Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey faces a dazzling array of obstacles in his bid for a second term. The first is Donald Trump, and Toomey is walking an impossible tightrope there. Democratic opponent Katie McGinty’s victory speech tied him tightly to Trump, and he has to shake off that label to get moderate Philadelphia support — although admitting he’ll support Trump as the nominee.


Here’s Toomey insisting it’s “outrageous” that McGinty would dare tie him to Trump. He quickly told reporters he voted for Cruz. Subtext: “I’m just being loyal to the party! Please don’t tie me to Donald Trump!”

I understand why Toomey voted for Cruz; Cruz is the same kind of tax-cutting extremist Toomey is. The only difference? Toomey tries to fly under the radar. This isn’t Texas, he still needs Democratic voters from Philly and Pittsburgh and suburban swing voters to win.

Lucky me. He’s my senator.

It’s been almost a year since a massive train derailment killed seven people a mile from my house, and my sleepy Philadelphia neighborhood was held hostage for more than a week to the constant drone of multiple news choppers. It was national news, and it was horrific.

The technology to stop a speeding Amtrak train exists, and Congress voted for it. But like many things in D.C. these days, the funding to actually implement it was obstructed by the Republicans. Guess who was out in front?

For years, Toomey complained about the safety system’s high costs, and sponsored legislation to delay it. He even called it an “exorbitantly expensive unfunded mandate.” He said he’d rather use the money to fix bridges.

That’s where we are with these Republicans: We can have safe bridges or safe trains, but we can’t have both.

There’s your problem with the Pat Toomeys and Ted Cruzes of the world: They don’t want government to work. They want to defund it, break it, and use that as an excuse to sell off the broken pieces to their big donors. They’ve been trying to sell off Amtrak for decades, which is why they won’t spend enough money to fix it, or to keep you safe. That’s why Toomey says if a train route doesn’t turn a profit, get rid of it! No mention of environmental and traffic benefits of taking all those cars off the road, or of providing transportation for people who can’t afford cars.

Conservatives have trained us to accept these dangerous arguments as if they’re rational. They’re not.

So if you love broken, deadlocked, austerity-loving and outright dangerous Republican policies, Pat Toomey’s your man.

Personally, I think if your college-aged kid takes the train to visit friends in D.C., or your sister and brother-in-law take the train to Madison Square Garden to see Billy Joel, you should be able to expect them to get home alive.

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask from the greatest nation in the world.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)