Oct 9, 2019

Republicans target Pennsylvania's Amish for 2020

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Republicans are seeking to widen their chances of winning Pennsylvania again by targeting the state's most conservative residents: the Amish, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: In the 2016 presidential election, Pennsylvania's 20 electoral college votes went to President Trump by a margin of just 45,000 ballots. More than 75,000 Amish live in Pennsylvania, leading modest, heavily religious lives away from developed landscapes or politics. Less than 7% of Amish who are eligible to vote in Lancaster County, Pa., for example, are registered to do so. Republicans are hoping to change that.

  • 2 Republican operatives started Amish PAC in 2016, targeting potential voters through billboard and newspaper ads, aiming to win additional votes for Republicans in 2020.
  • Ben Walters, a co-founder of the PAC, told the Post he's heard from many Amish people coming around to the idea of voting, citing more interest in 2018 than 2016, and continued interest into the next election.
  • “Since 2016, every single year, it gets a little bit easier. We’re seeing more and more signs of progress. I think behaviors are finally changing," Walters said.

Of note: Amish don't drive cars and are not permitted by church rules to have driver's licenses, but they pass by billboards while commuting in their traditional horse-drawn buggies. Many are also willing to commute in cars so long as they are not driving.

Between the lines: While Amish people tend to side with Republican principles like disagreeing with same-sex marriage and abortion, they also, by and large, strongly believe in keeping their community and the federal government separate.

  • Amish PAC is hoping to reach Mennonite voters as well, who are less traditionalist but still deeply conservative.

By the numbers: The PAC spent almost $140,000 in 2016 and has already raised $32,000 for 2020, per their campaign finance reports.

  • In Lancaster County, where over 10% of all of America's Amish live, 1,019 members of the community voted in 2016. 15,055 were eligible.
  • At the end of the 1990s, fewer than 450 members of the community were registered voters.

Go deeper: Trump's 2020 map from hell

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.