In April 2016, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders visited Reading with motives to extend his campaign to one of the most impoverished cities in the nation. Sanders speech inspired hope to rebuild the city with a donation to the stale employment infrastructure and a raise in minimum wage to $15/hour upon his prospective election.
With the candidate’s defeat, the problems in the Reading area continue to flood into the Lancaster outskirts and throughout communities in between. As of 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the city of Reading experiencing 39.6% population living in poverty and Lancaster at 29%. Bernie predicts that this suffering is in part due to the number of jobs lost as corporations relocating and leaving Berks County over the past few decades.With such a large sum of the population using income hand-to-mouth, Bernie Sanders returned again this past Sunday, December 3rd to oppose the current GOP tax plan and encourage the failing economy once again.
Within the new GOP tax plan, income brackets will shrink from 7 to 4, where the middle and lower-middle class will experience a rise in household income tax. This is a huge hit to the already struggling city of Reading. In addition to household struggle, the tax plan raises the income tax to 25% for all small businesses. With few corporations left in the county, the small businesses growing to support ex-corporation employees will now suffer a high rise in tax making worse of the city’s poor economy. As a large part of his campaign, Senator Sanders stand to protects working families across the nation.
Bernie may also be eager to show his face again in reading as there are increasingly diverse voting patterns arising from Berks County area. In the 2016 Presidential election, Berks County split the vote nearly half and half with 42.7% Democratic vote and 52.9% Republican vote. As a historically Republican area, the results of this election show a change of pace with variables in the handfuls. To consider that 2016 candidates presented a less than normal election last year is key to trying to understand the peculiar product of the poll. Also, important to acknowledge, is the decline in population in nearly neighboring city Philadelphia. With sure influx, out of the city and into more central Pennsylvania, voting populations are diluted with demographics and economy foreign to suffering cities like Reading.
Whatever the reason linked with the changes seen last election, Lancaster followed suit a bit more timidly with 37.7% Democratic vote and 57.3% Republican vote. The increase of Democratic interest in the Southeastern PA caught Sanders attention as many speculate he will run for 2020 election in a few short years.
With years to come before the next presidential election, Southeastern Pennsylvania may continue to undergo drastic political changes inviting candidate visits in regards to the currently defeated economy.