State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Trump goes on attack in Mechanicsburg

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 2, 2016 5:06 AM

Pennsylvania is seen as one of the most important states in Trump's campaign. (Photo by Jordan Brown/WITF)

(Mechanicsburg) -- In his second Pennsylvania event in two weeks, Donald Trump addressed a packed crowd in Mechanicsburg Monday evening.

The rally was an eventful one, featuring torrential rain, forcible removal of a protestor, and some choice words from Trump on his opponent, Hillary Clinton, whom he called "the devil."

In fact, Trump was on the offensive for much of hour-long speech, criticizing Clinton for supporting trade deals like NAFTA, and blaming such deals for the "destruction of manufacturing."

"Remember this," he said, "her husband signed NAFTA, which was the single worst trade deal ever in the history of this country, really in the history of the world."

Trump talked at length about renegotiating NAFTA and other trade deals, and returning manufacturing jobs to the US.

It was a part of the strategy he's been employing in Pennsylvania to appeal to working class, white voters.

For him, that's a vital demographic.

The businessman polls badly among minorities, women, and college-educated people, leaving him little choice but to bank on exceptional turnouts among his white, middle class base.

In Pennsylvania, getting that turnout is particularly important. Political strategists are saying Trump's path to the White House may hinge on winning there.

Pennsylvania hasn't gone to a Republican candidate since George H.W. Bush won it in 1988.

Many of these voters have traditionally leaned Democrat, and have played a significant role in keeping the state blue for the last few decades.

But those party loyalties are shifting--just ask 17 year old Nick Ator, who's voting for the first time in November.

"I'd say the majority of people I know are voting for Trump over Hillary," he said. "They used to like Clinton--Bill Clinton--but now that like, Donald Trump is coming in...he's just taking over. My parents, grandpa supports him hugely."

Democrats won't give up Pennsylvania without a fight, though. Hillary Clinton has campaigned extensively in the state, visiting Johnstown, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. She currently leads narrowly in polls.

Other vital swing states for Trump include Ohio and Florida.

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