GOP: A Pennsylvania problem

Posted: November 22, 2022 by chrisharper in politics
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By Christopher Harper

Winning Pennsylvania in the 2024 election may be extremely difficult for any Republican candidate.

The headlines of this November election focused on the losses by two Trump-backed candidates in the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

But the Republican losses go much deeper than that.

In the useless arena of conventional wisdom and polls, the so-called experts predicted that the GOP would win 10 of 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, with one seat a tossup. The actual outcome pushed the House delegation to the Democrats, with a 9-8 margin.

But the big story buried in the mass of election analytical outkill was the potential loss of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to the Democrats, who picked up 12 seats from the last election and haven’t held control of the legislative body since 2010.

Because of a death and a few governmental changes, the House hasn’t officially changed hands, although it’s likely to do so when the dust settles.

There’s mostly bad news when you dig into the voters themselves. The Black and Latino communities weren’t particularly interested in the nonpresidential election, with Philadelphia voters staying away from the polls in hordes.

A Philadelphia Inquirer analysis found the following:

–Philly’s vote count dropped 33% from 2020, more than any other county and the statewide average of 22%.

–It’s not just a 2020 comparison: This year saw a stark divergence between Philly turnout and the rest of the state compared to every federal election since at least 2000.

–Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, has about 133,000 fewer voters than Philly — but cast about 67,000 more ballots this election.

–Philadelphia’s share of the state’s total Democratic vote has dropped from 20% in 2016 to 15% this year.

These results demonstrate that Philadelphia may have less clout than Pittsburgh in the foreseeable future.

More important for Republicans, however, is that many traditional Democrats didn’t participate in the 2022 election, and the Dems still won big.

Moreover, the expected Latino surge for the GOP didn’t happen in Pennsylvania, as traditional Hispanic locales saw a drop in voting turnout. The steepest dives were in heavily Latino cities such as Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Reading, and Allentown, which all saw turnout drop even more than Philadelphia.

Some community leaders said the turnout in Latino communities shows a failure of candidates and both parties to connect with long-neglected voters.

“There’s lots of things to say about how ignored Latinos feel by the electoral system,” said Erika Almirón, a senior organizer with Mijente, a national Latino social justice group that works in Philadelphia. “And it manifests by not wanting to participate, and so if we want those numbers to improve, candidates have to knock on doors, we need resources.”

Simply put, the GOP has two years to turn it around in Pennsylvania.

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