US elections: Pennsylvania is the kingmaker for the White House in 2020

It seems like in 2020, Pennsylvania is the new Ohio.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 31, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 31, 2020.
PHILADELPHIA – It seems like in 2020, Pennsylvania is the new Ohio. Both candidates are locked in a tight race in this ultimate swing state, that according to FiveThirtyEight and the Economist, is the likeliest tipping point of the election. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes and that it is a key state for both candidates, both of whom held multiple rallies across the state.
In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by all margin of some 44 thousand votes. According to Real Clear Politics polling average, Biden had a small lead of 1.2% coming into Election Day.
In York, the local newspaper, York Daily Record, reports that according to local police, there is an increase of thefts of yard signs of both candidates. In the center of the town, some 15 people asked to cast their absentee ballot to a dropbox on Monday late afternoon, shortly after the 4:30 closing time. Yolanda Battie tried to drop off her ballot, but the place was already locked. “I've been trying to vote early because these are very important elections,” she said. “I will come back at seven am.” She added that she is voting for Biden. “We had four years of Trump, and enough is enough,” she said.
An hour eastbound, in Gap, there was a relatively long line of voters on Tuesday morning. Many of them said they are supporting Trump. Lester Houck, a Gap resident, said while leaving the local polling place that he supports Trump’s agenda on abortions. “I didn't really vote for him as a person, I voted for what he stands for, what he's accomplished, and what he's doing.”
Samuel Stoltzfus, in the owner of Sunset View Growers in Gap. “We have nine acres here,” he says in a conversation at his farm. “It is not necessarily it's about Trump, we've always been Republican, it's the Party,” he added. According to Stoltzfus, Trump’s rallies and the number of attendees indicate that the President has the momentum. “I hope that we'll be surprised tonight like we were in 2016, but we might not know tonight.”
Some 30 miles eastbound of Gap, there was a steady stream of voters at a local Trinity Assembly of God church in West Chester.
Mark Maxwell said he took a day off to vote in-person for Biden and that he decided shortly after the 2016 election he would vote in 2020 for whoever runs against Trump. “From like his third day, he started lying about the size of his inaugural crowd. Who cares? You won the election, just go and govern,” he said.
Joe Tizzino, who came to vote with his wife, Denise, said that Trump is “the best president we've had in a long time.”
“Look what he's done in Israel. He's been so pro-peace in Israel. I'm a supporter of Israel,” he added.
He also said he does not like Biden’s economic policies. “Biden is a socialist. Biden is going to get this country in big trouble. I don't think Biden is going to be the real President. I think it's Kamala Harris that would be the real President,” he continued. Asked who will win Pennsylvania, he said that he is optimistic that Trump could carry the state. “Hillary Clinton was leading Pennsylvania, too,” he noted.
“You see all those rallies [Trump] had? Many of the people in those rallies didn't even vote last time. So if they vote now, I think that Trump will win Pennsylvania.”
His wife, Denise, said it was important for the couple to vote in person and to make sure that their vote is counted, like many voters who feel anxiety over the counting process. "I wanted to see the paper getting to the machine," she said.
In Philadelphia, local businesses were boarded up on Tuesday at noon, as only a few voters were to be seen. The turnout in the city, which lean heavily to the Democratic side, is crucial for Biden. Philadelphia is the place where Clinton held her last event in 2016, and where Biden held his closing event on Monday.
Susan Barron and Lauren Rubinstein from Chevy Chase, Maryland, drove all the way to hand out meals for poll workers and voters. “We wanted to go to a state where the votes are really significant to the outcome,” said Barron. “The expectation is that people would be waiting in very long lines, and we wanted to support them. We've been here now for an hour and have gone to several stations. We've heard that there were long lines in the morning, but people have gone back to work. So it's slower now, but I have a feeling that it will pick up again in the evening.”
Paul, an English teacher who asked not to be identified with his full name, said he decided to cast his ballot on his lunch break because he knew there were fewer people at the polling place. “I voted for Biden,” he said.
“I believe in science, I believe in facts, and I think just that our current president, as of right now, doesn't have a sympathetic personal view [for science],” he continued. “And I think he relies on his personal matters rather than science and facts.”