Delco Dem, GOP leaders: This is different election

from the Delaware County Daily Times

by Rick Kauffman

August 20, 2016

In every presidential election since 1992, Pennsylvania has gone blue as a result of the rapidly increasing sway of Democratic voters in the big cities, in particular Philadelphia.

But losing Pennsylvania did not stop George W. Bush from winning the presidency in 2000 and 2004.

And despite the obvious shift in the big general election votes, Delaware County hasn’t elected a Democrat to county government in more than 50 years.

Still, local political leaders believe this election is different a bit of a different animal, with the divide between candidates maybe being the largest it’s ever been. 

Both party leaders in Delaware County — Andy Reilly, chairman of the Delaware County Republican Party, and David Landau, head of the Delaware County Democratic Party — were willing to weigh in on how local voters may respond come November.“The last Republican president to win Pennsylvania was George H. W. Bush, but his son didn’t win it,” Reilly said. “I think generally in conventional wisdom that Pennsylvania is out of play, but Trump is different, if he can stay disciplined I think he resonates well with Democrats.”

However, Landau expects unprecedented numbers of “Never Trump” voters to cross party lines and vote for Hillary Clinton come November.

“Moderate Republicans are disgusted enough with Trump that we’ll see a crossover we haven’t seen in a long time,” Landau said.

Making it sound easy, Landau said that all Democrats need to do is show up at the polls and Clinton will win Pennsylvania, “We have more Democrats than Republicans,” he said.

But, Reilly disagrees. He views Trump as not being “seasoned, schooled or a silver-tongued politician like Hillary Clinton,” and that neither candidate is especially well-liked, but he said if people vote on the issues, Trump has a shot at winning.

“If the Trump campaign can stay disciplined, people will vote on the issues,” Reilly said.Landau pointed out the fact that many Republican candidates and politicians have refrained from throwing support behind Trump. Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, for example, originally said he was a Marco Rubio supporter, and later voted for Ted Cruz in the primary. Landau said the lack of endorsement of Trump by local politicians is an example of “running scared.”

“When Donald Trump makes one of his more outrageous statements, if you go and hide, voters will see that,” Landau said. “It’s not good enough to hide in the corner.”

Reilly countered that it wasn’t necessarily “hiding,” he simply said that a local politician throwing support behind a presidential candidate whom they have no personal connection to is a “distraction from the issues.”

“Our candidates serve everyone and the people notice that,” Reilly said.

Reilly contended that moderate Democrats might stray away from four more years of the same, citing executive orders and a more liberal-leaning U.S. Supreme Court.

“We’re a critical county, but we’re also a county of ticket splitters,” Reilly said, referring to five decades of Republican leadership in County Council. “People love what Republicans have done here locally. Taxes are low, we have good schools, people are happy, and that kind of feeling helps our candidates.”

Landau, however, sees this election as one where the Democrats are “fired up” and one in which Republicans who are “disgusted” with their candidate will flock to the polls and flip their votes.

“It’s critical, we have an opportunity here,” Landau said. “We need to make sure our local candidates win as well.”

Read more here.