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Get used to talking about Pennsylvania

Political Theater, Episode 74

Hello, Pennsylvania! Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump for a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday, May 20, 2019. The perennial battleground state will go a long way to determining the next president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For pure Political Theater, it will be hard to beat Pennsylvania during the 2020 campaign. The Keystone State will be, well, key to an Electoral College victory. President Donald Trump knows it. That may be why he has visited it six times since taking office, including to Montoursville in the north central part of the state on May 20.

He won’t be alone, though, because the current Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was born in Scranton, represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate for decades and opened his official campaign headquarters in Philadelphia on May 18. Pennsylvania has long been a swing state in presidential politics, and Democrats’ ability to flip several Republican seats in 2018 paved the way for them retaking the majority in the House.

Pennsylvania is a mega-state, with 12.8 million people, and 20 Electoral Votes. It’s 76 percent white, making it the 30th most diverse state in the country. Its median household income of about $56,000 puts it right, well, on the median. CQ Roll Call’s White House reporter John Bennett was on the road at the president’s rally, interviewing voters, taking the temperature of a Republican friendly party of the state.

He also reported from Allentown, the state’s third-largest city, which is a little over two hours away from Montoursville but is a much different place culturally, a classic swing district in a swing state. A little later on in, we’ll switch gears for an At the Races segment and talk to politics reporter Simone Pathé about the politics of impeachment. It’s all the talk on Capitol Hill, but do Democrats want to go there?

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