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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Blue and Anti-GOP Waves Roll in PA

From “The blue wave crashed down on Pennsylvania again, as voters from Philly to Delaware County turned left” by Julia Terruso at The Philadelphia Inquirer:

The political forces that shaped last year’s midterm elections showed no signs of abating Tuesday, as voters turned on Republicans and establishment Democrats alike in races from Philadelphia and Scranton to the suburbs of Delaware and Chester Counties.

Outside Pennsylvania, voter unrest with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party he has taken over helped deliver victories for Democrats in Kentucky, where they narrowly took the governorship, and in Virginia, where they seized complete control of the state government for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

This is great news, especially considering Pennsylvania’s strategic importance as a bellweather swing state in the 2020 presidential election. In her deep dive, Terruso explains,

Locally, Democrats will hold all five seats on the Delaware County Council, a Republican stronghold since the Civil War, and also assumed a majority on the legislative body in Chester County. In Bucks County, Democrats captured the Board of Commissioners for the first time since 1983.

And in Philadelphia, a third-party insurgent candidate weakened an already marginalized GOP by securing one of the at-large City Council seats reserved for minority parties — a seat Republicans have held for decades.

“It’s a new day in Delaware County,” said Elaine Schaefer, one of three Democrats elected Tuesday in Delaware County. Democrats had never held a majority on the county council in its history, let alone every seat.

Further, adds Terruso,

The Democratic victories around the country point to surging interest by liberal voters heading into the 2020 presidential election. That could be especially significant in Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016 — along with its 20 Electoral College votes — partly due to a dip in Democratic enthusiasm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

However, a number of third party progressives also rode to victory in the PA local elections, including the new Mayor-Elect of Scranton, Paige Cognetti, who ran on the slogan “Paige Against the Machine.” The Working Families Party, which supports many Democratic Party reforms, won a number of other local races, reported by Terruso.

To some extent, the PA elections reflect a disgust with Republicans, as much as a pro-Democratic trend. One can also read a pro-outsider trend into the mix. But Democrats have good reason to cheer these victories over Republicans, as well.

“In Delaware County,” notes Terruso, “the results for Republicans were catastrophic. All three Republican Council candidates and all four Republicans running for Common Pleas Court judgeships lost there. Incumbent Republican District Attorney Katayoun Copeland was ousted by Democrat Jack Stollsteimer, whose campaign received the support of liberal billionaire George Soros.”

In sum, Terruso writes, “The Pennsylvania suburbs, which will be crucial in the 2020 general election, turned even bluer Tuesday, following big GOP congressional losses in the midterm elections.” No doubt political scientists would welcome some precinct-level analysis to see how various demographic groups voted.

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