The northern state, which Trump won in 2016 by surprise, gives 20 votes in the Electoral College
Pennsylvania has become the main stage in the last days of the US election campaign. The northern state offers 20 coveted Electoral College votes and is highly divided.
Both the president, Donald Trump, and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, have visited the place insistently in recent days, to try to convince even the last of the undecided.
The Democratic candidate, in fact, reserved his last two campaign days entirely to his home state. He knows that if Pennsylvania wins, it would be closer to victory, taking into account polls in other key locations.
“The personality of this country is at stake. There is a lot of division, and we need to be united. That polarization occurs because the leadership of the country is promoting it,” says Randy Richardson, a middle-aged businessman, on the streets of Scranton, California. city where Biden lived his early years.
He will vote for his countryman. “I do not like how Donald Trump is handling the pandemic. There is no unified message. In other countries the decision about what to do is not delegated to fifty states. A federal policy is made. This has not been done here,” he justifies Richardson.
Biden, his option, leads the polls with about 4.1 points of advantage over Trump, far from the 7.3 points that separated the two candidates on October 12, according to the consolidated of polls carried out by the Real Clear Politics portal.
The president has managed to close the gap. It’s not the first time. In 2016, Pennsylvania won by just 44,000 votes, after turning around polls that placed then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as the winner.
TRUMP WAS THE VICTORY IN 2016
Trump managed to break a cycle of Democratic dominance of up to six victories in consecutive presidential elections in the northern state. He did this by promising to bring back the jobs lost for decades due to the relocation of industries to other countries with cheaper labor.
After four years in office, unemployment had fallen, in February, before the pandemic, half a point compared to the figure left by the Administration of former President Barack Obama.
“You have to make this country work. You have to get the homeless off the streets and the Democrats don’t. They are only interested in their pockets,” says Robert Smith, a mechanic in Wilkes-Barre, a small town in Wilkes-Barre County. Luzerne, in eastern Pennsylvania, where the skyline is littered with living brick factories, and which Trump managed to dye red four years ago.
Defend the policy of law and order put forward by the president. “You have to keep both the Police and the Army financed. They are the only ones who can confront terrorist groups. I prefer that they go to fight against criminals, because if I have to go, things will get very ugly for that criminal, “says Smith.
He does not agree, on the other hand, with part of the Democratic position regarding the handling of the pandemic. “I hate masks, although I know they make people feel safe. But the fact is that I don’t like them, and I don’t want to be obliged to wear them all the time. There are a lot of open places and it’s not that they protect that much,” says the mechanic. .
VERY STRUGGLED CAMPAIGN
In the residential areas of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Halloween pumpkins are mixed these days with election posters and propaganda. In some neighborhoods they seem like authentic campaign battle zones, with the majority of houses supporting one or the other candidate, in a highly divided state.
“Trump tries to get people to stand up. He selects some people to create discord. He says the suburbs are not going to be safe if we let minorities move there, and things like that,” believes Bill Herbert, a retired unionist in the steel industry. , who will vote for Biden.
It does not bother him that the tycoon paints part of the Democratic party as a socialist. “In America there has been brainwashing about communism and socialism. They have told us, for years and years, that we must reject that and they are still with that speech. But, as far as the Democratic Party is concerned, it is not socialism per I know, but to use the tax money to develop the country, to help the people and to improve the economy. Republicans don’t want to do that. They want to keep all the money and give it to the rich, “asserts Herbert.
The unionist is a Democrat and supports ‘fracking’, an industry that has become the center of the campaign in Pennsylvania. Trump alleges that the Democrats want to prohibit gas extraction in this way, ending the 26,000 direct jobs it offers. Biden denies this, but the more progressive, albeit minority, faction of his party does advocate a much more restrictive limitation of ‘fracking’.
The divided Pennsylvania will be one of the states that will focus attention during the count. The Republican environment has denounced a possible fraud around voting by mail, especially in this state, and tensions are not ruled out on election night.
In fact, the authorities of Philadelphia, the largest city in the state, have already made it known on Monday that the recount could “easily take several days” because more than 400,000 votes by mail have been cast for these elections.
In an open letter to the voters of the city, the mayor, Jim Kenney, and the commissioner, Lisa Deeley, have reminded that the counting of the postal and early votes cannot begin until 7:00 a.m. on November 3, so that there will be ballots to be counted after election night. Therefore, “this could determine the result in Philadelphia” and in the state as a whole, they have warned, asking for patience.