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A Republican councilman for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County says that the shy Trump vote is real and could be significant in his state.
So-called shy Trump voters, or voters who do not publicly support President Donald Trump yet intend to cast ballots for him anyway, were thought to be one of the reasons that Trump beat most professional predictions and won the presidency in 2016. The same phenomenon is at work this election, though it remains to be seen whether it is enough to push Trump to victory over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York traveled to Pennsylvania to investigate how many such voters may be hiding their votes because of reputation, fear of backlash, or any other reason. One county councilman said “at least a dozen” elected Democrats were planning on casting votes for Trump.
As The Washington Examiner reports:
Sam DeMarco is chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County and also an elected Allegheny County councilman at large. Allegheny County, which includes Democratic Pittsburgh, went for Hillary Clinton with 56.5% of the vote in 2016 to Trump’s 40%. In an interview Sunday, DeMarco said shy Trump voters “most definitely exist” in his county. Some are in the upper-middle class suburbs where Trump supporters just don’t want to deal with the social aspects of neighbors asking, “How can you vote for this guy?” But others are in traditional Democratic strongholds.
“I’m an elected official,” DeMarco said. “I have had at least a dozen Democratic elected officials tell me that they are voting for Trump. They say they don’t like where their party has gone, so far to the left, but as Democratic elected officials they can’t come out and say it.”
“Look at the unions,” DeMarco continued. “When they endorse, they apply a lot of pressure on their guys to fall in line and support the candidate. That’s not happening now.” He mentioned a recent large oil and gas industry conference that included some local union leaders. “They said they’ve given up on trying to get their guys to vote Biden,” DeMarco recalled. “I can’t guess at the number, but if it’s in law enforcement, the building and trade unions, and oil and gas, these folks are voting Trump.”
Biden’s elusive position on the future of the oil and gas industry has become a consistent target of attack by the Trump campaign. The industry is a key element to Pennsylvania’s economy, and Biden, as well as his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), have at times said that they favor ending fracking.
“I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” Biden said during the second presidential debate. “It’s a big statement because the oil industry pollutes significantly. … It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.” Biden later tried to walk those comments back.
Unions, typically loyal to Democrats, are seeing their memberships split between Biden and Trump in Pennsylvania, in no small part because of Biden’s past commitments to end fracking, even though he has continually denied or downplayed that he ever made such statements.
“I would say it’s a 50-50 split in membership of who’s supporting who,” Keith Thurner, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95, told The Washington Post of the voting makeup of his branch. “Even though International has endorsed Joe Biden, we have stepped back from that. We let the membership know what the International does. But there’s so many undecideds or folks on either side.”