Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Image: 2020 Pennsylvania Presidential Election Results – Photo by Tyler Kutschbach via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0

Pennsylvania is a major paramount state to win in every presidential election. This is due to it being a swing state with the most electoral votes. Since 1976, Pennsylvania has given its 20 electoral votes to the Republican party 4 times and to the Democratic party 8 times. As Pennsylvania possesses a large amount of electoral votes, it consistently finds itself highly ranked on presidential candidates’ campaign strategies. The outcome of presidential elections in the United States always result in narrow margins, a strong characteristic of democratic nations, Pennsylvania will continue to be a monumental win for a political party in every election.

During the 2020 election season, presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump both vigorously attempted to win over Pennsylvania; Biden and Trump both applied similar and varying strategies. For instance, both candidates worked to appeal to blue-collar workers through targeted advertising. On the other hand, Trump focused on campaign visits and rallies while Biden put emphasis on healthcare and responses to COVID-19. Due to Biden’s campaign strategy and ongoing political, social and economic issues, he won over the state with 50.0% of votes while Trump received 48.8% of votes. It is curious to see if Biden has continued his campaign strategies in Pennsylvania and if Trump has altered his strategies. 

It is evident that both candidates have their eye on swaying Pensylvanians to vote for their political party. Biden established the importance of the state to the Democratic party when he made his first post-State of the Union speech in Pennsylvania on March 7. In a recent article regarding the 2024 election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “Trump called the state “one of the most important battlegrounds” at a Harrisburg rally this month, while Biden said Philadelphia was “the backbone of [his] campaign” during a December fundraiser.” 

In order to win the state, both candidates will have to strengthen their support in their dominated regions, along with flip votes in their unfavorable regions. For instance, Trump will have to continue advocating for his rural supporters, along with gaining votes from urban and suburban areas where the Republican party is less favorable. Along with this, it’s paramount for the candidates to campaign for issues that voters in Pennsylvania find most important. According to a poll conducted by CNN, voters in Pennsylvania find that the economy, threats to democracy, immigration, health care, abortion access and housing affordability rank highest in issues to focus on. I would argue that the outcome of Pennsylvania’s vote in the 2024 election will be based upon which candidate most intensely advocates for policies that resolve the majority of these issues.

In order to address economic concerns in Pennsylvania, both candidates have posed their own policies. In Biden’s State of the Union address, he claimed ownership of America’s economic comeback, in which he built up the economy from bottom up and middle out instead of top down. Trump refuted this claim and stated the economic up-turn should be accredited it him. In addition to this, Trump established his economic revitalization plans, which include lowering taxes, increasing pay and creating job opportunities. 

While both candidates address economic issues, their opinions regarding the preservation of democracy vary. In this case, Trump has continued to claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him due to a corrupt and unjust election system —  the same election system that got him into office in 2016. Meanwhile, Biden claims that the January 6th insurrection is the epitome of a threat to democracy. 

It seems as though the upcoming 2024 presidential election will be even more rigorous in Pennsylvania. With an electorate that appears to be underwhelmed by both candidates, voter turnout is projected to decrease. Both candidates will, as a result, have to focus on incentivising their current supporters in order to yield a higher turnout rate. In this instance, it is easier to encourage your current supporters to go out to vote rather than to gain new voters. 

As a university student, there are many ways you can get involved in politics and play a role in the upcoming presidential election. One big way you can get involved is through the partisan clubs at West Chester University (WCU). According to the official website, College Democrats and College Republicans are two clubs at WCU that “give students the opportunity to become involved in politics at the ‘grass roots’ level by working with candidates in the Chester County area who are running for local or state offices.” Dr. Duane Milne, PA State Representative and Professor in the department, is the advisor to the College Republicans. In addition, WCU’s website provides all the information you need to know regarding how to vote; this information is available here

If you are highly interested in politics, West Chester University’s Department of Political Science has several majors and minors. The majors include Government and Politics, International Affairs, and Certificate in Social Studies Education. The minors include Political Science, Global Studies and Law, Politics, and Society. The Department of Political Science’s website can be found here


Sierra Williams is a fourth-year English and Political Science major.


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