This week on Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien we are in America’s birthplace- Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is a critical battleground state in the upcoming 2020 Presidential election. As part of our MOF Listening Tour, we examine the issues that will drive voters to the polls here in the Keystone state. Since 1992, Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes had gone to the Democratic candidate but that changed in 2016. Donald Trump’s victory was driven in large part by support from voters in rural counties, including Erie. That’s where our special contributor, Joie Chen traveled to find out if voters will still turn out for Trump.
Perhaps no one is better at understanding Pennsylvania voters than Ed Rendell. He served as governor from 2003 to 2011 and was also the mayor of Philadelphia. Gov. Rendell sits down with Soledad and has some advice for Democrats hoping to flip Pennsylvania from blue to red next year: “get ready for the fight of your life.” He also explains why progressive Democratic candidates could have a hard time selling their message in Pennsylvania.
One issue that’s important to younger voters is student debt. That’s especially true in Pennsylvania which has the highest average student debt in the country, more than $36,000 per graduate. Millennial voters in Philadelphia tell our correspondent Jessica Gomez, they are looking for candidates who have concrete plans to fix the debt crisis impacting millions of voters.
When it comes to partisan gerrymandering Pennsylvania had the dubious distinction of being one of the worst states in the country. In 2011, Republicans drew district maps in bizarre shapes that virtually guaranteed their candidates would win. Finally, the state Supreme Court stepped in and ruled it unconstitutional. A new map was drawn but as we find out, this issue is far from settled.
Finally, no trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a little history lesson. We look back at how Philadelphia, which served as the unofficial capital of the U.S. for much of the country’s early years but ultimately lost its position of federal power when Washington, DC became the nation’s capital.
Join Soledad O’Brien this weekend for a special Matter of Fact from Philadelphia.

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