The BBC visited one PA county to see why they overwhelmingly voted for the President-elect, Donald Trump. He won 218 counties in the US that voted for Obama in 2012. One of those counties was Luzerne County, hidden in the coal region of North Eastern Pennsylvania.
Luzerne county which in previous election cycles, voted heavily democratic, finally changed the tide in 2016. This coal region area has felt the effects of the past three presidents directly in their pocketbooks. Manufacturing jobs were lost by the Clinton and Bush administrations through NAFTA and other trade deals, and then the overzealous EPA regulations on coal and natural gas.
One the county’s largest cities Scranton, where Trump visited hours before polls opened, lost over 70% of their manufacturing jobs from NAFTA alone.
Voters felt that the establishment had left them and they had only one choice left for economic freedom- Donald Trump. In Luzerne County, Donald Trump filled up arenas, racking in on two occasions, 12,000+ supporters. Trump wanted to win PA and he did just that, by connecting with the average worker who consisted of hardworking and God-fearing men and women whose families only knew and taught work ethic, tradition, and respect.
Hazleton, a coalmining city about two hours north of Philadelphia, has seen its manufacturing base erode, and a huge spike in its Hispanic population. Roughly 15 years ago, the city was nearly all white – today, the Hispanic population is estimated to be at nearly 50%.
In response to the rising number of illegal Hispanic migrants, in 2006 the then-mayor of Hazleton, Lou Barletta, passed a law, Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which fined landlords and employers for hiring or housing undocumented immigrants. The ensuing legal battle over the law made the town a national symbol for the battle over immigration. That mayor, now congressman, led Trump’s PA team co-chairing with Congressman Tom Marino. Both Marino and Barletta are on the Trump Transition Team.
Check out the BBC’s showcase on why Luzerne County voted Trump here.
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