by the day, Doug Mastriano’s campaign for governor in Pennsylvania seems to be leaning further and further to the extreme right with each passing moment.

In this most recent incident, Doug Mastriano shared a shocking video to his personal account on Twitter, and that video makes a number of very disturbing claims.

In the 81-second video, a young woman claiming to be a former “angry blue-haired feminist” starts by saying “feminism is a scam” before launching into a number of conspiracy theories that eventually blame falling birth rates on a plot by “the Rockefellers” to “indoctrinate our children” and “disrupt the family unit” by forcing children into “Rockefeller-funded schools.”

While sharing or retweeting controversial items on social media is not the same thing as professing a belief out loud, most attribute this kind of behavior to at least a soft endorsement of the attitudes and beliefs professed in the shared posts or articles.

That said, when a candidate for the highest office in Pennsylvania shares content that suggests America was a better place “before women had the right to vote” and that “our overlords” forced women into the workforce so they could be taxed, we have no choice but to ask why he chose to promote this argument, and what that means about his potential policy goals should he be put in a position to dramatically affect the lives of Pennsylvania’s 6.5 million women.

Mastriano is on record saying he opposes a woman’s right to choose under all circumstances, and his attacks on public education are well-documented, but recent online behavior linking him to Christian Nationalist movements, combined with numerous other ties to fringe-right beliefs suggest that we may only be scratching the surface of his extremism.

Adding to the worries, Mastriano has essentially “walled himself off from the general public,” refusing to engage with media entities, even conservative outlets. Mastriano’s “security bubble” appears to exist solely to make sure he only spends time with those who share his extreme views.

When a candidate and a campaign makes the choice not to speak to the public or answer direct questions in anything other than a staged and controlled setting, it becomes unlikely that questions about extremism will ever fully be addressed.

But if he wins in November, Pennsylvania, and especially the Keystone State’s 6.5 million women will get four years of legislative answers to the questions about Mastriano’s extremism, and likely many more years of dealing with the consequences.