November 6, 2020


Republicans' silver lining in Pennsylvania (Brandon McGinley, November 6, 2020, The week)

That is, however, one of the only successes for Pennsylvania Democrats in this election. In the state House, state Senate, and even the row offices the party has held cycle after cycle, Democratic candidates fared poorly. While everyone rightly focuses on the White House, the down-ballot success of Republicans may prove an even more important development for our politics in the long term. [...]

Pennsylvania voters trust Democrats with their row offices, especially treasurer and auditor general (the law-and-order nature of the attorney general's office seems to attract more votes to Republican candidates). Since 1961, two Republicans have held either office: Barbara Hafer held both but switched parties in 2003, and R. Budd Dwyer famously ended his second term as treasurer in January, 1987, by shooting himself on live television. This year, pending the final mail-in tally, Republicans are poised to win at least auditor general and possibly treasurer. Importantly, both candidates are outperforming Donald Trump.

The row office elections tell us a lot about the true party affiliation of the electorate. Unless a candidate is otherwise famous or infamous, few voters are knowledgeable about the races: They vote on vague impressions from anodyne advertisements, the names of the candidates, and, most of all, which party they trust with boring government work. In 2020, despite the president's (apparent) narrow loss, the Pennsylvania electorate delivered a vote of confidence in the Republican Party that it has not received here in generations.

Posted by at November 6, 2020 3:53 PM