Donald Trump campaigned on Saturday in Johnston, PA for good reason. The area has suffered from the effects of two large industries.
The first affliction was over 100 years ago when an artificial pond used for Pittsburgh steel barons rose beyond the boundaries of the dam holding it back. Water swept through the hilly town and drowned the city. The flood and a fire after that killed more than 2,000 people.
The second affliction was more recent with the fall of the steel industry. In the 1970s, overproduction led to a rapid shutting down of steel mills across Western, PA and Ohio. Many more fell after. In 1983, after Christmas, Bethlehem Steel was forced to let go 2,500 people in the city. That was about 6 percent of the total population. Per capita income rapidly fell from 88 percent of the national figure to 74 percent.
Johnstown is the destination where Trump should do very well. It’s a blue collar area, and the residents are surrounded by a failed economy. PA is a battleground state, so it did him well to make some time there.
Yet, Hillary Clinton is leading in PA by over 6 points. In 10 other states, Trump is even closer to closing her lead. The Washington Post features a bar graph titled, “Current polling averages, sorted by electoral votes.” The Post explains, “There are three states that are within 3 points where Trump could win 44 points — two of which, Arizona and Georgia, being ones that he would be expected to hold since Mitt Romney won them in 2012. (And John McCain won them in 2008, and George W. Bush won them in 2000 and 2004.)” The author suggests that he should focus on Florida or North Carolina or Ohio. He is in-fact putting a lot of time and energy in those states; however, maybe it was a smart move for him to visit Johnston.
At this point in the race, the odds that someone is going to switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party to vote for Trump is very slim and vice versa. He needs keep his followers now. It is possible that going to PA could move the state in favor of Trump by a percentage point. It would do him good to spend more time in Ohio while he is in that part of the US because that same percentage point could mean victory or defeat for Trump. The polls respond well to Trump rallies. Some more time in Johnstown will get him those extra votes, but it is not likely that it will define if he wins or loses that state.
The polls are questionable and maybe he really is ahead of her in PA and we just don’t know about it. But every second of time he puts in there is just a way for him to further secure the majority vote from PA. Fans of Hillary Clinton are not likely to turn over to a Trump presidency. Why waste time on lost territory?