Why Republicans Lose Pennsylvania
When the Republican Party last carried the state, it did so on the backs of massive support from suburban Philadelphia. In the City of Brotherly Love, Bush I managed to snag a third of the county vote . With 20-plus margins in Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Bucks, why in heavens was the state a two-point squeaker?
Because metropolitan Pittsburgh was union blue. Westmoreland County went to Dukakis by 11 points, Washington by almost 25 points, Allegheny by 20, and so on. The margin Dukakis had out of the Western third of the state was greater than the margin he enjoyed in Philly.
It seems almost inconceivable now. President Clinton and candidates Al Gore and John Kerry would go on to secure the western Pennsylvania vote, albeit by smaller margins as the years went on. Even President Obama managed to barely carry the metro area in 2008. He lost ita first for a Democrat since 1972to Mitt Romney in 2012. However, he no longer needed it: he had the Collar.
Thanks to a blend of suburban moderate rejection of conservative candidates, wildly successful voter drives by Democrats, and the lack of incentives for county party offices to pump out a presidential-level effort, the four counties mentioned with 20-plus margins in 1988 have trended Democratic for the last 30 years.
Dozens Of Gop State Lawmakers Wanted Pas Electoral Votes Overturned Two Reflect On Their Decision
- Sam Dunklau Recent StoriesSam Dunklau is the Capitol Bureau Chief for WITF. He previously covered Illinois state government for NPR member station WUIS in Springfield, IL.Since 2015, Sam has been floating around the radio airwaves as a reporter, disc jockey, and station manager. He grew up in the small midwestern town of Paw Paw, Illinois and is a proud graduate of Augustana College.
– Republican state lawmakers are mulling changes to Pennsylvanias election law this session. They say that effort is aimed at improving the process for the states upcoming contests.
But many of them backed efforts to cast doubt on and overturn the election results even though no evidence of fraud or irregularities existed that could have affected the outcome, according to multiple federal and state officials and judges across the country.
Of 76 lawmakers WITF contacted either directly or through press offices to ask why they backed actions that could have disenfranchised millions of Pennsylvanians, two responded.
One, Rep. Doyle Heffley , said he still thinks something went wrong in Pennsylvania. The other, Rep. Paul Schemel , is now wondering whether what he believes are legitimate procedural questions in Pennsylvania were mistakenly conflated with former President Donald Trumps false claim that the election was rigged or stolen.
Ive Spent A Lot Of Time In Introspection
Rep. Paul Schemel has served in the state House since 2015. He said hes been reflecting a lot about the past few months, including why he signed the objection letter.
In my own introspection, I think, What were my own sort of words and comments that I used from the day of the election forward, and when is speech insightful and when is speech inciting?’ Schemel said.
Schemel said he doesnt believe state lawmakers contributed to the environment that led to Jan. 6. He said he told a number of constituents who called him alleging voter fraud that without proof, their claims wouldnt hold up.
I think to myself, Are there things that I could have said that could have made that point clearer? he said. But I would have never, never in my mind, imagined that we would have individuals in our country that would do the irresponsible things that occurred on January 6th.
via Jennifer Fitch / Pa. House GOP
Rep. Paul Schemel attends a House State Government committee hearing on Jan. 28, 2021
But state lawmakers were complaining about procedural problems they said led to an invalid election results, when independent authorities concluded there was no evidence to support that. Even U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, one of Pennsylvanias most prominent Republicans, acknowledged invalidating the states votes over those complaints was out of line.
But Schemel acknowledged, for better or worse, the states electoral process is fair and voters should trust it.
Attacking The Right To Vote
Conservatives have long used state legislatures to launder increasingly radical, often anti-democratic policies and positions into the Republican mainstream.
During Barack Obamas presidency, Arizona Republicans passed an anti-immigration bill that served as a model for other conservative legislatures. Five states passed copycat versions of Arizonas S.B. 1070, which imposed draconian ID requirements on immigrants and mandated racial profiling of anyone who might look illegal, after its original approval in 2010. The Supreme Court eventually struck down most of the law, but it helped turn hard-line anti-immigration rhetoric into a GOP litmus test well before Trump descended a golden escalator and launched his presidential campaign with a fascistic diatribe against immigrants.
Voting rights fared even worse. In 2011, Wisconsins Republican Legislature approved voter identification legislation that helped launch a nationwide assault on voting rights. Between 2010 and 2019, 25 states the vast majority with Republican-controlled legislatures, and many eager to move after a conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 passed bills that placed new restrictions on voting.
So far this year, Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced 14 pieces of legislation meant to limit voting rights, more than in any other state.
Allocation Of State Electoral Votes
As defined by the U.S. Constitution, each state is assigned a number of electoral votes as follows:
- One electoral vote for each member in the house of representatives , plus,
- One electoral vote for each senator.
Based on this system of assigning electoral ballots, the allocation of electoral votes for the upcoming 2020 election can be seen in the table below.
This system ensures that every state will have at least three electoral votes, and currently, California has the most electoral ballots at 55. The twenty-third amendment to the Constitution entitled the District of Columbia to cast electoral votes equal to the least populous state to allow the district’s residents to participate in Presidential elections.
The Right Moves Farther Right
Not all Republicans in Pennsylvania are on board with the partys radical turn. State Sen. Gene Yaw decried his partys efforts to overturn the election results in December, and later, in an interview with a local news station, chastised members of his caucus who want to go to war.
Do I like the fact that the candidate I supported lost NO, Yaw wrote in his December statement. Nevertheless, our system requires that, as a citizen, I respect the laws of this state and country.
Kenyatta believes there are at least 20 Republicans in the Pennsylvania state House who oppose the conspiracy-driven pushes to roll back voting rights. Together with Democrats, they could form a majority that says enough is enough and puts an end to the madness around the election and voting rights, Kenyatta said.
But unfortunately, he added, the folks who are the most rabid and out of control have been allowed to run roughshod over everybody else.
That fierce battle for control of the Republican Party between dedicated anti-democratic forces, and everyone else is playing out at almost every level of government. The right wing of the party has attempted to flex its muscle against any Republicans who have dared to buck them since the Capitol riot.
Scores of Republican voters, meanwhile, reregistered as independents after the Capitol riot, meaning that in states with closed primaries, like Pennsylvania, the primary electorate may only further radicalize.
What Is The Electoral College
The electoral college is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution . It is convened every four years for the sole purpose of electing the President and Vice President of the United States.
The United States is a democratic republic, meaning that in general, each state elects or appoints officials that represent the state’s residents at the federal level. This form of governance is also used to elect presidents through an electoral college where each state is allocated electoral votes cast by electors who represent the state.
Republicans Win Fewer Votes But More Seats Than Democrats
Republicans controlled the post2010 redistricting process in the four states, and drew new lines that helped the GOP win the bulk of the House delegation in each. Republicans captured 13 of 18 seats in Pennsylvania, 12 of 16 in Ohio, nine of 14 in Michigan, and five of eight in Wisconsin. Added together, that was 39 seats for the Republicans and 17 seats for the Democrats in the four proObama states.
The key to GOP congressional success was to cluster the Democratic vote into a handful of districts, while spreading out the Republican vote elsewhere. In Pennsylvania, for example, Republicans won nine of their 13 House seats with less than 60% of the vote, while Democrats carried three of their five with more than 75%.
One of the latter was the Philadelphiabased 2nd District, where 356,386 votes for Congress were tallied. Not only was it the highest number of ballots cast in any district in the state, but Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah won 318,176 of the votes. It was the largest number received by any House candidate in the country in 2012, Democrat or Republican. If some of these Democratic votes had been unclustered and distributed to other districts nearby, the party might have won a couple more seats in the Philadelphia area alone.
The Closest House Races of 2012
NARROW DEMOCRATIC WINNERS
Threatening Primaries Trump Supporters Make One Last Pitch For Pa Republicans To Block Election Results
Supporters of President Donald Trump circled the Pennsylvania Capitol for, potentially, the last time Monday in hopes of shaking the uninterested Republican-controlled state Legislature into stopping the commonwealth from giving its 20 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.
Republicans in the House and Senate have been saying since before the election they have no mechanism to change the presidential outcome.
While GOP leadership talked of auditing the election, such a proposal was shot down by lawmakers on a legislative research committee. Also, neither House or Senate Republicans issued any subpoenas to compel testimony before legislators on voting irregularities.
Seeing their tepid approach, Mondays rally-goers, about 100 in all, put their state legislators on notice that they would remember in 2022.
I will make it my personal mission to see to it that every one of these people who stand against us right now get primaried by a credible challenger, said Bobby Lawrence, a Franklin County GOP committee person and organizer of Mondays protest.
Lawrence said such an effort could succeed if it harnessed enthusiasm for Trump. While Trump lost Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, he still won 400,000 more votes than he won in 2016 in an election with record turnout.
Lawrence argued Mondays rally was not for Trump, but a bipartisan effort for election integrity. He wrote off attendees wearing Trump gear and waving Trump signs as part of a separate effort.
Donald Trump Tries To Reverse Republican Fortunes In Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH Once again, Pennsylvania Republicans are hopeful headed into a presidential election though their optimism has gone unrewarded for more than a quarter century.
Donald Trump is the latest Republican trying to take Pennsylvania which the party hasn’t claimed since George H.W. Bush in 1988 believing that anxiety about the economy and “bad trade deals” will flip the Keystone State into the GOP column.
“You got wiped out, folks,” Trump told a cheering crowd at the airport in Pittsburgh over the weekend, the heart of steel-and-coal country. “I hate to tell you, but you got wiped out.”
Trump will likely do well with blue-collar workers in western Pennsylvania, analysts said, but faces challenges with voters in eastern Pennsylvania, such as the Lehigh Valley and the Philadelphia suburbs.
“He does much worse with college whites, especially college educated white women,” said Varad Mehta, an independent scholar who lives in Bucks County, Pa.., and is studying the election. “And there are a lot of them in the Philadelphia suburbs.”
Trump also hopes his emphasis on trade, immigration, and blue-collar voters will help him in Midwest states like Ohio no Republican has won a presidential election without the Buckeye State and Michigan, which, like Pennsylvania, has gone Democratic in the last six presidential elections.
“She’s not winning Pennsylvania, let me tell you,” Trump said.
Things Are Looking Up For The Gop
Republican fortunes brightened notably in the western third of the state, and this has been happening for far longer than President Obama has been on the scene. One of the frequent assumptions I encounter is that the white, blue-collar Democrats that still dominate the region are voting on race now but will pounce on a Clinton. Yet Republicans have made incredible gains, and enjoyed a nice swing in voter registration out there beyond just these last six years.
This was happening from 1988 through 2004, with Bush improving in 2004 on his 2000 numbers, and his 2000 numbers improving on his fathers numbers in 1992. It may have accelerated under the current president, but the trend has been there for some time. As mentioned earlier, President Obama became the first Democrat in decades to lose the Pittsburgh media market outright. The state is no longer Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Kentucky in-between, as James Carville once summed it.
Local Republican efforts and the presence of third-party groups like Americans for Prosperity has paid off quite well in the west, and with similar demographics in northeastern Pennsylvania , there is still room to grow with this particular group. This is hardly enough to carry the state, of course: Pittsburgh is slowly aging, its population declining compared to the sustained growth in the states eastern third. More would be needed to offset the gamma-ray burst of Democratic votes emanating from Philadelphia.
Current Leadership Of Key Offices
One year of a Democratic trifecta Twelve years of Republican trifectasScroll left and right on the table below to view more years.
The Secret Is Unregistered Voters
So is there a path to winning the Keystone? As I said before, yes. The secret lies not with the current number of registered voters, where Democrats dwarf Republicans by a cool million, but in the number of citizens of voting age not registered. Finding them and goading them into registering wont be easy, but they arent a rare breed: per current registration figures provided by the Department of State, and the Census estimate of current voting-age population, there are more than 1.6 million such untapped voters residing here. Heck, some of them may have already registered once before, but it lapsed.
Attesting to the sheer power of that Democratic voter drive that started a decade ago, only 14 percent of them reside in Philadelphia or Allegheny County. A clear majority, 62 percent to 38 percent, of this untapped mass resides in counties that went to Romney. I broke down the numbers and converted it into a simple diagram, where the counties have been re-sized according to how big a share of the untapped vote they account for:
Pennsylvania Voters Are Not Just Demographically Democratic
The GOPs ostensible demographic edge in Pennsylvania is blunted in another way. The states population may be 83 percent white, but it does not vote that way. In each of the last three elections , the Republican nominee has underperformed his national share of the white vote in Pennsylvania. In 2004, George W. Bush took 58 percent of the white vote to John Kerrys 41 percent. But in Pennsylvania those figures were 54 percent and 45 percent, respectively, making the white vote in Pennsylvania eight points more Democratic.
In 2008, white Pennsylvanians were 13 points more Democratic than the nation . In 2012, they were five points more Democratic . Polling indicates this trend will continue this year. Trumps lead with white voters is 24 points in the recent ABC News/Washington Post and Fox News polls. This would be an expansion of Romneys 20-point advantage with white voters in 2012. Yet according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Trump leads white Pennsylvanians by only 11 points.
Pennsylvania Casts 20 Electoral College Votes For Biden
President-elect Joe Biden speaks Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del.
Pennsylvanias 20 Electoral College members cast their votes Monday for president-elect Joe Biden.
Similar votes are happening around the country. Despite President Donald Trumps many attempts to overturn the election results through the courts, the final electoral college vote will make official a result that has been clear since November: Biden won the electoral college, as well as the popular vote.
I hope you can see me smiling behind this mask, said Democratic Party Chair Nancy Mills, after the vote was officially tallied. She noted she was the first woman to preside over an electoral college vote in Pa.
This years meeting of the Electoral College looked a little different from usual.
The electors congregated in an auditorium in Harrisburg, not far from the state Capitol.
They typically meet on the state House floor, but the Capitol is restricting public access due to the pandemic. Several lawmakers who attended in-person sessions at the Capitol in recent weeks tested positive for coronavirus.
Pennsylvanias electoral college representatives were chosen by the commonwealths Democratic Party. They include elected officials from all levels of government, such as Attorney General Josh Shapiro and House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, along with labor leaders and local Democratic organizers.
As expected, all voted this year for Biden.
Why Trump Wont Win Pennsylvania
Every four years, the Republican Party willingly undergoes a kind of ritual humiliation: it tries to win the state of Pennsylvania in the presidential election. No doubt you have seen film of this unrequited courtship, but in case you havent, voilà.2012 offered more of the same, as Pennsylvania yanked the football away again, confirming its reputation as a White Whale of American politics.
Not everyone believes the GOP should abandon the chase. As early as 2013, astute observers were urging the GOP to invest more instead of fewer resources in the Keystone State. Pennsylvania, wrote Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, represents the biggest promise . . . for Republicans in 2016. Last July, G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young, two of the most authoritative commentators on Pennsylvania politics, published an op-ed claiming the GOP could win Pennsylvania in 2016.
While hardly a consensus, by the start of this cycle the idea that the GOP could win Pennsylvania had become more than a passing fancy. The GOP really does have a good shot to win Pennsylvania. Or at least it did, until voters nominated a candidate who may keep Pennsylvania spurning Republican presidential nominees for another two decades.
Donald Trump Flipped Rust Belt States By Boosting Rural Vote; Hillary Clinton Couldn’t Make Up The Difference
Rust Belt electon results
This map shows to the wide degree Donald Trump improved on Mitt Romney’s performance across the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tuesday’s election has put the national spotlight on three reliably blue states where Donald Trump flipped counties in his favor to secure an Electoral College win.
Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had gone decades voting for Democrat presidential candidates and pre-election polling pegged them for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The last time a Republican carried Michigan and Pennsylvania was in 1988, and Wisconsin last in 1984.
But on Tuesday, the three “blue firewall” states tipped toward Trump.
In these three Rust Belt states, plus Ohio, Trump turned out voters from rural counties, improved on Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 percentage of the vote in most counties and closed the gap in or won Democratic-leaning counties, according to a cleveland.com analysis of unofficial election results.
Trump over performed
In Wisconsin, Trump flipped the margin from the Romney-Obama race by 20 percentage points or more in 32 counties. Statewide, he gained nearly 8 points on Romney’s 2012 performance. Wisconsin’s rural southwestern counties, with small minority populations, went for Obama in 2012 but swung to Trump by 20 points or more.
Lackawanna County, where Clinton’s father and Joe Biden hail from, went to Obama by a margin of 27 points. Trump closed the gap to only 3.4 points.
Why Are Some Republicans Doing This
It’s not exactly Donald Trump’s last stand – he may never stop questioning the validity of the 2020 presidential election – but the congressional counting of Electoral College votes is the last major procedural hurdle between Joe Biden and his inauguration.
It is a hurdle Biden, with help of Democrats and some Republicans, is sure to clear.
It is also the last chance for the president’s supporters in Congress to demonstrate fealty to their man while he still holds office.
As such, the day’s events could shed light on the breadth of support the president still enjoys.
Already, there are signs that his backing may not be as strong as even recent predictions suggested.
If Republicans fall short of 100 votes in the House and the Senate can’t muster much more than the dozen senators who have already announced their intention to object, it could indicate a party sharply divided over its future. Does it involve unquestioning loyalty to Trump or one where his power is receding?
No matter the outcome, that such a remarkable, unprecedented attempt to reject the results of a democratic election could become a political litmus test will not easily be forgotten by many.
Pennsylvania Democrats Pick Up Victories 2 Years After Trump Wins State
- Nov. 6, 2018
DOYLESTOWN, Pa. Pennsylvania voters, who went for President Trump two years ago, swerved in the other direction Tuesday, handing Democrats key victories and swelling the partys share of the states House delegation.
Democratic women crashed the all-male congressional delegation, winning four House seats in the Philadelphia suburbs, according to The Associated Press.
Three of the Democratic candidates Mary Gay Scanlon, a lawyer; Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran; and Susan Wild, a former solicitor in Allentown, Pa. flipped seats previously held by Republicans, an achievement aided by a new map of House districts drawn this year to eliminate a Republican gerrymander. Additionally, Madeleine Dean, a state representative, won a seat vacated by a Democratic man.
In western Pennsylvania, a fifth Democrat, Representative Conor Lamb, who faced an incumbent Republican representative in a new district, also won his race. Democrats netted three flipped seats, because Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican running in Mr. Lambs vacated district, also won his race.
Democrats were all but preordained to net the two suburban Republican seats won by Ms. Scanlon and Ms. Houlahan because of the redistricting. Ms. Wilds victory in the Seventh District, which includes the Lehigh Valley, was a bit of icing on the cake, as the state contributed to Democrats new House majority.