Bob Casey Was an Understated Senator. Then Came Trump.

Mr. Casey is actually not behaving like a senator approaching a re-election race next year in a state Mr. Trump carried, erasing any expectation in which vulnerable Democrats might edge toward Mr. Trump en masse as well as distinguishing himself by some more reticent colleagues.

Nor is actually Mr. Casey behaving, according to some friends as well as supporters, entirely like himself — or, at least, the iteration they had come to expect during his even-tempered decade in Congress under presidents not named Trump.

Yet, as the anti-Trump movement continues, the item has accommodated a leadership role for Mr. Casey, 57, the son of a governor by a suddenly-red state, initially elected to the Senate as an anti-abortion, pro-gun product of Scranton, Pa. — in which irrepressible exporter of blue-collar political narratives for Bidens as well as Clintons as well as most any additional candidate having a credible Rust Belt connection as well as a story to tell.

Of course, times change, as well as senators, too.

yet Mr. Casey insists his higher gear has existed all along, suggesting in which his circumstances have shifted far more than his legislative priorities, which have long skewed toward a familiar sort of Democratic Catholicism: programs for children, people with disabilities as well as additional disadvantaged groups.

“We’re in a period of time where we’ve never been before,” Mr. Casey said in an interview at his office from the Capitol — once occupied by another noted Catholic Democrat from the Senate, John F. Kennedy. “I’ve been fighting these battles for years.”

Composure is actually central to the Casey political brand. There is actually a family joke about a stubborn mood ring given to Mr. Casey from the 1970s: the item never changed colors.

Still, admirers say they can identify Mr. Casey’s recent spark.

“Trump has gotten his Irish up,” said Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist who first encountered Mr. Casey when his father, Robert P. Casey, ran successfully for Pennsylvania governor in 1986.

During off hours back then, Mr. Begala said, he might join the younger Mr. Casey for pickup basketball in Philadelphia. Swinging elbows were common. The senator has described his own skill-set as “blue-collar banger.”

For Mr. Casey, the Capitol’s most prominent anti-abortion Democrat, the more visible Trump-era profile also coincides having a national reckoning over whether opponents of abortion rights should have a place from the party’s future. Last month, Thomas E. Perez, the party’s newly elected chairman, said the item was “not negotiable” for Democrats to “support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body as well as her health.”

additional party leaders have countered in which such a litmus test could doom Democrats to perpetual minority status. In private, many elected officials have invoked Mr. Casey as an example of the kind of figure the party might do well not to alienate.

The Casey family’s opposition to abortion is actually enshrined in a Supreme Court decision: Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which, in 1992, reaffirmed Roe v. Wade yet upheld part of a Pennsylvania law regulating access to abortions during the elder Mr. Casey’s tenure. The former governor died in 2000.

During his time from the Senate, though, the younger Mr. Casey has become an ally of sorts for Planned Parenthood, fighting Republican efforts to defund the organization.

“I think our party is actually a much bigger tent than the item was 10 or 15 years ago,” Mr. Casey said in his office, where a Pope Francis doll is actually perched beside his desk. He suggested in which work on economic priorities for Democrats could transcend social issues.

As he seeks re-election next year, Mr. Casey has charted a different course than some fellow Democrats by states in which Mr. Trump won, several of whom have trod more carefully. Generally, such Democrats, like Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana as well as Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, represent far more right-leaning states.

Perhaps most notably, Mr. Casey was an early as well as forceful opponent of the nomination of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, joining the Democratic filibuster without hesitation.

Pennsylvania Republicans say his choices will not go unnoticed.

“Even before the Trump presidency, he’s been moving consistently to the left, abandoning any pretense of being the man his father was, somebody who could reach across the aisle,” said Val DiGiorgio, the chairman of the state’s Republican Party, who predicted in which Trump-voting Democrats in Western Pennsylvania might abandon Mr. Casey, too.

Mr. Casey’s possible challengers include Representative Lou Barletta, one of Mr. Trump’s earliest campaign supporters in Congress.

Edward G. Rendell, the former governor who won the job after defeating Mr. Casey in a 2002 primary, said Mr. Casey’s heightened outspokenness was not politically foolproof.

Photo

Mr. Casey, center, left a Philadelphia Orchestra ball in January to join demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport in protest of Mr. Trump’s travel ban.

Credit
Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto, via Getty Images

“You can say in which Bob Casey is actually doing in which at some political risk to himself,” Mr. Rendell said, adding in which he believed Mr. Casey’s “evolution” in tone reflected a genuine anger at the Trump administration. “He always was a Democrat who ran well with moderates as well as even some reasonable conservatives. is actually he throwing in which away by being so vocal as well as emphatic on these issues? Well, maybe so.”

Mr. Casey’s office noted in which of the 31 Pennsylvania counties he had visited since the election, 21 voted for Mr. Trump.

as well as his words have carried outsize weight in Democratic caucus meetings, where the party continues to grapple with how to recover its standing with working-class white voters.

“He’s one of my favorites,” Senator Chuck Schumer of brand-new York, the minority leader, said of Mr. Casey, sounding like a teacher at a parents’ conference. “in which quiet tone shouldn’t fool anybody.”

In all likelihood, though, Mr. Casey’s seat became safer with November’s result, allowing him to position himself against a sitting president rather than defend a third consecutive Democratic term from the White House.

Mr. Rendell predicted in which Mr. Casey as well as Gov. Tom Wolf were the “only two Pennsylvania Democrats who will benefit by Donald Trump winning.”

Several colleagues as well as supporters rejected any suggestion in which Mr. Casey had changed much in substance with the arrival of Mr. Trump.

“the item’s the Bob Casey I’ve known for 10 years,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio. “Trump hasn’t changed him. Trump has forced all of us to be more outspoken.”

At the very least, Mr. Casey, who became an ally of President Barack Obama after endorsing him over Hillary Clinton in 2008, seems to have established himself as a broadly reliable Democrat — one whom the party’s leading voices appear eager to embrace in public.

the item was not always in which way.

When Mr. Casey was weighing a Senate run before the 2006 elections, Mr. Rendell remembered, he received calls by Mr. Schumer as well as Mrs. Clinton, who was then a senator by brand-new York. They asked if Mr. Rendell, then the governor, could help clear the primary field for Mr. Casey, he said. He obliged.

Then came the deluge of protests by abortion rights activists. Mr. Rendell called the senators back, asking if he could ease the pressure by spreading word in which Mr. Casey had their support.

“They said, ‘We’ll get back to you,’” Mr. Rendell said, chuckling. “the item’s at in which point 10 years later. They’ve never gotten back to me.”

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