Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

Trump’s Push to Secure Pennsylvania for the GOP in Full Swing

Jamie Roberts By Jamie Roberts Jun1,2024

Former President Trump is turbocharging his efforts to win back Pennsylvania with visits set in critical swing areas of the state on Saturday. 

It’s part of an aggressive push by the former president to make inroads in the battleground area, which is seen as President Biden’s home turf. 

Pennsylvania is the biggest swing state on the map, boasting 19 Electoral College votes. If Trump can capture it in November, it could severely narrow Biden’s path to victory. 

Trump will hold a rally in the Lehigh Valley region on Saturday after attending a fundraiser in Bucks County outside of Philadelphia. 

“This is going to be one of many, many visits,” said David Urban, who was a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign and played a role in the campaign’s efforts to flip the state that same year. 

“If you look at ‘16 and ‘20 and how many visits were made, there are going to be equally as many plus more,” he added. 

But Democrats have seen major successes in the state as of late, with Biden flipping it in 2020 and Pennsylvania Democrats seeing victories up and down the ballot in 2022. And polls show Biden with an advantage. The Hill’s Decision Desk HQ average shows Biden narrowly leading Trump 46.5 percent to 45.9 percent. 

Both parties are also closely watching a number of down-ballot races in the state, including a high-profile Senate race and a few competitive House races. Trump’s stop in the Lehigh Valley notably overlaps with Pennsylvania’s highly competitive seventh congressional district, which is currently held by incumbent Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.). 

Republicans say the national environment benefits them in Pennsylvania, pointing specifically to what they say are Biden’s weaknesses on the economy and immigration. Republicans also point to what they say is a voter registration advantage in the state.

“I’m very bullish on the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania,” said Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based GOP strategist and former gubernatorial candidate.

“The Republicans have managed to dramatically decrease the Democrat registration in Pennsylvania,” he said.

Data from Pennsylvania’s Department of State as of April 10 showed 25,593 Republicans automatically registered in the state, while 22,528 Democrats were registered. Voters listed as “other” numbered 22,822.

Republicans say that Trump will need to replicate his 2016 strategy to a certain degree, by driving up turnout in the state’s red enclaves, while tempering Biden’s support in areas more favorable to him, like the Philadelphia suburbs. 

“If you go back and look at ‘16, Trump performed historical margins in so many counties. Eight percent in some of these counties…where McCain, Romney, and Bush were getting 60 percent,” Urban said. 

Lackawanna County is set to once again be one of the most closely watched counties in Pennsylvania. Trump won the county in 2016 but Biden flipped it in 2020. 

Biden will visit the county’s seat and his birthplace, Scranton, on Tuesday to deliver an economic address. The visit underscores the president’s own push to retain the state. 

“From the State of the Union to the next day he was in Delaware County and since then vibes have been very good,” said one Pennsylvania Democratic operative.  “As people start to tune into the election, Biden does better because one, his policies are very popular. We just have to tell people about them.” 

“Elections are choices and the more voters are considering this as a choice, the better Biden does because as [Biden] says ‘Compare me to the almighty, not the alternative,’” the operative added.

In addition to touting Biden’s legislative achievements, like the bipartisan infrastructure package, Democrats in Pennsylvania are also signaling they plan to tie Trump to the anti-abortion movement and re-up his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) echoed the strategy in a statement released through the Biden campaign ahead of Trump’s visit on Saturday. 

“Donald Trump poses the greatest threat to Pennsylvanian’s rights and freedoms in decades. Tomorrow, he’ll come to the commonwealth as we see the devastating consequences of his first term: women from Florida to Arizona robbed of the ability to make their own healthcare decisions, people desperately trying to get pregnant left without access to IVF, and doctors living in fear of prosecution for doing their jobs,” the governor said.

He went on to accuse Trump of “running a campaign of revenge and retribution” and of “doubling down on the same election lies that inspired a mob to attack the Capitol, putting our very democracy at risk.” 

But Republicans aren’t as sure running on the two issues will work in the state, particularly amid inflation woes that are being seen across the country. 

“I don’t get the sense that democracy is on the ballot,” Urban said. “I think when people are fearful that they can’t fill their tank or take their kids on vacation this summer, I’m not sure that democracy really matters. That’s a concept. It’s a fuzzy concept versus hey, I can’t pay my bills. That’s not a fuzzy concept.”

While some Republicans said abortion is settled law in Pennsylvania, others noted that there is some vulnerability on the issue, particularly in the state’s suburban enclaves. 

“It’s a rallying cry to turn out the vote for the Democrats for sure and Republicans need to find a better way to message it,” said Vince Galko, a Pennsylvania-based GOP strategist, adding that “there’s a lot of other problems that affect us every single day and Democrats have no answer for them. 

Another factor in the election could be third-party candidates, particularly if Robert F. Kennedy is able to get on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Many Democrats and Republicans believe that in 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein took votes away from Hillary Clinton in swing states like Pennsylvania, in part boosting Trump to victory. 

Stein is running for the Green Party’s nomination again, but strategists from both parties say that Kennedy, given his national name ID and support, could hinder Biden in a state like Pennsylvania. 

“If Kennedy gets on the ballot, he’s going to do very well in the state,” Galko said. “He can be the spoiler in this thing for Biden. Whether he gets to two, three, four, five, six percent, I don’t know but that could be a huge difference in the vote.” 

While Republicans say they feel good about their prospects in the state ahead of November, they are warning that the state should not be taken for granted. 

“I still believe it will be a relatively close contest in Pennsylvania,” Gerow said. “Republicans don’t win presidential elections in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump was one of a very, very few in my lifetime that won the state.” 

Jamie Roberts

By Jamie Roberts

Jamie is an award-winning investigative journalist with a focus on uncovering corruption and advocating for social justice. With over a decade of experience in the field, Jamie's work has been instrumental in bringing about positive change in various communities.

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2 thoughts on “Trump’s Push to Secure Pennsylvania for the GOP in Full Swing”
  1. Trump’s determination to reclaim Pennsylvania is admirable. If he can sway the swing state in his favor, it may indeed complicate Biden’s chances. However, Biden has shown strength in the state, and polls reflect that advantage. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the upcoming election.

  2. I believe Trump’s aggressive campaigning in Pennsylvania might have an impact on the upcoming elections. If he can secure the state, it could indeed present challenges for Biden’s re-election. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the battleground area.

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