President Donald Trump’s constant attacks on allowing Americans to vote by mail may wind up costing him a state he cannot afford to lose if he hope to have a repeat of his surprise victory in 2016.
According to Reuters, the key battleground state of Pennsylvania is essential if Trump wants to win a second term, but the traditionally blue state is trending Democratic and the president’s assault on the concept of absentee voting (which he himself uses) may wind up harming Republicans in The Keystone State:
“The president’s messaging may be hurting the party’s chances to win in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state, where Democrats are dominating a surge in requests to vote by mail in the midst of the pandemic.
“With less than three weeks to go before the primary, 1,178,475 Pennsylvania voters have applied for absentee ballots, a 14-fold increase from 2016. Nearly 70% of those requests have come from registered Democrats, state data as of May 13 show. That margin is far wider than the 55% to 45% registration advantage held by Democrats in the state.”
Keep in mind that Trump won Pennsylvania by a very thin margin four years ago: Only 45,000 votes separated him from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, meaning that Trump carried the state and its 20 electoral votes by than less than one percentage point. Additionally, presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden was born and raised in Pennsylvania, which doesn’t bode well for the Trump reelection team as they try to assemble the states they need to reach the magical 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
With the likelihood of infections of the novel coronavirus increasing as the weather turns colder as we draw closer to the election, Trump’s insistence that mail voting leads to fraud may wind up hurting him and Republicans statewide in Pennsylvania, according to Robert Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, who has studied mail balloting:
“It’s a terrible mistake for Republicans. There is one party embracing innovation and there’s another fighting an obstacle, the president.”
Terrible mistakes often cost candidates elections. We can only hope that’s the case this time, too.
Featured Image Via the Pew Charitable Trust