It’s happening: Democrats to outnumber GOP in Chester County

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

Well, it finally happened. By Monday, it is very likely that for the first time since before the Civil War, there will be more registered Democrats in Chester County than Republicans.

Last week, the gap had closed to less than 65, and Democrats had been picking up a couple of hundred registered voters a week in recent weeks.

Obviously, electorally, Chester County veered sharply Democratic in 2017 — a year after Hillary Clinton outpolled Donald Trump by 9.5 points in 2016 – winning four offices in county government for the first time since the Civil War. 2018 saw a massive flip in state legislative seats and the election of Chrissy Houlahan to Congress. 2019 saw a complete and total takeover of county government, taking control of the Board of Commissioners for the first time since, repeat after me, the Civil War.

Still, the change in registration is significant. It means voters tried on voting Democratic and they liked it. Changing registration codifies that migration — a move by many former moderate Republicans – and makes the Democratic majority durable.

While normally Democrats would need to show they can govern and innovate, right now the standard is merely to show they’re not batcrap crazy as much of the Republican Party has become.

How did this happen?

We got a lot of crap when we used this graphic three years ago, but it turned out to be correct.

Well, in the longer term, it was inevitable. Chester County and the collar counties have become more and more Democratic over the last two decades — see Montgomery County as the Republican Party purged itself of moderates. But normal circumstances, it would have been a few more years before Democrats took power.

Enter Donald Trump.

Trump has been a one-man demolition squad for local Republicans. Either GOP candidates had to reject him, dooming themselves with the party core of looney birds, or pledge fealty to Trump’s special brand of dishonesty and insanity, dooming them with college-educated moderates and independents.

As former GOP strategist Rick Wilson says “Everything Trump Touches Dies.”

Thanks to Trump, the Chester County GOP is a spittle-drenched zombie stumbling down Church Street, raging into the night about “libtards.”

And no one with even half a brain is paying attention.


And yet, as much as Trump has wreaked havoc for the local GOP, brain-cell challenged elected officials in the “T” are conspiring to doom the party long term in the commonwealth.

In Cumberland and Perry counties, the sheriffs announced they would not enforce Gov. Tom Wolf’s Stay At Home and business closure orders. Let’s set aside the fact that Pennsylvania sheriffs have only slightly more enforcement power than an old pack of wetnaps, their argument is that somehow Wolf’s order in a state of emergency is somehow un-Constitutional (it’s not).


Then, there’s Dauphin County Commissioners Chair Jeff Haste who demanded Wolf reopen the state, seemingly because mostly people in senior facilities are dying. He seemed to miss that younger people work there — and have families — and how do we seal them off from others? Or do we just let it spread and whomever dies, dies. It was the height of illogic confirming that too many in GOP don’t much care if you or your loved ones die, as long they make their money and the donor class is happy.

Add that to Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai — who commented earlier that he doesn’t much care if people with underlying conditions get COVID-19 and die (like me, as I have well controlled hypertension), now he has a video out demanding schools reopen because “kids can develop herd immunity” and are “not at risk unless they have an underlying medical issue.” Aside from the fact that’s completely wrong — let’s risk our kids on bogus claims not backed by science – he argues that teachers are really well paid and should be willing to come to school, get sick and maybe die.

Let that sink in – the combination of callousness and cluelessness is breathtaking.

This myth that just opening things up will refire the economy quickly is idiotic. People will still stay home if they don’t feel safe. And how many businesses are going to want to reopen knowing they may face liability if customers or employees get sick — and no, broad liability protection is not happening on either the state or federal level.

This is going to be a process — and no matter how many elected officials throw temper tantrums, it’s not going to happen quickly.

And let’s look at these claims about Wolf’s actions somehow being unConstitutional. They’re not.

The state Supreme Court disagreed and the US Supreme Court declined to take an appeal, so whatever the yahoos think, the courts seem clear that Wolf is working within his powers as governor.

More than 78,000 people have died in the U.S. 3,600 in Pennsylvania. More are likely to die in the coming days, even with the precautions Wolf ordered. Many, many more would have died without such orders and long term, our economy would be in even worse shape.

Want to be mad? If we’d had widespread testing and contact tracing, like South Korea and other nations, we would not have had to shut down — if we’d taken it seriously from mid-January, we’d be in a different, better place. That’s entirely on Trump.

And then there’s Congress. Congress has failed to step up and put money in the hands of the people and small businesses. The token payments and the PPP loan/grant program have proven woefully inadequate. With interest rates so low, this is the time to borrow/print money to get us through this crisis, but Congress — and specifically Republicans in the U.S. Senate are asleep at the switch or reading their Club for Growth crib notes as our economy goes off the cliff — has failed to act appropriately.

And you wonder why Chester County is now a Democratic county?


I’d like to wish a happy Mothers’ Day to all the moms out there, but especially my wife Stephanie, mother of our college-age twins. Here’s to a good day with family!

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay home.

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