Pennsylvania’s blue-collar voters see danger – and Trump behind


There is no opposition to racial injustice or police brutality, and the only fire or violence Wendy Williams has faced is on television and online. The far-flung images of turbulence in Portland, Ore., And Kenosha, Wis., Have him in mind.

If anything happens, he would like President Trump to be reprimanded, following his threats to send more troops to end the protests. She wants him not to say such inflammatory things, yet supports those who call him racist.

“There has always been casteism. In the 53-year-old stay-at-home, Williams said there has always been racism, but she is not doing so. “It is the Democrats and the media who are taking it out of there and keeping it there. And if the riots do not go unnoticed, it is just making it worse.

Williams said he did not vote in the presidential elections before coming to terms with Trump in 2016. Now, it is an essential part of their 2020 alliance. She lives in Wilkes-Barre, in blue-collar Luzerne County, one of three Pennsylvania counties that flipped blue to red in 2016 and helped give Trump the state – and a narrow electoral college victory.

Calls for “law and order” filled Trump’s racially mostly peaceful protests, and his stern warning that Democratic nominee Joe Biden would “demolish the suburbs” has alienated some voters in the actual suburbs , Where the Black and Latino populations are growing and many educated white women are leaving the Republican Party.

But Trump’s appeal over complaints from white supporters – including his recent order to purge the federal government of racial sensitivity training – appears to resonate with voters in down-a-heels industrial cities like Wilkes-Barre, where his campaign There is hope for an increase in white working class voters.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University poll, said promises to tighten on the “chaos” in cities “are actually better with voters who are far from unrest”.

Biden leads Trump by 5 percentage points in Pennsylvania, according to a poll compiled on Friday by a fifth point average.

Both campaigns agree that Trump’s best chance to overtake Biden in the state is to get more rural and small-town voters to counter Biden’s strength in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Luzerne County is much more white, although it has become more diverse over the past decade. Black and Latino residents comprise 21% of the population of 317,000.

Most residents live in single-family homes or duplexes, many with fresh grass lawns and some stray tires, well-used porches and American flags. Rail tracks, Catholic churches and views of billowing smokestacks and the Cocoa Mountains are never far away.

The old Sears and Bon-Ton stores in Wyoming Valley Mall are empty, as well as a food court. A pair of universities have taken over many of the city’s buildings. Most shopping takes place at big box stores and supermarkets at the top of the hill.

Interviews with voters here largely confirm what the polls say about Trump. People either love him or hate him, despite a far less persuasive electorate than four years ago, due to an overflowing economy and a coronovirus outbreak that has killed 190,000 Americans and continues to spread.

Those who like Trump tend to ignore or forgive the scandals and character issues cited by Biden supporters, as well as their flawed handling of the epidemic. Many of Trump’s supporters get their news from Trump-friendly sources and agree with the president that ignoring Biden’s efforts to reassure Biden voters that Biden is too far away or mentally weak, he is neither .

Williams said that Trump “is the first president in my lifetime, and I’m 53 years old – I am really there to keep the promises he made.” Research shows that Trump has fulfilled less of his campaign promises than other recent presidents.

Those opposing Trump say they are disappointed that their supporters do not see that she is “the biggest kink that ever existed”, as Cynthia Bhagat said.

The 80-year-old retiree volunteered for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and plans to call for Biden. But Bhagat said he no longer recognizes his community, and not just because the coal mines that dominated the area decades ago were replaced by adidas and Chevy pet foods warehouses.

“It was all Democratic when I was born and it’s Trump country now and I don’t understand it,” she said, pointing to Trump’s supporters as proof of that innings to her cousins.

He said that his children, whose father was a North Indian Sikh, were confronted with “subtle micro-racism” when they were growing up, and he sees racial prejudice as frightening.

“Trump just presses that button,” she said.

Ashley Murray of Sherman Hills, Pa., Who plans to vote for Biden. She says that people in her community support Trump because it is largely white and “they feel like he is saying things they want to say.”

(Noah Burman / Los Angeles Times)

Ashley Murray, a 33-year-old nursing home employee, sees a similar dynamic, even as he notes the irony that at least some Trump voters here helped keep President Obama in office twice.

Trump “is that part of them, because most counties are basically white, and they feel like he’s saying the things they want to say, doing the things they want to do,” she said. “They think he stands up for them, even if it’s not for them.”

Here the appeal of racial and cultural identity dates back to the rise of Trump.

In 2006, the mayor of Hazleton, the county’s second largest city, Lou Balletta, implemented an ordinance that he said was designed to make life unbearable for migrants illegally entering the country. This included provisions to allow those landlords to pay fines and for businesses that rented them out.

Courts held the ordinance unconstitutional, but Balletta was elected to Congress in 2010 and was one of the first House members to support Trump, largely on the issue of immigration. He left office in 2018 to run for a failed Senate.

Trump continues to rail against immigration this year but now uses his harsh rhetoric against protesters and Democrats. He argues that the country’s real race problem is prejudice against whites, not blacks, Americans.

Trump tweeted on Thursday, “Democrats never mentioned the words LAW & ORDER at their national convention.” “If I don’t win, America’s suburbs will be low-income projects, anarchists, agitators, robbers and of course, ‘friendly Protesters.’

Biden tried to make frequent speeches of his childhood here in Scranton, giving recent speeches about the unrest in Pittsburgh, and just north of here.

Trump has come more often, holding a campaign event at the nearby Old Forge the night Biden accepted the Democratic nomination and sent Vice President Mike Pence shortly thereafter. Both candidates visited Shanksville on Friday for a commemorative event marking the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

Trump’s focus on the county potentially increases support, raising questions about whether the presidential campaign is as convincing as it claims.

Democrats hold benefits in new registration and mail-in ballot applications, although Trump exceeded the registration benefit in 2016. Even as Trump repeats his victory in Luzerne, Biden could change the growth in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

Michael Truchon, a retired prison maintenance worker, commends the president for putting “the hammer down” to prevent people from tearing down the monuments of Confederate generals and others.

Truchon believes that racism exists, but says that “the figures turn diagonally when it comes to police firing”.

“They are oppressed by Democrats,” he said of black Americans. “I have the same opportunities that I have.”

Jessup, Pa.  K Tim Merley says he has never voted in the presidential election, but plans to vote for President Trump.

Jessup, Pa. K Tim Merley says he has never voted in the presidential election but plans to vote for President Trump. He is rebuilding Ankush in the old mall in Wilkes-Barre.

(Noah Burman / Los Angeles Times)

29-year-old Tim Merley plans to vote for Trump after the last election. He said the president has no choice but to threaten the protesters.

“I understand where they’re coming from, but like, destroying something completely – he’s just going to get more angry and more vengeance and more problems to come,” he said in a mall. Said while repairing the hook.

Some of Trump’s supporters are nervous about his rhetoric.

Alicia Odonnell, a retired business analyst, points to Trump’s work on sentencing reform as evidence he has helped black prisoners and said the city’s bus vandalism and violence when the president simply calls for “law and order” Offering to help deal with it.

O’Donnell voted for the Libertarian candidate in 2016 and plans to vote for Trump this time, saying “I think he should be faster than Twitter.”

A sign along the road at Mountain Top, Pa. In Luzerne County.

A roadside sign in Mountain Top, Pa. In Luzerne County, one of three counties that was flipped from blue to red in the 2016 presidential election.

(Noah Burman / Los Angeles Times)

But in the hills near the Susekhna River, a highway is filled with Trump signs and pro-police flags. The Homemade sign shows a photo of Biden, Scowling, surrounded by Democratic leaders and three members of “The Squad”, the leading liberal legislator of color.

“Open borders, sensitive citizens, MOB RULE,” it warns.

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