Democratic super PAC launches Pa. ad campaign hitting Trump Medicare cuts | Friday Morning Coffee

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Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

The liberal super PAC Priorities USA says it’s launching a digital ad campaign in five 2020 battleground states hitting the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

In case you’d forgotten, the administration’s $4.8 trillion, 2020 spending plan combines deep entitlement cuts, with a deficit-closing scheme that’s so magical that it would prompt a unicorn to call shenanigans. If there’s any comfort, it’s that it’s unlikely that it will be approved in its entirety by Congress.

But, as a messaging document, it does provide a clear contrast between a newly emboldened Republican White House and the 2020 Democratic candidates, who are trying to draw bright-line distinctions on economic issues.

The campaign, which will run in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, includes “graphs (like the one above), videos and promoted news articles,” Priorities USA said in a statement.

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Despite the long odds of Trump’s plan coming to fruition, the Republican is still playing with fire by attacking popular social programs. A 2018 Marist/NPR/PBS poll found deep-rooted support.

Asked which option they’d prefer to contain a ballooning budget deficit, 60 percent of respondents said they’d reverse the GOP tax law to deal with the growing deficit, the poll found.

And barely more than two in 10 respondents, 21 percent, said they’d prefer to make cuts to entitlement Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to close the nation’s spending gap, Business Insider reported at the time.

Priorities USA appears to be banking on that latter sentiment, as it launches the latest installment of a campaign that’s been running on social media platforms in key states since last July.

Donald Trump promised to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but continues to try and cut them while giving massive tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations,” the super PAC’s executive director, Patrick McHugh, said in a statement. “We will continue to hold Trump accountable for these horribly misguided policy priorities – it’s important for people to know the truth about who Trump is really fighting for.”

Our Stuff.
Elizabeth Hardison
 leads our coverage this morning with an examination of the 20-year legacy of Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, says she’s looking forward to telling her granddaughters about Thursday’s U.S. House vote lifting a barrier to the eventual ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Capital-Star Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender has the story.

And our D.C. Reporter Allison Stevens has the result of a rare bipartisan U.S. Senate vote Thursday to rein in the Trump White House’s war-making powers. You will not be surprised to learn that Pennsylvania’s two senators, Democrat Bob Casey, and Republican Pat Toomey, split on the resolution.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: Activists and some members of City Council wonder whether city police are doing enough to stop gun violence in communities of color. And barely a week into her new job, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has thoughts on that very issue — and some others.

On our Commentary Page, York College’s John Weaver wants to tell you about the smallest, big event in the War on Terror that you probably didn’t even know happened last week. Opinion regular Ray Landis says the rest of Pennsylvania could take a lesson from the way Pittsburgh is redefining what it means to grow old. This Feb. 22 is National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day. And one expert says you should make sure you get checked out.

En la Estrella-Capitallos legisladores dicen que ‘Estamos progresando,’ pero queda trabajo por hacer para educar a los residentes de los Afroamericanos de Pensilvania sobre el VIH/SIDA. Y la Corte de apelaciones defiende a la prohibición de preguntas sobre la historia del salario de Filadelfia.

Movita Johnson-Harrell (Courtesy campaign Facebook page)

Elsewhere.
Former state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell’s life is coming to the stageThe Inquirer has the story.
Allegheny County is on track to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youthPittsburgh City Paper reports.
PennLive asks whether questions about criminal histories belong on college applications.
Is Pennsylvania really serious about redistricting reform? One committee leader is skeptical, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

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A new fund helps abuse survivors pay for counseling — without getting police involved, WHYY-FM reports.
A staggering 500 million pieces of litter have been found on Pa. roadways, the PA. Post reports.
Retiring state Rep. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, is officially running for state Senate, PoliticsPA reports.
Roll Call talks to Elizabeth Warren supporters in Virginia who are holding out for Super Tuesday.

WolfWatch.
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

Heavy Rotation.
For Valentine’s Day, quite possibly the most romantic song we’ve ever heard. It’s God Only Knows‘ by The Beach Boys.

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
New Jersey 
rallied to beat the Red Wings 4-1 on Thursday night in a busy night of NHL action.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.