Since Trump’s 2016 Pennsylvania win, Republicans have narrowed the registration gap statewide by almost 150,000. Much of those gains have come in areas that had been reliably blue. National media often overlook the shift of working-class Democrats to the Trump coalition, a development that’s key to understanding what’s going on in Pennsylvania.
While the Philly suburbs have trended bluer for decades, the other corner of the state has emerged in recent years as red and getting redder. Trump has accelerated the trend in southwestern Pennsylvania. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s declared war on coal and natural gas, which would cost the Commonwealth hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs, is driving union households into the Trump column.
The same shift is taking place in northeast Pennsylvania, especially in Luzerne County, once considered safely Democrat but now swinging for Trump. Just a stone’s throw from Biden’s birthplace, the county went for Obama in 2008 and 2012 — but Trump carried it in 2016, and since then the trends have continued moving his way. The county’s Democratic state senator switched his registration to independent and now caucuses with the GOP. Republicans took the majority on the county council and dramatically increased their registration.