2020 has been a year that people would rather forget and we’re not even halfway through it. One event that should be unforgettable, but has taken a backseat due to COVID-19, is the General Election. The swing states for the presidency are integral to either President Trump winning another term or a new administration with Joe Biden. Campaigning around the country has been put on pause temporarily, but the actions of a governor in one of those swing states, Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania, could have the potential to guarantee President Trump’s reelection.
Tom Wolf has been stepping in it from the start of the shutdowns due to the pandemic. His administration ordered non-essential businesses to close with less than a week’s notice and had to clarify this order the day after. He gave the citizens of the state less than 24 hours’ notice to stay at home. Figures that have been distributed by the PA Department of Health have been questioned and clarified with the correct numbers. The numbers that the Department of Health disseminates to the public do not specify those that have recovered from the virus, those that have active cases, those in nursing homes and those in prisons (if there are HIPAA restrictions that inhibit these numbers from being distributed, but if this is not the case, this is irresponsible not to provide detailed information like this to the citizens of this state). While Wolf has come up with a plan to reopen the state, there are unrealistic expectations on which to open for those hardest hit in the state (Southeastern PA). The administration has just now come up with a plan to help combat the virus in nursing homes and long-term care facilities as well as prisons, which is something that should have been done at the beginning of the lockdowns. I’m not sure why the Wolf Administration chose not to move forward with their plan to assist these areas further in the first place. Was this meant to pad the numbers of those infected with COVID-19 and create fear? I think that the lack of transparency from the Wolf administration seems to have angered more and more citizens of Pennsylvania despite the almost daily press conferences, which are laughable compared to New Jersey’s press conferences. There is little to no reasoning for putting orders in place and has caused some people to distrust this administration. His approval rating was higher than President Trump’s a couple of weeks ago at 51%, according to a Fox News poll. However, I’d be curious to find out what those poll numbers look like as a result of the extension of the stay-at-home order through June 4th and the threats to those that open their county to the “yellow phase” without his authorization. I’m sure there are fewer and fewer business owners that approve of him as I have seen several businesses open up in spite of the essential/non-essential business order. President Trump also called Tom Wolf out on Twitter within the last couple of days, stating that he is moving too slow to move to reopen the state’s economy (not that his words are always rooted in fact, but he’s got a point). Lastly, millions of people in the state of Pennsylvania have applied for unemployment and many of them are still waiting for their unemployment checks. People cannot get ahold of a human being to assist them and time is ticking away for those that have lost their jobs to pay their bills. Why not hire additional staff to assist with Unemployment questions? There are plenty of people out of work that would be more than willing to assist those waiting for their check. Better yet, people may be back to work before they even receive their unemployment benefits that they applied for months ago.
I think that Pennsylvania will have a role in President Trump winning re-election, but only because the actions and policies imposed by this governor during the course of this pandemic. Trump’s inaction in the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak and continuous circle-jerk press conferences with little done to help combat this virus may be overlooked by voters (there’s still a lack of testing, no vaccine in place, etc.). The focus may be on the Wolf administration and their actions could have some effect in how people vote in this state on November 3rd. The fact that people are being told to stay inside, businesses are unable to open up (some of those in businesses considered non-essential are still technically essential as they need to make money to feed their families), and the lack of ability to move and live freely may not bode well for those in pivotal groups that the candidates may need to win the White House. Some of these voters, such as independent voters, may have had a change in thought regarding their political philosophies after this pandemic that could lean them towards voting red instead of blue. Biden has not advertised his plan to combat the virus that well, I have seen little notable campaigning from him online, and he has his own problems with the accusations brought forth by Tara Reade and the fact that he was trying to unmask Michael Flynn during the Russia probe. However, Biden may have Governor Wolf to thank for his loss in Pennsylvania.