Pennsylvania: ‘Red is Becoming Redder and Blue is Becoming Bluer’ -Kevan Yenerall

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Joe Biden’s apparent win in Pennsylvania for President of the United States was the result of the influx of more voters than in 2016 and change in allegiances in the suburbs, according to Dr. Kevan Yenerall, a political science professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania (pictured above).

“What we’re seeing is that there’s a lot of dynamics going on,” said Yenerall in an interview on Thursday with exploreClarion.com. “Still, some counties have been trending very red in western PA and completely dominated by the GOP and continue their right-tilt to the absolute, and they’re extremely conservative, and it’s been going that way for some time.

“But in the suburbs that are close to the city, the opposite has been happening. Biden was able to win this extremely narrow victory for a whole host of reasons, one of which is traditional democratic strongholds in cities. Still, more than that, the Philly suburbs and Allegheny County getting around 45 to 48 thousand more votes than 2016. Trump did very well, too, and was able to get 15,000 more out of Allegheny County, while Biden could hold down Trump’s big margins in very red Western PA counties. For example, even though Biden got killed in Westmoreland County voting, he did two percent better than Clinton in 2016.”

Donald Trump collected more votes than he received in 2016 when he defeated Hillary Clinton, but in 2020 Biden was successful because he surpassed Clinton’s vote total and managed to not lose as much against Trump.

“Biden lost Beaver County, but he did about a half percent to three-quarters of a percent better, and it’s always been very Republican, and there are some other examples of that. However, Clarion County doesn’t fall in that camp and is much further removed from the suburbs. It’s just part of an increasing bedrock foundation of Republican dominance in the state, just as urban and suburban, you are trending Democrat.

“Trump did better in Philadelphia in 2020 than he did in 2016. It appears part of that is connected to a slight uptick in support of black men for Trump. Support from black men overwhelmingly is still very Democratic, but Trump could do a little bit better in some regions of the country among black men and Hispanic men. In Philly, although the numbers are changing, he still did better than he did in 2016.”

There were significant changes between 2016 and 2020.

“The significant change is not just the cities that are Democratic; of course, it’s the suburbs. The collar counties around Philadelphia are a 284,000 vote margin coming out of the suburbs of eastern Pennsylvania. Biden did even much better than Clinton did. We have this long-term slow realignment at the party. Outside of the traditional democratic counties, in Allegheny County, 20 to 30 years ago are now trending very, very Republican, and the collar counties around Philly, which used to be the road to Republican victory for Spector, Reagan, and both Bushes are now the Democratic stronghold.

“Cultural issues, religious issues, and values in many ways have supplanted the traditional Union lunch bucket economic populism of a generation or two ago. It also did it to the detriment of Democrats in rural areas like Clarion County. Biden was uniquely situated given his age, race, gender, and temperament to hold down some of the massive Republican margins.”

Yenerall believes that Biden was a good fit who has a moderate ideology that Clinton did not have.

“I think Biden, with his race, age, temperament gender, was a good fit. He had a moderate ideology that Clinton did not have, and he had some advantages. He was still getting killed in counties, but he was getting killed less than Clinton. In a state like Pennsylvania where it’s basically 50/50, that’s a huge deal–a little bit here and a little bit there.”

There were three Democratic counties that flipped to Trump in 2016, and two of them flipped back to the Democrats in 2020.

“This year turned out to be a high-stakes turnout election where both parties got their voters out in droves. It’s not happening in Clarion, and it’s not happening in some of the other counties around Clarion because of the constituency issues that dominate the parties.

“In short, red is becoming redder, and blue is becoming bluer, and with Biden’s help, that red became a little lighter.”


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