MANHEIM, Pa. — Every four years we go through the same ritual of hyping Pennsylvania’s status as a battleground state before watching it go Democratic. Mitt Romney memorably spent some of his final moments as a presidential candidate in 2012 campaigning in the Philadelphia suburbs, leading more than a few gullible pundits to speculate that maybe something had shifted in the polls and Romney had a chance of tipping Pennsylvania into his column. He ended up losing the state by five percentage points.
It’s easy to understand why Republicans would want to make a play for Pennsylvania: the state isn’t as reliably Democratic as other so-called “blue wall” states, and it has a robust cache of 20 electoral votes. Poaching the state would hobble the Democratic candidate and send hot needles of panic throughout the party over the loss of a heavily unionized mid-Atlantic redoubt. But while the GOP has dominated the rural and suburban parts of the state, it just can’t seem to figure out how to overcome the Democrats’ huge advantages in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other urban areas.
Looking at the poll averages, Donald Trump is running fairly close to #Hillary Clinton statewide — he’s within two points, per RealClearPolitics. At the same time, Democratic campaign veterans still think it’s out of reach for him. “[Hillary’s] not going to win Pennsylvania by 8 or 10,” Obama’s 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe told Slate recently, “but Trump can’t win it.” Whatever chance Trump has relies on counties like Lancaster turning out in huge numbers. Lancaster is Republican as hell. It went for John McCain by 13 points in 2008, and Romney beat Obama there by nearly 20 points in 2012. That’s why Trump was here in Manheim on Saturday: to beseech a large crowd of supporters in this Republican stronghold to help him pull out a massive upset.
One theme I picked up on in talking to Trump supporters before the rally was a widespread recognition that Trump’s lack of discipline and focus on personal battles, especially his fight with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado in the week following the first debate, isn’t doing him any favors.
Topics: 2012 Elections, 2016 Elections, Alicia Machado, Donald Trump, donald trump #taxes, Hillary Clinton, #Lancaster County, Mitt Romney, Pennsylvania, Republicans, Taxes, Voter Fraud, Elections News, Politics News