Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been based on the premise that he can restore the United States to her former glory. Scranton is an economically depressed city that has been trying to restore itself to its former place as an economic powerhouse. And even though the city is typically known as a Democratic stronghold, it has become a target for the Trump campaign.
Trump and his running mate, Governor Mike Pence, came to Scranton on Wednesday and hundreds, some traveling out-of-state to see them. Pence spoke first, introducing Trump. Eric Trump, Trump’s son, was also there as he has ties the region. Eric rattled off the local towns and cities, “Scranton, Carbondale, and Waverly.”
Trump’s speech was largely his typical stump speech (albeit with some more material based off former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention), but he threw in more references to coal and steel workers. Northeastern Pennsylvania had a strong coal industry, although that industry has faded over the years. Its legacy still lives as a point of nostalgia and local pride.
Scranton has also been heavily impacted by the loss of manufacturing and blue collar jobs. The city has been designated under Act 47, a Pennsylvania law designed to help suffering cities, since 1992. Its unemployment rate is 5.8%, higher than the state’s 5.3%.
The city’s economic condition is making it a target for the Trump campaign. The campaign opened an office in Clarks Summit, the suburbs of Scranton, shortly before the primary in April. Trump won Lackawanna County, Scranton’s county, with 69.7% of the vote.
The county is full of the blue collar workers that Trump has been targeting. Workers who feel the economic recovery has left them behind and who feel they have been slighted.