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‘I Gave the Other Guy a Shot’


Even fans of Mr. Trump often say they wish he would lay off Twitter. Not Ms. Daniels, who called it a “brilliant” diversionary tactic. “He plays you, the press, like a fiddle, and you fall for it every time,” she said. “He gets everybody talking and it sucks up airtime for days. Meanwhile over in the corner, we’re working on this thing nobody knows about.”

Asked about Mr. Trump’s thousands of documented falsehoods in office, Ms. Daniels pushed back. “Based on whose sources?” she demanded. “Just because the news tells me that his claims are false is a little hypocritical because we had to listen about Russia, Russia, Russia for two years, and they were wrong. Who are they to say what’s coming out of his mouth is wrong?”

In the 2018 midterms, Democrats did well in the three Pennsylvania counties that Mr. Trump had flipped: Erie, Luzerne and Northampton. Gov. Tom Wolfe, a Democrat, carried all three. Ron DiNicola, a Democrat running for Congress, won Erie County by 20 points, though he lost the race because rural counties in the district voted Republican.

“I feel like our country has been more divided than ever,’’ said Stephanie Johnson, 38, a substitute teacher and registered Libertarian in Erie County. “I see it just being a mom, being out and about, at the grocery story, after school. I feel like people are so angry nowadays.”

Ms. Johnson worries that a decline in attendance at her family’s church is related to the divisiveness of America under Mr. Trump, whom she has no interest in voting for in 2020. “I feel like there are a lot of people who aren’t putting their full trust and faith in God, and are sort of scared and angry about what’s going on in the world,” she said. A president with no self-restraint on how he speaks about others has spread coarseness, Ms. Johnson said. “Like, it’s just gotten to the point where nobody has any compassion for each other.”

Still, Ryan Bizzarro, a Democratic state representative from Erie County, said, “If this economy holds on,” Mr. Trump “is going to be tough to beat.”


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