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As the calendar moves closer to November, polling data is showing that the presidential race is tightening. According to a Monmouth Poll, the presidential race is within four points, and one to three points when likely voters are taken into account. Both of these statistics are within the poll’s margin of error, which is typically around four points. In other words, either Trump or Biden could conceivably win the once reliably Democratic state. Whoever wins Pennsylvania and the state’s twenty electoral votes will almost certainly win the 2020 presidential election. Biden’s lead in the state has shrunk from a high of ten points in mid – July, showing how immensely competitive the state has now become for both candidates.
However, Trump has increased his support in ten counties that were closest in 2016, when Trump narrowly carried the state of Pennsylvania by a margin of over 44,000 votes. In these critical counties in the eastern part of the state, which run from the Philadelphia suburbs into the Northeast part of the state, Trump holds 46 percent support compared to 44 percent for Biden. Just six weeks ago, Biden held a sizeable 54 to 35 percent lead among voters in this grouping, and Hillary Clinton carried these counties by just over one percent in the 2016 election. That margin is almost identical to Clinton’s performance in Bucks County, a vote rich, working class suburb of Philadelphia.
These numbers tell a larger story, but its not just about the Republican party making ground in traditionally Democratic areas. It’s a story about how millions of Americans across the country, from rural Appalachia to the agricultural Midwest, have been betrayed by the establishment of both parties. These Americans picked Obama when John McCain and Mitt Romney ran for president, as both politicians represent the face of the establishment just as perfectly Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton do. Many of these voters live in reliably Democratic areas, and subsequently shocked the world when they put Trump in the White House over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
These shifting demographic patterns aren’t really about conservative or liberal, but how the establishment of both parties have neglected these voters in favor of constituencies they think will be more beneficial to them. The Democratic establishment have left these voters behind by championing legislation which attacks the church and the traditional family, in an effort of assembling a “progressive coalition” to help the left gain political power over those they have left behind, unfairly claiming they are “out of touch” with American values. In contrast, the Republican establishment has gotten behind “amnesty – like” protections for undocumented immigrants in the United States, and have treated their elite donor class like royalty, while ignoring rural, working class Americans.
The shifting of these demographic groups towards Trump reveals much of what the November election will be about. This isn’t just about an ideological contest between left and right, but about the voices of individual Americans versus an elite establishment concentrated in the coastal cities that wants to regulate their lives while simultaneously leaving them behind. Many of these voters particularly feel a sense of authenticity in regard to President Trump, even if they don’t always agree with what he says or how he says it, including the pro – life issue. President Trump was the first ever sitting president to attend the March for Life, showing he actually cared about the issue of fighting for the unborn, as opposed to members of the GOP establishment who only used the issue to drive out votes while privately were not that invested in the cause. The demographic realignment across the middle of the country, including in Pennsylvania, is showing how Americans everywhere are tired of the establishment of both parties micromanaging their lives, and are seeking a bold new direction for America.
Egan, L. (2020, January 25). Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life rally. Retrieved September 07, 2020, from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-becomes-first-sitting-president-attend-march-life-rally-n1122246
Greenwood, M. (2019, March 15). The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority. Retrieved September 07, 2020, from https://thehill.com/homenews/house/434113-the-31-trump-districts-that-will-determine-the-next-house-majority
Hagen, L. (2016, February 07). Rubio defends Gang of Eight immigration bill. Retrieved September 07, 2020, from https://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-primaries/268525-rubio-defends-gang-of-eight-immigration-bill
Lopez, G. (2019, May 17). The House just passed a sweeping LGBTQ rights bill. Retrieved September 07, 2020, from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/17/18627771/equality-act-house-congress-lgbtq-rights-discrimination
Poll, M. (2020, September 02). Presidential Race Tightens. Retrieved September 07, 2020, from https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_pa_090220/