Pa.’s (vice) presidential predictions


Since I’ve been on a successful streak with my predictions of late, let me make a few more.

There is an unwritten law among political pundits and political scientists that in order to win the presidency, you must win two of these states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

While the primary next week in Pennsylvania will be one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent history, watch how the national pundits will try to use the low turnout in Philadelphia as a sign that President Obama is in trouble in the Keystone State.

Far from it. As any good political pundit should know, to win Pennsylvania and its rich pool of electoral votes, all one has to do is win Philadelphia’s five-county area and heavily sweeten it with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Add a couple other places such as Harrisburg and maybe even Allegheny County. Even with this economy, that scenario is still in play and looks great for Obama. (Although there is legislation pending in the state Senate to change the way the electoral votes are awarded, it is unlikely to pass.)

Those areas are rich with Obama’s core votes and, while Obama may (or may not) have lived up to their expectations, they will rush to his side when attacked by the Republican candidate, whoever it is. The Republican candidate has a major problem that the Republican candidate for president hasn’t had before: In order to get the party base out to vote, he or she will have to remain on the right. Not go to the political middle where all presidential candidates go and find victory. This is ever so true for Mitt Romney who, no matter what he does, cannot get above 30 percent in his own party. Will that other 70 percent just sit on their hands, stay home in their Barcaloungers and not vote?

Of course the Republicans could toss a monkey wrench into reelection plans of President Obama, putting Pennsylvania into play. To do that, the Republicans would have to nominate a vice-presidential candidate from Pennsylvania who is well known and proven to bring out the votes. There are three possible options if the presidential nominee chooses to look in this direction.

Their first choice would be current Gov. Tom Corbett. He has the Republican credentials, and the influential Grover Norquist — the guy who makes all Republicans sign the no-new-tax pledge — has tweeted that Corbett would make a fine VP candidate. Having been governor for less than a year now, Corbett hasn’t made too many enemies. He also is a former attorney general, so that brings the air of reform and putting criminals behind bars. His public standing in the state is good and could only be enhanced if he is on the ticket. And he doesn’t have to resign to run, so if the Republicans lose, he just goes back to his day job.

Second choice, Sen. Pat Toomey. A freshman senator, but one who landed a plum job in his first year: He was chosen as one of only 12 on the special Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. And again, he’s popular, conservative and doesn’t have to quit his day job.

Third is former Gov. Tom Ridge. He rose to national attention when President George Bush chose him to run the newly created Department of Homeland Security. But he seems to be out of touch and from the old school — doubts could be raised about him cashing in on his homeland security gig.

You’ll note one name is missing: former Sen. Rick Santorum. For all the right reasons, he’s most likely not on anyone’s list. When you lose Pennsylvania as big as he did to Sen. Bob Casey, it makes you a deficit in any campaign.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at [email protected].