Washington Examiner: Voters stood up to the culture and declared their center-right values

The Washington Examiner
By Salena Zito
November 8. 2020

PINE TOWNSHIP — Had you spent any space of time in this northern suburb of Pittsburgh listening to voters, finding out what things mattered to them when it came to schools, community growth, economic prosperity, and the emotional impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, you would have at least been skeptical of the media narrative and the polls that claimed suburban voters here are no longer center-right.
Not Republican per se, just center-right.

Most reporters certainly didn’t take the time to do so. Instead, they relied on the scolding of our cultural curators in sports, media, and Hollywood as an indicator of how these college-educated, affluent voters would vote. Surely, they thought, these suburbs would cave under the cultural pressure, push left, and their votes would send a blue shock wave across the country.

These reporters put their faith in what they saw in polls or on Twitter, and they predicted the vilification of center-rightism would drag the country leftward — except the people who voted here, and in down-ballot races across the country, vigorously rejected that pressure.

By all accounts, Rob Mercuri should have never won the open state House seat. His opponent, Emily Skopov, was well funded, had the support of the teachers union, abortion rights groups, and several climate change groups, and supported Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s restrictive approach to the pandemic.

And yet Mercuri triumphed, beating back Skopov, who possessed everything pollsters and the national narrative believed needed to win against a Republican: She’s female, progressive, and running for a seat with a changing demographic that is ascending and affluent. And yet she lost by almost 9 percentage points, again, repeating the same number she had when she ran against former Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai, who decided not to seek reelection this term.

Mercuri was not alone. In another equally affluent suburb on the other side of the Allegheny River, Devlin Robinson took out Democrat state Sen. Pam Iovino, 53% to 47%.

They are also still missing that the conservative populist coalition that placed Trump in office not only held together, but it has also grown, with many of those voters opting not to vote for him at the top of the ticket but still turning out happily for other Republican candidates.