Pennsylvania is anchored by large cities — Philadelphia to the east, Pittsburgh to the west — on opposite ends, each with sprawling suburbs. But the rest of the state is largely rural, comprised of small cities and towns where Trump ran up the score four years ago.
He will likely need to again, as his prospects have slipped since 2016 in vote-rich suburban Philadelphia, where he underperformed by past Republican measures. This raises the stakes for his campaign’s more aggressive outreach to new rural and small-town voters across the industrial north.
In Chester County, for instance, Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee in more than 50 years to lose what is Pennsylvania’s fourth most-populous county and once a GOP stronghold. While 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney carried the county on the western edge of metro Philadelphia, Trump fell short by 10 percentage points.
If Trump is to carry Pennsylvania again, he cannot just add new voters in the state’s expansive rural…