No doubt about it, former President Trump has a lot of support in Pennsylvania, a state he won in 2016, lost in 2020 but claimed to have won anyhow, because he always does that and continues to be our most active political liar. That’s not just because I think he evolved from some kind of New York City sewer scum back before he became a TV star on cable by acting like a complete a-hole.
I actually believe it.
It is a fundamental truth in my Trump basket of slights.
It is not professional, because I don’t have a profession anymore, other than the endless pursuit of happiness and, frankly, my continued survival in the wake of some frightening hospital adventures I just don’t want to discuss here.
With me and Trump, it is completely personal.
I still love and believe in American politics, and America itself, and the fact that he was at the top of the hill for four years still makes me gag. He lies about everything, so much he cannot be believed about anything.
Now he is advising Dr. Mehmet Oz to claim victory even as Pennsylvania scrupulously counts election results that, as of the last available tally, had the TV doctor jugular vein to jugular vein (ie. neck and neck) with former hedge fund boss David McCormick. That, of course, would throw confusion into the mix and let Oz, who I believe actually lives in New Jersey, push his point as a mandatory recount takes place (because the race is that close).
Trump, of course, endorsed Oz in the contest, perhaps because they are both creatures of TV land! Or perhaps the good doctor agreed that all you needed to stop Covid was Trump’s prescription of some bleach in the veins and an ultraviolet light up the butthole.
Perhaps not because he is…A DOCTOR.
In national media, the Oz election gets some attention but the big focus is on the governor’s office, where Doug Mastriano, apparently a few clicks to the right of Attila the Hun, is the Republican nominee in a many way contest. This might make it seem like the Republican Party has gone nuts for Trumpian behavior and rhetoric and swept distantly to the right.
Not so, as will be shown later. Also, it has always been to the far right!
Because I still have an interest in all this even though it has been decades since I sat in Harrisburg or Philadelphia on election night in UPI bureaus or at The Tribune in Chicago sweating decisions we had to make about who actually won what and where, I thought I would look into the state of election mechanics in my former home state.
I won’t kid you. I just wanted to find a way to undermine Trump’s claim while it was still fresh.
So I went to the state elections bureau website, and it is a jolly pot full of statistics and rules that pretty much cancels the chance that anyone any place is going to get away with anything. Take a look for yourself. (Warning. It will take a while, but it’s worth it to see how hard Pennsylvania worked to make sure its elections were on the up and up.)
There’s some other stuff that’s interesting in there, too. Of the 12,960,000 souls who live there, from the verdant mountains in the middle to the shores of Lake Erie and on to the steamy grand cities on either end, some 10,290,047 are of voting age.
Because the state still requires voter registration, we know that 4,193,292 are Democrats and 3,517,690 are Republicans. If you dig back in the records a bit, you will note healthy Republican registration growth in the past couple of years, and a very modest growth for Democrats, too.
But come election day in November, there will still be a 600,000 plus advantage for the Democrats (assuming they get off their butts and go vote) and all those Independent folks. I don’t think that’s a huge Trumpian vote. I could be wrong.
Where you see the big bump is in the collection of these “independents”, (1,303,722). That number reflects an increase of some 9.26 percent over the past few years. You can imagine sitting down beside a gang of them in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh or Harrisburg and listening to them gripe about the seamy corruption that defines politics in the modern era.
They would curse Trump as a parasitic viper of some kind who has found a way to latch on to a weak slice of the electorate, and Joe Biden as an old man whose values come from an era most of them can’t understand, and on and on until you find yourself well into your fourth beer and, frankly, feeling pissed in the traditional sense and then just pissed in general that politics have fallen so far into the cesspit! Still, they might be Trump voters for mysterious reasons, or equally mysterious, Democrats in hiding.
It makes the whole state politically complicated. But there are still some important truths at play here. Before you go chalking the place off, understand that primary elections are where true believers of all stripes show up. But all members of parties are not true believers, and all true believers are not members of parties.
Because most of that huge gaggle of potential voters just sits on its butt for primary elections, the day always, and I mean always, goes to those who show up. If you become astounded at what comes out of the Keystone state on primary day, there’s your answer.
What that likely means on the Republican side is that distillate of fools who fell so easily into the Trump camp over the past couple of elections has really boiled itself down into a very pungent essence that will leave its scent on every polling place. What they do and say will leave more normal people asking “How could this happen?” even as the next round of beers, and maybe some bumps, too, shows up.
The same thing happens on the Democratic side, except for reasons known only by God, the Devil and spirits in between the two. Democrats always seem mostly interested in public good, thank the heavens. That’s why Joe Biden didn’t hesitate for a minute when Ukraine reached out for help at a desperate moment, while the Republicans embraced a debate about the wisdom of foreign aid until Mitch McConnell himself went to have look and came back like a Marshal Plan lover of the first order and got the party on board.
So, what you can carry away from the Pennsylvania primary, I believe, is the fact that the most ardent Democrats showed up and so did the most ardent Republicans. The problem is they come from very different universes these days.