Michael Barone in today's WSJ concludes his analysis of factors influencing the Democratic presidential primary with this:
Pennsylvania's demography – elderly, downscale, Catholic – clearly favors Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Her full-throated though occasionally overfrank support from Mr. Rendell helps her in his core constituency, the Philadelphia suburbs, which were favorably impressed by his record as Philadelphia mayor from 1991 to 1999 (the city, half black, will presumably vote for Barack Obama).Barone’s entire column is here.
Western Pennsylvania, much like northeast Ohio but with fewer blacks, and the "T" – the area between the two metro areas plus the whole northern geographic half of the state – should be a piece of cake for her.
Polls tend to show Mrs. Clinton running stronger in Pennsylvania against John McCain than Mr. Obama. And the latter's comments that "bitter" voters in small towns will "cling" to "guns and religion" will probably not help him. It undercuts Mr. Obama's claim that he will be a stronger candidate in the general election.
Mrs. Clinton will claim that her primary victory (if it turns out to be that) in the nation's sixth largest state shows that she is the choice of the people – especially the white working class which has been the bedrock constituency of the Democratic Party since the 1930s. But the white working class is steadily declining as a Democratic constituency.
The demographic composition of the Pennsylvania electorate, which makes it more typical of the America of the 1950s than the America of today, means that its presidential value is limited to its 21 electoral votes (down from its peak of 38 in 1912-1928).
Pennsylvanians have kept quiet during most of our history. But they will make some noise when they vote tomorrow – and may make more difference than they have since the days of James Buchanan and Benjamin Franklin.
It’s a great column filled with interesting social, economic and political information as regards both Pennsylvania’s past and present.
Don’t miss it.
Hat tip: Realclearpolitics.com