It was nice, hearing my friends across the country (Democratic friends that is) thank me because my city, and my state, “delivered the election for Joe Biden.”
That’s like thanking me for saying, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat!” That was Will Rogers, not me, and the truth is, Pennsylvania provided a mere 20 of Biden’s 306 electoral votes, and was not crucial. And while Philly helped, the vote totals contained a dose of reality.
First, the Quaker State: On Election Night it was quaking, having given the lead to Donald J. Trump as the sun came up. That was expected, I tell my Trumpster friends. And so was what happened next: Biden charged from behind, which was predicted by those knowledgeable about Pennsylvania and Philadelphia elections.
To understand Pennsylvania, let me illustrate with a state even more blue and politically predictable — Delaware, home of the president-elect.
In the First State, processing and counting of ballots that were mailed in began on the Friday before Election Day. That means ballots probably were counted before the polls closed, when the in-person votes were counted.
Next, the largest city in Delaware, Wilmington, has 70,635 people. That would only fill the Eagles football stadium.
So Delaware’s 3 electoral votes were quickly awarded to Biden Tuesday night.
In Pennsylvania, ballot counting could not begin before the close of polls on Election Day, and 350,000 mail ballots were received just in Philadelphia.
Get the picture? A tsunami of ballots received, and counting could not begin until after the polls closed. The courts said Pennsylvania had to count all ballots postmarked by Election Day until Friday, so it was going to be days later than many states.
So Pennsylvania was in a position to deliver the winning margin only because it lagged so far behind the majority of other states. Had the Keystone State been able to report by Tuesday night, some Western state, where the polls close later than in the East, would have provided Biden’s winning margin.
So save your applause for slothful Pennsylvania.
The other reality is that smaller cities, such as Wilmington, can count and report much more quickly than Philadelphia, with 1.5 million people.
The conservative, yonder areas of Pennsylvania reported earlier, giving Trump the expected lead.
As Philadelphia counted and reported, Biden’s total went up, erasing Trump’s lead.
Early returns from Philly looked like a turnout about equal to Hillary Clinton’s, but final results showed Biden got 604,175, up 3.4% over the 584,025 rung up by Clinton.
But — Trump also received more votes this year, 132,870, up a staggering 22% over his 2016 total of 108,748 in the city.
Biden beat Trump by less than 5-1, while Democratic registration in Philadelphia is about 7-1 over Republicans.
That means Trump overperformed.
How did that happen?
It happened, nationally, because Trump got about one-third of the Latino vote, and 18% of the Black male vote. This is remarkable for a man widely condemned as racist. These minorities were seeing him in a different light.
Neither of those numbers is close to a majority, but it should send a message to Democrats who were dancing in the streets when Trump was vanquished.
Yes, Biden got the highest-ever number of votes cast for president with 79.7 million.
Trump got the second-highest number of votes with 73.7 million.
While the U.S. Senate is yet to be decided, with Republicans down 1 seat, they are up at least 8 in the House, and in elections across the nation, Republicans generally gained in state elections, even as the top guy took it on the chin.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans won auditor general and treasurer, while Democrat Josh Shapiro was reelected as attorney general.
You can summarize by saying that Biden had no coattails, or that in a binary election the “loathe” factor worked against Trump, or that Biden’s moderate message was more palatable to most voters than the stereotype of Democratic politicians as radicals who want socialism and to defund the police.
That may not be an accurate stereotype, but it is how Democrats have allowed themselves to be defined.
This has got to be worrisome as the party which controls the White House usually loses seats in congress in midterm elections, such as 2022.
That is what generally happens. What will happen if Trump either throws himself into it, or sits it out, is an unknown. He is the ultimate wild card.