Pennsylvania voters delivered a 54% to 45% win to Hillary Clinton tonight — not quite the double-digit margin over Barack Obama that her campaign said she needed, but significant enough for her to stay in the race. Clinton lost in just but seven counties, among them population-heavy Philadelphia County.
Pennsylvania voters, unaccompanied to the spotlight in primaries, rose to the occasion. Alternet reported that over 33,000 new Democratic voters registered in the week before the March 24 voter registration deadline — and all over the state, voters are prioritizing the economy over other concerns, likely to vote Democratic in the general election. In the Dallas Morning News, G. Terry Madonna, a pollster for the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, said, "When the times get a little tougher and the emphasis is on the economy, on jobs, on health care, more of them tend to shift to be Democrats. When times are good, the emphasis is on abortion and guns and patriotism."
The Morning News went on to identify the "quintessential Reagan Democrat" — he or she had been voting Republican but has "come to resent the GOP's absorption with social issues, and by 2006, had largely abandoned the party."
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Live-blogging for Rewire on Super Tuesday, Lisa Witter welcomed the increased focus on the economy on this site on Super Tuesday. "You can’t talk about the economy without talking about inequalities…You can’t talk about strengthening the economy without supporting working families with paid family leave, providing quality child care and having safe neighborhoods for our kids to come home to," she wrote. "While a slumping economy is very bad in short-term for America, in the long term perhaps is the only thing that can help get us back on course."
During this election season, we've already seen more progressive economic policies trotted out than we could have possibly imagined even two years ago. Voters feeling economically insecure, in Pennsylvania and nationwide, may well have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who will deliver some economic relief. And when voters are focused on economic issues that directly affect their lives, they're less likely to be thrown by wedge issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. Here's to voting for your own self-interest.