On Sunday, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge announced his support for Joe Biden in an op-ed with the Philadelphia Inquirer. Ridge discussed the need for “civility and respect” from a President which led him to endorse Biden. In 2016, he was among dozens of Republican officials who refused to support President Trump or Hillary Clinton.
So, why did he chose to endorse Biden this time around?
Well, it wasn’t over policy. Ridge is a lifelong Republican who heavily campaigned for John McCain in 2008. Some even considered him a possible VP choice at one point for McCain. He was in the Bush administration for 3.5 years and the first Secretary of Homeland Security in US history. In the op-ed, he even pointed out these ideological differences but made it clear that there had to be a change in leadership.
This endorsement really shows the fear that the Democrats have in losing Pennsylvania once again. If they lose the state and its 20 crucial electoral votes, there’s almost no pathway to victory for Joe Biden.
Since 2016, voter registration in the Keystone State has significantly favored the Republicans. The Democrats have historically had the advantage but the GOP has managed to cut that down heavily over the past four years. In 2016, the Democratic voter registration in Pennsylvania was over 900,000 strong but has been cut to nearly 750,000 with just over a month before the election. Several Democratic stronghold counties have become majority Republican in that span.
While the Tom Ridge endorsement could help pull over some moderate independents, it shouldn’t change many people’s mind. Ridge has not been the Governor for almost 20 years and his favorability is not what it once was because of his ties to President George W. Bush.
Tom Ridge is just another case of a neocon whose been out of office for years trying to be brought into relevancy.