On the Ground In Working-Class Pennsylvania, Signs That Voters Get It

Isaiah J. Poole

As Pennsylvania takes center stage as the 2016 election season draws to a close, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lavishing last-minute attention on the state, many residents in one pivotal town seem to have locked in their votes – and locked them in against Donald Trump.

That was the impression I walked away with after spending Saturday with Rafael Diaz, an organizer with Keystone Progress, as he went door to door in Lancaster, Pa., to encourage voters to go to the polls and to vote against Donald Trump.

Knocks on several dozen doors in a racially mixed, working-class neighborhood in Lancaster, dominated by multifamily houses and apartment buildings, revealed many residents anxious to vote and in particular to record their rejection of the policies that Trump would promote if he became president.

In one encounter, Diaz discussed with a group of likely voters on their front porch their feelings about the stakes in this election and how bad a Donald Trump presidency would be for their community, which Diaz, a lifelong resident, said is struggling with serious income disparities. “[Trump’s] idea is to make the rich people richer, the poor people poorer, and that’s just the way it should be,” said Juan Garcia, one of the residents.

Diaz said that these conversations were vital for more than just getting out the vote Tuesday. “We can actually work together and have conversations to make this very important political stuff more relevant to our lives” – and to reclaim the power to change our democracy and make it responsive to everyday people rather than just a power-confiscating elite.

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