A lot of GOP insiders think that Pennsylvania could decide the White House this fall.
That’s why key congressional Republicans — Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and House Speaker Paul Ryan — spoke to the Keystone State’s delegation at Team Pennsylvania’s breakfast at the Republican National Convention last week.
“I’ve talked to the Trump people a number of times and they were so excited about the primary in Pennsylvania and a belief that as Pennsylvania goes, so will the election,” Sessions told the state’s delegation. “So you are going to be the critical part of this. And there’s a special optimism actually about Pennsylvania, a special optimism.”
Ryan, one day earlier, struck a similar tone with Pennsylvania’s army for Trump. On Pennsylvania’s important 20 electoral votes, Ryan told the delegation: “You could make the decision on this. You could decide this whole thing.”
Now that the Democratic National Convention is opening in Philadelphia, Democrats are likely to make a play to try to keep Pennsylvania in its corner as the populist nationalist Trump rises in the state’s polling. Currently, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average in Pennsylvania, Hillary Rodham Clinton—the presumptive Democratic nominee—has a 3.2 point advantage over Trump. In the 4-way race adding Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party Jill Stein into the mix, Clinton’s advantage in the polling average is cut to just one point.
That being said, the trend line is moving toward Trump. A recently released Quinnipiac poll, the most recent in the state, found that Trump has a two point advantage and is leading Clinton 43 to 41. In the 4-way race with Johnson and Stein factored in, Trump’s lead over Clinton jumps to 6 points. In that part of the Quinnipiac poll, Trump—at 40—leads Clinton at 34 points with Johnson getting 9 points and Stein getting 3 points.
“We’re beginning a journey right now on the way to the White House on November the eighth,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), a key Trump supporter in Pennsylvania, said in an interview with Breitbart News on Facebook Live at the Tuesday breakfast.
Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State. It’s always been called the Keystone State and it is the key to this election. If we win Pennsylvania this election, the Republican Party, we will have a Republican president sitting in office the next four years. So Pennsylvania right now, very key. Ohio also. Being in Ohio is good. Pennsylvania is the Keystone State and we haven’t won Pennsylvania since 1988. It’s time for Pennsylvania now to turn.
Trump is the perfect candidate to turn Pennsylvania, Republican insiders say, given his populist positions on issues like immigration and trade and national security—all issues that matter to Pennsylvania voters. In many ways, Trump has seemingly copied the playbook that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum—one of his vanquished rivals who now supports his campaign—has laid out in various books and interviews for how to target Pennsylvania, and national, blue collar Democratic voters and bring them into the GOP fold.
Back when Santorum launched his campaign in Cabot, Pennsylvania, he did so on a factory floor with true blue American workers at his side.
“Big government and big business told our workers that times have changed, American workers can no longer compete with low foreign wages and those jobs were gone forever,” Santorum said on the factory floor announcing his campaign in May 2015. “Well, what about those politicians? For all of those years, what did they do? What did they do for those communities across this area and across this country in small town America? They had no plan and they provided no hope. To that I say: no longer.”
Santorum added then that he stands with the American workers, not the special interests.
“I am proud to stand here among you and for you—the American workers who have sacrificed so much—to announce that I am running for president of the United States,” Santorum said then, as Breitbart News reported live from the scene.
That message is one Trump seems to be carrying into November, as he has used it time and again throughout the course of the campaign. He even hammered home in his convention speech these themes of populism and nationalism, and how he’s the people’s champion—not the special interest champion. If he continues this pathway, Santorum’s communications director Matt Beynon told Breitbart News, Trump could be victorious in Pennsylvania.
“Donald Trump has a great opportunity to be the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988 to win Pennsylvania because he is uniquely positioned to win over the blue collar Democrat communities like Scranton, Johnstown and Erie,” Beynon told Breitbart News on Monday as the Democrats kicked off their convention in Philadelphia. “His message on immigration and trade hits at the core of why these communities are struggling. He needs to continue to hammer this message home.”
As the Democrats like Clinton and her new globalist running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) scramble over themselves to see who can provide more amnesty to illegal aliens—and who can push more globalist trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—it provides a huge opening for Trump moving forward. Time will only tell if he succeeds in taking it.