Political Science Essay Paper on the Fifth Congressional District of Pennsylvania

The Fifth Congressional District Of Pennsylvania


            One of the best ways to know what is happening around the country and the world as a whole is the aspect of clinging to the important news in national and world politics. It is a process that each citizen needs to master so that coming up with strategies of making political and socio-economic decisions is an accurate process. For instance, knowing the local trends of policy formulations as well as the needs of the people and what needs to be put in place, will prompt the citizen to make a decision that dares to choose an individual with capable hand and might into the position. Several threshold gauges, as well as individual preferences, strengthen such analyses such that they form the basis for one going to the ballot and voting in one person instead of the other. However, the most important issue revolves around understanding the hierarchical levels of politics from the representational district, the senate to the national politics that forms the federal government (Barone et al, 2013).

Political History of the Fifth District of Pennsylvania

            Pennsylvania lost two seats in the reapportionment following the 2000 census and another after 2010, and at 18 seats, the Keystone State now has half the House members it had at its peak in 1920 (Barone et al, 2013). With the redistricting of Pennsylvania, this allowed Republicans to have firm control.

The Fifth District of Pennsylvania is the largest of all the districts, even after the process of redistricting that took place. This district includes Erie, Warren, Venango, Clarion, Forest, McKean, Jefferson, Clearfield, Cameron, Potter, Clinton, Huntingdon, and Centre counties. Reviewing the past elections, District Five has held on to the Republican vote, and continues to show favor in this district. Republican Glenn Thompson, who won the seat in 2008, is an amiable centrist and the only Pennsylvanian to serve on an agriculture committee in Congress. (Barone et al 2013) He defeated Mark B. McCracken (Democrat) and James Fryman (Libertarian), in the general election. Glenn Thompson won the election by an impressive 56.7%.

As the history of the District would have it, the largest district of Pennsylvania state, just like many others including the neighboring New Jersey, has come out strongly as a shifter with time. This is based on the fact that from the very onset of the redistricting process, more candidates from the republican political party have won the seat as compared to the democrats in the district. This has been attributed to the fact that, for a long time, the people of the District and their neighbors have been leaning on the conservative side for the better part of the 20th century and part of early 21st century. However, with the moving and changing times, the elaborate and obvious shift observed has not only been appreciable, but also a show of the paradigm shift that comes with measures that the people seek to handle issues that they perceive as primary and basic in their day to day life (Barone et al, 2013).

For this reason, the fifth district and the Pennsylvania state has undergone, and can be said to be continuing, a change in mindset in terms of methods of handling the modern day contemporary issues. When the issue of liberal and conservative approaches comes to question, unlike the past, now there is no clear-cut method of pinpointing an independent aspect to show that the political dynamics lean on one of either side. Perhaps the explanation for this lies in the series of the recently held general, senatorial and congressional election. The year 1992, come to mind as the time when the shift began to develop its root. This is because, since the year 1992, the observation that can be made and the information obtainable from electoral records, show that the State of Pennsylvania has supported overwhelmingly democratic candidates for the national election seats including that of the president. The year 2008 crowns this process to a level where it is undeniably clear that the national election leads in indicating a competitive nature of the politics of the conservatives as compared to the liberals (Barone et al, 2013). Despite the fact that majority of the district representatives are republicans, it is worth noting that the political ideologies are not leaning on one side but compete, almost at equal levels.

Glenn Thompson’s Voting Record

            It is important to know if the candidate’s voting record demonstrates a strong Conservative, or a strong liberal stance. The best way to determine this is to research their past voting record on important issues. On the issue of Civil liberties and civil rights, Glenn Thompson held a strong Conservative stance. G.T. Thompson was rated 0% by American Civil Liberties Union. This kind of rating by the interest body has the bearing that this representative has more inclination towards more conservative ways of handling issues during the leadership period. It may also indicate that the more liberal ways of handling various policy formulations do not suit his criteria of screening steps that are deemed good for the people he represents. By voting against the bills for H Amndt 783, 750 and 738 among others, the representative of the 5th district comes out as a strong oppose to spending of funds on issues that do not meet the primary needs of the people on the ground. He also interprets the law to demand for accountability and humanity in leadership rather than mechanical formulation of policies (Barone et al, 2013).

            Both the public and floor speeches that Thomson makes as well as the 80% and 38% rating recently accorded to him by the American Security Council Foundation and American Public Health Association, respectively show his urge to balance the need of the people to the general approaches of issues by the political class.

Senator Robert Casey, being the continuing senior senator from the state of Pennsylvania, the Senator comes out as one of the outstanding leaders that emerge from the Pennsylvania’s republican backyard and emerging as a more pro-liberalism leader (Barone et al, 2013). Since the first election that brought him on board the senatorial political arena, reviews, ratings and political milestones not only bring him out as an active supporter and breaker of proposed bills and amendments, but also an intuitive and initiative leader whose conservative and liberal ideologies meet at a competitive level to bring a balance in the handling issues. For this reason, the senator has been accorded with the noble responsibility of leading as well as being a member of several senate committees and sub committees. He stands out as the representative of the democratic ideologies in this metropolitan state.

The percentage ratings accorded to him by the Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Action fund on issues relating to parenthood, family planning and reproductive rights (an average of 50% from the year 2008 to 2014); indicates a stricken balance of conservativeness, a care for human rights and a consideration of the public health as well as economic demands that link family and politics. On the other hand, the 100% as well as average rating obtained from the interest groups on taxation, employment, health and economic growth as accolades to the senator reveal the competence he has on governance by the virtue of his political and leadership history. It also indicates a position on human rights and legal approach of matters: this is the link that brings sentiments, actions and decisions to create  far-reaching effect on the lives of people (Barone et al, 2013).


            In the past, the political dynamics of the state and its constituent districts have revolved around republicans and their conservative nature of dealing with issues of policy. This has experienced a shift such that the competitive nature of the democratic and republican ideologies is overwhelmingly clear. That the majority of the district representatives and senator are of Republican Party origin notwithstanding, it can be concluded that the state is predominantly a republican state with more allowance for liberal oriented ideologies. These factors are important when one needs to choose a side from which they can exercise their voting rights. As indicated by the analysis of the senator and the representative, it is worth noting that the state is more liberal than it has been in the past and this creates a competitive ground for various types of ideologies for discussion.


Barone, M., McCutcheon, C., Trende, S., Kraushaar, J., Wasserman, D. T., & National Journal Group Inc. (2013). The almanac of American politics 2014: The senators, the representatives and the governors : their records and election results, their states and districts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.