There are four states that will determine the outcome of this presidential election: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and our own Pennsylvania.
This truth can be found in the Electoral College math. If Donald Trump retains all of the states picked up by Mitt Romney in the 2012 election (one of which was North Carolina) and sweeps the Big Three (Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), he will have enough electoral votes to become our next president regardless of whether he wins the popular vote. As a result, Pennsylvanians have a particular duty to turn out and vote on Election Day.
The stakes could not be higher. Trump is not a regular Republican presidential candidate (a fact that many in his party seem to recognize). His entire campaign has focused on racism and xenophobia, particularly directed against Muslims (calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”) and Mexicans (“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”). He repeatedly makes misogynistic comments about women who stand in the way of his ambitions, including Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Perhaps most disturbingly, he has demonstrated a blasé attitude toward the threat of nuclear war, encouraged our nation’s enemies (like Russia) to do dirty work on his behalf, and in general called into question his capacity to responsibly oversee our nation’s security interests.
By contrast, Clinton is a candidate whose qualifications for higher office are beyond dispute. Since 1993 she has served as chief policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, her husband, during his tenure; as an accomplished United States Senator from New York; and as Secretary of State during the administration of our incumbent president, Barack Obama. Instead of dividing the country by race and gender, Clinton’s campaign has focused on inclusiveness and reached out to Americans of all backgrounds and political persuasions. Even her chief rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has subsequently endorsed her candidacy, which cannot be said for Trump’s chief rivals (Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich). You may not agree with Clinton on some issues, but she is a responsible pick for presidential power. The same cannot be said of her chief rival.
Even as the Northampton County and Lehigh County Democratic Parties encourage Lehigh Valley residents to support our local candidates, we also recognize the critical importance of this presidential election. National politics impact us on a local level, and the existential threat posed by a Trump presidency is serious enough that it demands our attention. Democrats here would never tolerate the possibility of nominating a candidate as bigoted, unstable, and irresponsible, and most could not back such a candidate were he to be nominated.
This is the choice of which we are going to be presented on Election Day. Pennsylvania needs to vote for Clinton… and must never, ever disgrace its reputation by going to Trump.