With just a few days left before election day, President Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and their surrogates are visiting various battleground states like Michigan and Florida to make their final pitches to voters in hopes of winning their support.

One key state that political experts say will be a “must-win” is Pennsylvania. This is something the Trump campaign appears to be keenly aware of, as Trump has made numerous visits to the state over the last couple of months, including four campaign stops Saturday. He reportedly will visit again today and Monday.

During his appearances yesterday, Trump emphasized Biden’s flip flops on fracking. He also announced to the crowds that he had just signed an executive order to “strongly protect your state’s fracking and energy industry”:

Trump reminded the crowd in Montoursville of his announcement at an earlier Pennsylvania rally that he signed an order to “strongly protect your states fracking and energy industry.”

[…]

“Moments ago I signed an executive order to protect Pennsylvania fracking and block any effort to undermine energy production in your state,” Trump told a crowd in Butler, Pa., earlier Saturday.

“So if one of these maniacs come along say end fracking, I signed it on the beautiful Marine One,” the president said.

Photos and videos from Trump’s Butler, PA rally showed a massive crowd of supporters. One unconfirmed report had the number at 57,000:

The photos shared on social media of the Butler, PA crowd had the state’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urging voters to make their voices heard to counter Trump’s momentum. “The President is popular in PA. I don’t care what polls say,” Fetterman tweeted Saturday:

Fetterman’s concerns about Trump’s popularity in Pennsylvania is shared by other Democrats, who are also sounding alarm bells about the possibility of a repeat of what happened in the state in 2016:

The causes of Democrats’ anxiety are varied. They worry about potential trouble with mail-in ballots during a pandemic. They are concerned about the prospect of a voter surge in White, rural areas favorable to Trump and signs of lower-than-anticipated turnout among the Democratic base.

[…]

They are nervous about GOP efforts to place limits on voting. They cringe at the recent looting and violence in Philadelphia, which Trump has seized on to portray Biden as weak on crime and hostile to police. And they harbor lingering concerns about Biden’s muddled rhetoric on oil and gas, which has prompted inaccurate attacks that he advocates ending fracking.

“I am worried about Pennsylvania,” said Neil Oxman, a veteran Democratic strategist based in the state. Oxman cited several concerns, including the possibility that Trump’s base “will come out just a little bit stronger than our base.”

In another development that should up the panic a notch among Democrats in the state is the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s endorsement of Trump. It’s the first time the’ve endorsed a Republican for president since 1972:

Despite what they describe as Trump’s ‘unpresidential manners and character”, here’s what the paper had to say about his record:

Under Donald Trump the economy, pre-COVID, boomed, like no time since the 1950s. Look at your 401(k) over the past three years.

Unemployment for Black Americans is lower than it has ever been, under any president of either party.

Under Mr. Trump, our trade relationships have vastly improved and our trade deals have been rewritten. Thanks to him, middle America is on the map again and the Appalachian and hourly worker has some hope.

Has Mr. Trump done enough for these struggling fellow citizens? No. But he recognized them. Maybe he was not articulate, but he recognized their pain.

No one ever asked the American people, or the people in “flyover,” country, if they wanted to send their jobs abroad — until Mr. Trump. He has moved the debate, in both parties, from free trade, totally unfettered, to managed, or fair, trade. He has put America first, just as he said he would.

He also kept his promise to appoint originalists to the Supreme Court of the United States. His third appointment, Amy Coney Barrett, is the best of all — a jurist whose mind and character and scholarship ARE first class. We hope she stands against both judicial and executive excess.

Finally, let’s talk about one of the most important concerns in this region — energy. Under Mr. Trump the United States achieved energy independence for the first time in the lifetimes of most of us. Where would Western Pennsylvania be without the Shell Petrochemical Complex (the “cracker plant”)?

Donald Trump is not Churchill, to be sure, but he gets things done.

And one final note that should have Democrats climbing the walls in PA and beyond is that Trump is “clawing away” at undecided voters here in the final days of the campaign, according to polling guru Nate Silver, while Biden is “essentially unchanged from his peak”:

We’ll find out soon if those late-deciding voters put Trump over the top in the states he needs to win. Stay tuned.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

 

 
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