Why are so many Pennsylvania Democrats fleeing to the Republican Party?
PennLive reports that nearly 46,000 Keystone Dems have flipped their registration to the GOP since the beginning of 2016 — a phenomenon writer Colin Deppen attributes largely to enthusiasm for the candidacy of Donald Trump.
“With the increase in support in exit polls for Trump among working class, blue-collar Democrats, it is my belief that these are people who fall into that genre,” Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, told Deppen.
Other possibilities: That disaffected Democrats have left, repelled by the party’s liberalism. Or that Democrats who have long voted Republican and are just now getting around to making the switch.
Let’s offer a fourth possible reason: The Obama Era is over. And a lot of the “Democrats” switching to the GOP might’ve been Republicans before Obama arrived on the scene.
What seems to be forgotten: As the Clinton-Obama primary battle approached in Spring 2008, the ranks of Pennsylvania Democrats actually increased by more than 111,000 voters in just six months. At the time, AP reported, “more than 68,000 registered voters changed their affiliation to one of the major parties, with those switching to Democratic registration outpacing those turning Republican by more than 3-1.” Back-of-the-envelope math on that three-to-one ratio means roughly 50,000 or so Republicans and independents became Democrats that year.
Maybe some of those folks have decided to return home?
Not that the Trump phenomenon should be easily dismissed. “This has no parallel in modern history,” Madonna told PennLive. “You couldn’t make this stuff up.”