The massive Democratic super PAC that spent big in PA and three other states
The biggest fundraiser in the 2016 election has a robust plan to flip PA and three other states in 2020.
The 2016 election is an episode most Democrats would rather forget. Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump was arguably the biggest upset in presidential election history, leaving pundits shocked as the Republican candidate who trailed in all but one national poll came out victorious.
But President Trump’s surprise win came on the back of very narrow victories in a number of swing states. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida went for Trump by approximately 200,000 votes combined.
The four states are now the focus of the country’s largest progressive super PAC going into the 2020 election.
Priorities USA is funneling $100 million into targeted advertising campaigns that look to shift the narrative around the president’s purported economic successes.
The funding has created four subsidiaries pertaining to each of the four targeted swing states. In Pennsylvania, Priorities USA takes the form of Priorities Pennsylvania.
“Since coming into office Trump has been presenting a narrative that does not pass the sniff test with voters here in Pennsylvania,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, in a statement on the super PAC’s website.
The organization has its work cut out for it on that front.
According to a recent report by The Inquirer, during Trump’s presidency, PA has hit a record low in unemployment and added over 100,000 jobs.
However, Priorities PA is betting on their own set of data gathered over the past two-and-a-half years to reverse the narrative. When asked what they care about regarding the economy, voters pinpointed two major topics: healthcare and wages.
In a press call on July 23, Cecil clarified that these two topics were not the “top-line, macroeconomic numbers on jobs or the stock market” that Trump frequently cites.
“Voters want to hear about issues that affect their own pocketbook,” he said.
With that in mind, Priorities PA created the “Let’s Be Honest” campaign, which launched last week in the state as well as in Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin. The campaign’s mission is to engage face-to-face with Pennsylvania voters who have been negatively affected by Trump’s economic policies and tell their stories.
“This marks the very first time that Priorities has actually placed staff on the ground in key states,” said Cecil.
The in-person approach helps garner stories to tell, allows staff to keep track of trends leading up to the election and connects the super PAC with local organizers, politicians and activists who could influence voters.
Also according to Priorities USA data, the projected electoral outcome in PA could be decided by just four tenths of a point in favor of the Democrats. This means any dropoff in turnout in any of the highlighted voting groups (African-American, Latinx, white college, or white non-college) means another win for Donald Trump.
Trump’s major supporting super PAC, America First Action, has also made PA one of its six top-tier states going into 2020.
“In either respect, it’s a close election,” said Cecil.