Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pennsylvania Is More Than Likely To Swing Back To Sanity In November


No one will need that graphic again

It wasn't that long ago that Pennsylvania was a Republican state. In my lifetime presidential elections went to Republicans in the Keystone State 8 times and to Democrats 10 times. In 1980, 1984 and 1988 Pennsylvania voters went for Reagan over Carter (49.6% to 42.8%), for Reagan over Mondale (53.3% to 46.0%) and for George W. Bush over Michael Dukakis (50.7% to 48.4%). After that Bill Clinton won the state twice, Al Gore beat George Bush, John Kerry beat Bush, and then Obama won twice, giving Pennsylvania the reputation for being a blue state. And then along came 2016, where the nation watched in horror as Trump unexpectedly beat Hillary 2,970,733 (48.18%) to 2,926,441 (47.46%)-- just 44,292. Did Putin monkey around in Erie, Luzerne and Chester counties? Hillary still won Obama counties like Delaware, Lackawanna and Dauphine but with far fewer votes. Really, what happened?

Since Tuesday, we've been looking at the excellent results for Democrats-- particularly progressive Democrats-- across the state. Democrats were more motivated to get out and vote than Republicans were. And in many cases progressive candidates beat establishment, right-of-center Democrats. Yesterday Gabriel Debenedetti did a post for New York magazine asking Is Pennsylvania Still Trump Country? Still? Like it ever really was?

As we mentioned Friday, Trump and the Democrats got their dream candidate in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary, racist, xenophobe and lackadaisical Lou Barletta. The state and national GOP was less enthused. It's not likely Barletta can even come close to winning a general election. Debenedetti wrote that "When the fiery Barletta first emerged as the party’s likely standard-bearer there last year, it seemed a clear test of the replicability of Trump’s road map to victory in Pennsylvania, where he was the first GOP presidential candidate to win since 1988. If Barletta could win, that would be a clear sign that Trump might be better positioned to run through Pennsylvania in 2020 than he was even in 2016, when he beat Hillary Clinton there by just 0.7 points. But if Barletta-- as close a Trump ally as exists in Congress-- couldn’t, it would be an obvious warning sign for" Señor Trumpanzee.
That sign is now flashing.

Whereas Pennsylvania was once viewed as a high-profile Senate battleground in 2018-- one of the ten seats up for grabs featuring a Democratic incumbent in a state Trump won-- on Thursday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to even put it in his top tier of interest, in an interview with the Washington Post. He called Barletta and Representative Jim Renacci, his counterpart in Ohio, “credible counterparts that could get onto the radar screen,” but in Pennsylvania’s place he listed states like Arizona and Tennessee, both traditionally conservative states held by retiring Republicans.

It’s an understandable pivot: In Tennessee, which Trump won by 26 points in 2016, his approval rating is at 53 percent-- and the Democratic Senate front-runner’s approval rating is still 67 percent, compared to the Republican front-runner’s 49 percent. But Trump’s approval rating in Pennsylvania was down to 30 percent this spring, according to a Franklin & Marshall poll. That won’t help Barletta-- who’s relatively unknown back home-- in his strategy to hug Trump tight and follow his trail through the state. He appears to be ditching the traditional moderate GOP plan of competing in and around Philadelphia (where Casey is now going for a blowout), and instead aiming to win the northeastern regions that Trump flipped away from Barack Obama.

That means Trump’s 2016, and maybe 2020, plan is, indeed, getting a road test in 2018. And national Republicans are looking away.

It’s simple, say relieved Democrats. “Barletta will get wiped out because he won’t do well in the Philadelphia suburbs, and he won’t do as well as Trump did in other places” either, predicted former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell, a Democrat. Without Clinton to beat up on-- and thereby no way to dampen voter turnout in the fired-up suburbs-- and without a flood of national GOP time, energy, and money to engage Trump’s base, Barletta’s attempt to duplicate Trump’s path through Pennsylvania is just too far-fetched, he said. “It’s not credible at all.”
And it isn't just Barletta who's going down in 2018. After the 2016 elections, Pennsylvania sent 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats to Congress. In 2019 it looks likely that Pennsylvania will be sending something like 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans to Congress. If the wave is big enough, it could be 11 Democrats and 7 Republicans. That doesn't look like Trump country-- especially not with the up-and-comer next Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, helping define what Pennsylvania looks like politically.

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At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary still won Obama counties like Delaware, Lackawanna and Dauphine but with far fewer votes. Really, what happened?

She was the only candidate who could have lost Pennsylvania and she did. It's hard to explain just how toxic Hillary was. Go ahead, blame the Russians but if the election were held tomorrow in PA, Hillary would lose it again.

At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen 11:12. It takes a truly astonishing amount of willful myopia to not see this.

Instead of lauding trump for being the first Nazi to win since '88, you should make it simpler and blame $hillbillary for being the first (and possibly only) 'crap to lose there since '88.

However, in all fairness, and it will take some time perhaps to verify, but it may just be that the party that wins every 10th year is important because that means they can take the census results and gerrymander districts such that their tribe will be unbeatable for a decade.

ya think?!?!?

epiphany yet? didn't think so.

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hesitate to accept as fact anything the corporate media has to say since their owners clearly have an agenda hostile to my own.


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