Yesterday, Jeff Cox of CNBC published a column called “Donald Trump can win Pennsylvania. Here’s why.”
He’s right! Donald Trump can win Pennsylvania. We go a lot to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where the exurbs of Philly blend into the part of the state not-affectionately called Pennsyltucky.” The last time I was there, I was flabbergasted to see a motorcycle with a confederate flag hanging off it. (That is my car right next to it in the below photo.) My friend was more than flabbergasted, he was horrified: after all, he lives there with his wife and three children and they aren’t white.
So, yes, obviously Trump can win Pennsylvania.
But that’s not what Cox wrote. Nope, he wrote, “I think the polls are wrong. How do I know? Because I live in Pennsylvania — have for all my life.” He went on, “Pennsylvania’s jobless rate was 5.6 percent in June, with only 13 other states being worse off in terms of unemployment. So with a sagging economy and a rising crime rate, they look for reasons why they’ve been left behind.”
So is he right? Does Pennsylvania have a uniquely bad economy or a terrible crime wave?
Well, not really. Unemployment has recently ticked up, but in the context of growing payrolls and rising wages. Things are much better than in November 2012.
Pennsylvania payroll employment:
Pennsylvania unemployment rate:
And what about crime? Well, with the caveat that the UCR is only complete through 2014:
Homicide rates after 2006 come from the first half of the year, for comparability with 2016.
It is certainly true that the Fat Crybaby could take Pennsylvania. I have no issue with what Cox had to say about that. But it won’t be because exogenous measurable conditions in the state have deteriorated since 2012. No, if it happens, it will because something ugly that was already there has been unleashed. Right now, the fundamentals favor the Democrats.