The T stands for Trump

In the heartland of a state that traditionally goes to the Dems, Trump resonates with voters


Ali Wagner/Public Domain Images

The Keystone state is leaning towards Hillary in the presidential election, but in the heartland the “T” stands for Trump.

Sidney Patterson, Staff Writer

Whether you play into the banter or not, most people have seen the phenomenon of  Facebook friends holding polls on who’s going to win tomorrow’s election based on feedback from the comments section.

In central Pennsylvania, these polls invariably favor Trump, and yet scientific polls show Hillary Clinton is favored to win the Commonwealth.

It would be easy to think informal polls like those on Facebook are clear indicators of the kind of political malfeasance Trump refers to everyday: a rigged election ruled by the liberal media.

But in the heartland of Pennsylvania it makes sense.

In Pennsylvania, the heartland is the “T,” the areas in the central and northern part of the state that divide counties between voting Democratic and Republican. While the “T,” which this year may well stand for Trump,  covers the larger geographical portion of PA, the space left out includes the most populated regions in our state: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

People think Trump represents change, so they’re willing to overlook some of his faults.

— Mr. Burch

Historically, each election year is the same: Pennsylvania’s map lit up in red with the exception of the smaller, yet more urban areas. These two cities are primarily responsible for PA’s tradition of swinging democratic to much of the state’s surprise.  In fact, the Commonwealth has been won by the Democratic presidential candidate every election since the Reagan years.

Bellwood-Antis High School Assistant Principal Mrs. Cathy Adams, a proud Trump supporter, agrees that these cities are a vital component of Trump’s success in the Keystone State.

“I think it all depends on the city of Philadelphia. Typically we are a Republican state, but the city Democrats could hurt us,” she said.

While Trump may be excelling in the middle of the state, his ideals don’t sell in the more diverse populations at the state’s extreme geographic reaches.

B-A science teacher Mr. Jon Goodman feels it has a lot to do with issues that resonate in the heartland, where the population isn’t as diverse as one would find in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

“Many voters are single issue voters,” he said. “Abortion seems to be the largest. Gun control the next. Citizens living in rural areas have different experiences and perspectives than those living in more populated areas. For example, it is more likely that someone living in or near a major city has experienced, or knows someone who has experienced the grief of assault weapon crime. Someone living in a rural area may see owning an assault weapon as a way to protect themselves, property, and loved ones.

“Both political sides are good at fostering founded and unfounded fears.”

Others take a more cynical look at the overwhelming support Trump appears to have in the “T.”

Psychology and Sociology teacher Charlie Burch feels it has as much to do with a dislike for Hillary Clinton as it does a love affair with Trump.

“They’re trying to figure out the lesser of two evils,” he said. “People think Trump represents change, so they’re willing to overlook some of his faults. I think Trump will take the middle of the state. In theory Hillary should win the cities but Trump has people who will vote for him regardless.”

There are also those who see Trump’s popularity in the “T” as a reflection of generations of conservative values being ingrained upon today’s voters.

“ It is a classic nature/nurture,” said middle school teacher Mr. Travis Martin. “Since most voters in this area are conservative, the children are influenced by the conservative views of their parents. The effect of the limited social diversity exposure also enhances the tendency for a Central PA voter to align with conservatives.”

But it’s undeniable Trump has wide appeal for more than cynicism and indoctrination. Many simply like his message.

“Hillary is a career politician, whereas Trump brings a fresh perspective,” said middle school teacher Mrs. Kimber Kearns.  “One thought about Trump that I feel is major in my decision to support him is that he really cares about America, even as flawed as he is, because he doesn’t have to be doing this!  He has plenty of money and fame. He has even stated that he would not be taking a salary if he wins the presidency!  Clinton said no such thing!”