WILKES-BARRE — The famous philosopher, aka Hall of Fame baseball player Yogi Berra, once said, among other gems:
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
Since déjà vu is the feeling that one has already had the experience that they are currently having, his quote could apply to the race for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
This is not an endorsement of any candidate. It’s merely a look at what seems to be happening all over again — just two years after what many felt was impossible did, indeed, happen.
Two local native sons — Scranton’s Bob Casey, the two-term Democratic incumbent, versus Hazleton’s former mayor and current U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta — are vying for the coveted seat. As the campaign rolls on, things got a little familiar a few weeks ago when Barletta held a rally in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Just two years ago, there was a candidate running for president who “experts” and media said could not win. Didn’t have a chance. Hillary couldn’t lose. So said the polls. So said the talking liberal heads. Night after night. So much so, that some believe this pre-conceived notion worked against Hillary. After all, who would ever vote for Donald Trump for president, we were told over and over. To the extent many didn’t vote at all — most of them being Democrats who really didn’t care all that much for Hillary in the first place.
She was going to win anyway, so why vote?
Well, Election Day came and, as they say, the only poll that really counts was taken and Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States. What could never happen, happened. People who would never vote for Trump voted for Trump. And many of them waited in line for hours to do just that.
Election Day 2016 was America speaking out because before that, nobody apparently was listening — not the experts, not the pundits, not the media. Despite day after day and night after night of playing to crowds of 10,000 people and more, we were still being told that Trump couldn’t win. But he did.
The question is, why did Trump win?
The simple answer is that Trump represented all that the people wanted from their president and their government. Yes, a billionaire who lacked couth, often times was vulgar, inappropriate and who seldom followed protocol, was speaking their language. Trump would, as his campaign slogan resonated, “Make America Great Again.” Those words were continuously offered between never-before-heard statements from an unconventional presidential candidate.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump appeared at Lackawanna College. Again the place was packed, just like on two occasions at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township. Talk about déjà vu?
It was at the Scranton rally where Barletta energized the crowd by reeling off the key points of Trump’s campaign — issues that resonated then and still do today. Issues like supporting the middle class, creating more family-sustaining jobs, securing our borders, preserving American jobs from illegal immigrants, returning jobs from overseas, strengthening our military, taking care of veterans, protecting gun rights, being pro-life, improving health care and assuring that America would always come first.
These were the issues the people wanted to hear. And they kept coming out every place Trump showed up.
And on Aug. 2, Trump brought them out again, this time to rally support for Barletta’s Senate campaign. More than 11,000 inside, thousands more outside and all were Trump people who will, no doubt, be Barletta voters.
Yet we keep hearing about polls that show Casey leading. That Casey has much more money than Barletta will ever have. That Casey will fight Trump and his efforts to change Washington. That Casey will protect Social Security and Medicare.
Casey and his supporters should be wary of this persistent pro-Trump sentiment. What was found out in November 2016 is alive and well in 2018. The lesson learned is that no matter what polls say, no matter what experts and pundits say, Trump is popular and Barletta represents Trump for many voters.
Two years after what could never happen did actually happen, the Democrats and the liberal media still don’t get it. They don’t get it, or they refuse to see what’s been right before their eyes and has been since 2016.
If Democrats think this race is a lock, Bob Casey may wake up on Nov. 7 like Hillary Clinton — unemployed.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at [email protected]