Readability

Pennsylvania Dreamin'

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-39-15-pmAny­one who thinks Penn­syl­va­nia is a safe state for Hillary Clin­ton is dead wrong.

Even though the Key­stone State hasn’t gone for a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date since 1988, Don­ald Trump knows that win­ning Penn­syl­va­nia is crit­i­cal to his bid for the White House. That’s why he and his sur­ro­gates have spent a great deal of time here.

Although I think polls are almost totally use­less because of their unre­li­a­bil­ity, Hillary’s com­pos­ite rank­ings have dropped sig­nif­i­cantly in the past month, accord­ing to Real Clear Pol­i­tics. Harper Polling [no rela­tion] puts the race at dead even. See http://​harper​polling​.com/​p​o​l​l​s​/​p​e​n​n​s​y​l​v​a​n​i​a​-​s​t​a​t​e​w​i​d​e​-poll – 112-3#PresidentTIE

This state, where I have lived since 2005, is a com­pli­cated one. The two main cities — Pitts­burgh in the west and Philadel­phia to the east — vote over­whelm­ing Demo­c­rat. In fact, Mitt Rom­ney failed to get a sin­gle vote in a num­ber of Philly precincts in 2012, lead­ing many to sus­pect voter fraud.

The rest of the state votes over­whelm­ingly GOP. The gov­er­nor­ship tends to shift between the two par­ties; the cur­rent offi­cer holder is a wacko lefty and, alas, not up for reelec­tion. The leg­is­la­ture stands firmly in the hands of the GOP. It tends to be more lib­eral than most GOP strong­holds, but the leg­is­la­ture usu­ally stops most of the silly Demo­c­rat plans. Half of the state Senate’s 50 seats are on the bal­lot this year, and if Repub­li­cans can pick up three of them, they would con­trol a veto-​proof majority.

The con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion tilts over­whelm­ingly Repub­li­can. The U.S. Sen­ate is split, with one Demo­c­rat and one Republican.

Vot­ers will replace a dis­graced attor­ney gen­eral, a Demo­c­rat who was con­victed of per­jury; and a Philadel­phia con­gress­man, a Demo­c­rat con­victed of corruption.

The prospects for the GOP, includ­ing Trump, look rel­a­tively good despite the pre­dic­tions from the media and their polls. Since Novem­ber 2015, the Penn­syl­va­nia GOP has reg­is­tered 243,139 new Repub­li­can vot­ers. That includes nearly 100,000 peo­ple who switched from the Demo­c­rat side.

Atlantic mag­a­zine pub­lished a detailed exam­i­na­tion of life­long Penn­syl­va­nia Democ­rats staunchly sup­port­ing Trump:

Paul Sracic, a Youngstown State Uni­ver­sity polit­i­cal sci­en­tist, said he believes there are two cat­e­gories of vot­ers ral­ly­ing to sup­port Trump. “First, there are peo­ple who don’t nor­mally vote,” he said. “Nearly half the voting-​age pop­u­la­tion was either not reg­is­tered to vote, or was reg­is­tered and decided not to vote in 2012. And if even 10 per­cent of that group was to show up and vote this year, it could eas­ily change the out­come in the impor­tant swing states.”

Trump may be helped by these trends, but incum­bent Repub­li­can Pat Toomey may not be. That’s mainly because he has failed to endorse Trump.

Toomey is run­ning evenly with Katie McGinty, a Demo­c­rat who has never held polit­i­cal office but has worked as a polit­i­cal insider in Wash­ing­ton and Penn­syl­va­nia. McGinty came in fourth in the Demo­c­rat pri­mary for gov­er­nor in 2014. Her only cre­den­tials are head­ing envi­ron­men­tal wacko posts under Barack Obama and work­ing as a lob­by­ist for wacko environmentalists.

Toomey’s gam­ble stay­ing away from Trump may, in fact, be a bad move if the less-​than-​colorful GOP sen­a­tor loses.

It will be an inter­est­ing ride tonight, with the real pos­si­bil­ity that Trump could pull off a vic­tory in Penn­syl­va­nia even though the GOP may lose a Sen­ate seat.


Christo­pher Harper is a recov­er­ing jour­nal­ist who worked for The Asso­ci­ated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Wash­ing­ton Times and teaches media law.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-9-39-15-pmAnyone who thinks Pennsylvania is a safe state for Hillary Clinton is dead wrong.

Even though the Keystone State hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, Donald Trump knows that winning Pennsylvania is critical to his bid for the White House. That’s why he and his surrogates have spent a great deal of time here.

Although I think polls are almost totally useless because of their unreliability, Hillary’s composite rankings have dropped significantly in the past month, according to Real Clear Politics. Harper Polling [no relation] puts the race at dead even. See http://harperpolling.com/polls/pennsylvania-statewide-poll–11-2-3#PresidentTIE

This state, where I have lived since 2005, is a complicated one. The two main cities—Pittsburgh in the west and Philadelphia to the east—vote overwhelming Democrat. In fact, Mitt Romney failed to get a single vote in a number of Philly precincts in 2012, leading many to suspect voter fraud.

The rest of the state votes overwhelmingly GOP. The governorship tends to shift between the two parties; the current officer holder is a wacko lefty and, alas, not up for reelection. The legislature stands firmly in the hands of the GOP. It tends to be more liberal than most GOP strongholds, but the legislature usually stops most of the silly Democrat plans. Half of the state Senate’s 50 seats are on the ballot this year, and if Republicans can pick up three of them, they would control a veto-proof majority.

The congressional delegation tilts overwhelmingly Republican. The U.S. Senate is split, with one Democrat and one Republican.

Voters will replace a disgraced attorney general, a Democrat who was convicted of perjury; and a Philadelphia congressman, a Democrat convicted of corruption.

The prospects for the GOP, including Trump, look relatively good despite the predictions from the media and their polls. Since November 2015, the Pennsylvania GOP has registered 243,139 new Republican voters. That includes nearly 100,000 people who switched from the Democrat side.

Atlantic magazine published a detailed examination of lifelong Pennsylvania Democrats staunchly supporting Trump:

Paul Sracic, a Youngstown State University political scientist, said he believes there are two categories of voters rallying to support Trump. “First, there are people who don’t normally vote,” he said. “Nearly half the voting-age population was either not registered to vote, or was registered and decided not to vote in 2012. And if even 10 percent of that group was to show up and vote this year, it could easily change the outcome in the important swing states.”

Trump may be helped by these trends, but incumbent Republican Pat Toomey may not be. That’s mainly because he has failed to endorse Trump.

Toomey is running evenly with Katie McGinty, a Democrat who has never held political office but has worked as a political insider in Washington and Pennsylvania. McGinty came in fourth in the Democrat primary for governor in 2014. Her only credentials are heading environmental wacko posts under Barack Obama and working as a lobbyist for wacko environmentalists.

Toomey’s gamble staying away from Trump may, in fact, be a bad move if the less-than-colorful GOP senator loses.

It will be an interesting ride tonight, with the real possibility that Trump could pull off a victory in Pennsylvania even though the GOP may lose a Senate seat.


Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.