Why Bernie Sanders may not be able to count on Pa. in 2020 | Friday Morning Coffee

April 19, 2019 7:01 am

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: While Bernie Sanders had some pretty significant grassroots support in the Keystone State in 2016, he still got absolutely stomped by Hillary Clintonlosing 55-43 percent in the April 26 canvass.

And as Politico’s Holly Otterbein reports, there’s every reason to think that Pennsylvania will be just as troublesome for Sanders in 2020. Even so, the Vermont senator still thinks he can win Pennsylvania, and, with it, the White House.

The specter of the 2016 defeat — along with the increasing likelihood that another favorite son, former Veep Joe Biden, who has roots in the Scranton area, hung over Sanders’ just-completed four-day swing through the industrial Midwest, designed to demonstrate that he can win back the states that delivered Trump the presidency. Sanders made abundantly clear that organized labor will be a linchpin of his strategy, as will his populist message on trade and health care,” Otterbein writes.

More from Politico:

Sanders zeroed in on labor throughout his sprint across the state. He spoke at a meeting held by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals and talked up his pro-union bona fides at a Fox News-hosted town hall held in the shadows of a former steel mill. A former worker at an Erie-based locomotives manufacturer that recently held a strike also spoke at Sanders’ Pittsburgh rally, which drew an estimated 4,500 people, according to his campaign.

Sanders’ team repeatedly has called attention to the Erie workers, attempting to show that he understands the symbolic power of what the union described as the “first major U.S. manufacturing strike of the Trump era.” During a town hall on CNN earlier this year, Sanders admonished the manufacturing company for handing out lavish bonuses to executives while lowering wages. The leader of their union, United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America Local 506 President Scott Slawson, also spoke at Sanders’ campaign kickoff rally in Brooklyn in March.”

Recent polls show that significant numbers of Democratic voters prefer a contender who can win over one who shares their ideology. If Biden jumps into the presidential race, Sanders will need to prove to voters that he’s better equipped to take on Trump in Pennsylvania than the fellow labor ally.

Sanders will also likely need to show that he can win over moderates in the Philadelphia suburbs who were seen as critical to Democratic successes in the 2018 midterm elections.

“’When you look at your path to getting the electoral votes to win the presidency, you see Pennsylvania. So Sen. Sanders is wise to choose Pennsylvania as part of his electoral mix,’ said Mustafa Rashed, a Democratic consultant based in Pennsylvania. ‘But I don’t know if moderate voters around the Southeast … are going to be moved by messages of socialism and wealth distribution. They’re moderates.'”

Republicans, meanwhile, are already tailoring their message machine. Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Val DiGiorgio had his attack all ready to go, Otterbein writes.

“To quote our president, ‘America will never be a socialist country … ’”  and Sanders’“support for dangerous policies like Medicare for All stand in stark contrast to American values and our notion of independence,” DiGiorgio said, according to Otterbein.

Our Stuff:
Stephen Caruso
 looks at how a seemingly simple union-busting bill that should be a layup for Republicans can’t seem to get the votes.
We run down Mueller Report reaction from every member of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House and Senate delegation, while Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender delves into the politics behind the report.
Elizabeth Hardison has the details on a state Senate proposal that would block the sale of Pennsylvania natural gas to anti-fracking states. And Sarah Anne Hughes looks at efforts to update Pa’s Equal Pay Act.

On the Opinion side of the house, Capital-Star Opinion contributor Anwar Curtis muses on a new book on the black experience that brought him closer to his friends and, more importantly, to his fiancee.  And a teacher from the Steelton-Highspire district in Dauphin County, who’s working two jobs, says lawmakers need to pass Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed base pay hike for teachers.

The Philly FOP is leaning toward endorsing Jewell Williams for sheriff – because of DA Larry KrasnerPhillyClout reports.
The Harrisburg schools have problems enough without picking a pointless fight with the statePennLive’s Nancy Eshelman opines.
The Tamaqua schools in Schuylkill County have reinstated a controversial policy allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroomThe Morning Call reports.
U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey agree on the Mueller Report’s findingsThe Post-Gazette reports.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

If you live in one of these gentrifying Philly neighborhoods, you’re likely to get a parking ticketWHYY-FM reports.
County courthouses are trying to deal with that new state law on firearms in domestic abuse casesWITF-FM reports.
The state Attorney General’s Office has taken on the case of a Lancaster County doctor who’s been charged with indecent assaultLancasterOnline reports.
There’s a new bookshop in Philly’s Kensington neighborhoodBillyPenn reports.
President Trump’s election has altered the debate over the Electoral College in the states, reports.
The Mueller Report is evidence that Russian hackers meddled in House races as well, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
Nothing. Capitol offices are closed for Good Friday.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old favorite from Hot Chip, it’s ‘Dark and Stormy,’ which already has us looking ahead to Happy Hour.

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Are you kidding??? There is only one story that matters this morning: That’s Carolinaevening up its Metropolitan Division playoff series with Washington, The ‘Canes won 2-1 at home at the PNC Center on Thursday. 

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.