What the hell is going on? (Spoiler Alert: This is not about Donald Trump.)

Up in the state House's 197th District, there's been trouble that starts with T and that rhymes with P, for political party.

Democratic, of course.

The Dems first nominated Frederick Ramirez to run for the seat vacated by Leslie Acosta, who was shamed into resigning after standing for re-election knowing she had pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Where did she get such nerve?

Here's a hint: She was elected in 2014 when she defeated incumbent J.P. Miranda, who later pleaded guilty to a corruption charge.

Is there something in the water in the 197th, which encompasses parts of Feltonville, Hunting Park, Glenwood, Fairhill, North Square, and Francisville? It is shaped something like a Trojan Horse.

That imagery carries us to what happened next. The chosen Democratic candidate, Ramirez, was challenged by several citizens who claimed he did not live in the district and that a house he maintained there was vacant. They produced electric and water bills to show the utilities were barely used. Ramirez sat in the dark and didn't bathe?

The court found that evidence compelling and booted Ramirez off the ballot. The Democrats responded by nominating Emilio Vazquez, but the deadline had passed for the March 21 special election, as reported by Chris Brennan. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/Democrats-go-to-court-trying-to-get-back-on-the-197th-District-ballot.html

The Democrats' response? Deadline, shmeadline. They filed papers in Commonwealth Court to get Vazquez added to the ballot. As things stand right now, the only legit candidate is Republican Lucinda Little. It would be a stitch if she won as the district is, like, 95 percent Democratic.

The rules that say when papers must be filed are quite clear and the Democrats' dilemma is of their own making. The court should say no, but who knows?

If the courts reject the Democratic petition, the party can organize a write-in drive for Vazquez.

Deadlines may mean more to me in my line of work than in yours, but why have sensible rules if they are subject to being upset for flimsy reasons?

Here's another little problem. Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala was turned down by the courts after she missed the filing deadline by a day.

If the courts allow Vazquez to run, won't that send Honkala back to court to complain of unfair treatment?

Of course it will. And she'd be right.

Simple solution: Stick by the rules.