What’s Keeping Each Party Up at Night?

Robert Brooks Contributor
What’s Keeping Each Party Up at Night?
Read Time: approx. 3:21

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What’s Keeping Each Party Up at Night? With less than 100 days to go until the US Presidential election everyone wants to know one thing: who’s going to win? Besides policy that will impact the fate of the United States, half of the country’s mental health depends on the outcome, no matter who wins. The demand for this answer means that pundits across the political spectrum are pulling out their tarot cards to offer us a glimpse of the future. Will we have four more years of US President Donald Trump or will he be denied a second term in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden? Of course, certain chips need to fall in exactly the right spot for one of these septuagenarians to make it to the White House. There are also specific states that are keeping each party up at night. Both sides have their thoughts and opinions about potential roadblocks. Let’s see what they have to say and what should be on our radar:

What’s Keeping Republicans Up at NightNathaniel Rakich from FiveThirtyEight outlines “Why Florida Could Go Blue In 2020.” Rakich says that although “Hispanic voters voted significantly less Democratic in the 2018 (midterms) than in the 2016 (presidential election)… the big question for Democrats in 2020 is whether Biden can return to Clinton level support among” this demographic. For example, “Puerto Rican Floridians (who make up 32 percent of Osceola County) strongly dislike Trump, but they actually gave Republican Rick Scott high marks for focusing on their community in the wake of Hurricane Maria. But with Trump back on the ballot in 2020, there’s good reason to think that their Republican sympathies will evaporate once again.” And while “Democrats may not be able to solve their problems so easily with Cuban Americans who make up the plurality (36 percent) of crucial Miami-Dade County… some historical trends suggest that Miami-Dade will not be as red as it was in 2018.” Along with “disproportionately low Democratic turnout in midterms to the Cuban American habit of voting more Republican in nonpresidential races,” Rakich says “The real question mark is whether Miami-Dade will follow the pattern of recent years in 2020 and be bluer than it was in 2016. For reasons ranging from generational change (Cuban Americans born in the U.S. are more likely than their immigrant parents and grandparents to vote Democratic) to the ubiquitous urban and suburban realignment, the county has voted more Democratic in every successive presidential election since 2004.” One final point in Biden’s favor is Florida’s large population of older Americans according to Rakich. “Of all the states in the union, Florida has the largest proportion of residents age 65 or older (20 percent) — and polls indicate that Biden is winning among these voters nationally. That’s unusual for a Democrat these days, too, which speaks to Biden’s current electoral strength.”

What’s Keeping Democrats Up at NightCharles F. McElwee from the City Journal writes about “Democrats’ Pennsylvania Trouble.” For starters, “Earlier this month, Joe Biden announced his economic plan near his hometown of Scranton.” The former Vice President’s “remarks were filled with the populist rhetoric that resonates with working-class voters, yet this crucial electoral demographic remains apprehensive about Democratic policies. This is especially true in Pennsylvania, where Democrats’ positions on energy and the Covid-19 lockdowns are alienating, rather than attracting, the blue-collar voters who, for decades, formed the party’s political foundation.” Take “card-carrying union workers” for example. The “traditionally Democratic cohort… many of whom are employed by the state’s energy sector—questions a progressive-oriented party opposed to fossil fuels.” “One registered Democrat told the Washington Examiner.'”[Biden] scares me now. Is he embracing the new Green Deal or whatever they are calling it? He needs to get some stuff straight.'” McElwee says that “Pennsylvania’s union voters, including Biden supporters… question Democrat support for transitioning to clean energy, such as wind and solar, considering that the natural gas industry supports more than 300,000 jobs—many unionized—throughout Pennsylvania.” McElwee writes that “Pennsylvania voters’ disillusionment with Democrats’ economic policies isn’t limited to Biden. Throughout the pandemic, the state’s progressive governor, Tom Wolf, has managed to alienate both Republicans and Democrats with his politicized, opaque, and even punitive economic lockdown policies—all enforced through emergency powers.” In addition to crippling restaurants, “Last week, Wolf announced the withholding of nearly $13 million in CARES Act funding from south-central Pennsylvania’s Lebanon County. The decision was in response to a county vote, passed by Republican commissioners in May, to enact a phased reopening ahead of Wolf’s mandated schedule.” In conclusion, McElwee writes that “Statewide, policies that imperil the crucial energy sector or shutter small businesses could lead blue-collar voters to conclude that Biden, like Wolf, is not their friend.”

Flag This: At the end of the day, we’re still a lifetime away from election day and political fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. Remember, on October 7, 2016—just a month before the election—WikiLeaks posted hacked Hillary Clinton campaign emails, President Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape was leaked, and the Obama administration officially accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee. Jim Comey wouldn’t send his letter about Hillary Clinton’s emails to Congress for another three weeks. With that said, we choose Florida and Pennsylvania for specific reasons. In regards to the Sunshine state, many believe that “Trump’s re-election path has to go through Florida. Without it he’s done,” Axios’ White House editor Margaret Talev writes. Last Friday, the Cook Political Report also shifted its prediction of Florida’s results from “toss up” to “leans Democratic” so the electoral beach ball is very much in the air. Keep in mind, in 2008 and 2012 Florida voted Democratic but then switched allegiance in 2016. Pennsylvania is also immensely important because along with Wisconsin and Michigan “these states gave Trump a Rust Belt victory, thanks to a high turnout of blue collar workers,” Candy Woodall notes for the York Daily Record. “Pennsylvania hadn’t backed a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988, but a wave of first-time, rural voters helped Trump change the reliably blue state to red for a victory over the favored Democrat Hillary Clinton.” Speaking of George H.W. Bush we’ll leave you with this fun fact, courtesy of Kevin Corke, Fox News’ White House Correspondent: “Now may be a good time to remember that a Gallup general election poll released July 26, 1988 gave Michael Dukakis a 17-point lead over George H.W. Bush, the Republican nominee. In November, Bush won 426 Electoral votes and carried 40 states.”