'KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - Here in the Pennsylvania suburbs, a political shift is underway," began a front-page story in the Boston Globe on Monday.
It was yet another news flash from the Philadelphia area in the blinding paparazzi red-carpet news coverage of this hundred-year storm of a presidential election campaign.
The mood of voters in Philadelphia's four suburban Pennsylvania counties is being discussed and dissected almost daily by columnists in major American newspapers, network and cable TV news analysts, commentators on NPR, political observers on the BBC, not to mention Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea.
"The dynamics in Pennsylvania are playing out across the country, as local officials scramble for ways to uphold the Republican ticket," wrote Globe reporter Tracy Jan, "in a crucial swing state battleground."
Gee, Philadelphia, this must be how it feels to live in a famous place like Dixville Notch, N.H., or Peoria, Ill., towns representing familiar and dependable middle-American values and trotted out by the media quadrennially during presidential election years.
Dixville Notch vies to be the first town in America to open and close the polls on Election Day. One hundred percent of registered voters in the town cast their ballots at midnight.
In 1960, Richard Nixon blanked John F. Kennedy in Dixville Notch, winning all nine votes. Four years later, Barry Goldwater beat Lyndon Johnson by a vote of 8-1. In 2008, with more than double the turnout, Barack Obama carried the town, 15-6, over John McCain.
Something almost as sweeping has happened over the last two decades to the formerly stalwart Republican majority in Philadelphia's four suburban Pennsylvania counties. Democrats now outnumber Republicans in three of the four, but presidential elections have swung both ways since 1976.
Both presidential candidates and their surrogates have been wooing voters in the region with repeated appearances. And the national media have beaten a path to Media, West Chester, Norristown, and Doylestown. These are the county seats, respectively, of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks - the four coveted "It" counties.
In a 2003 essay, "People Like Us," in the Atlantic, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote this keen-eyed observation about Americans in general and Pennsylvanians in particular.
"Maybe it's time to admit the obvious. We don't really care about diversity all that much in America, even though we talk about it a great deal," Brooks wrote about the very human tendency to live and hang out with people a lot like ourselves.
He offered specific examples based not only on race and income but on consumer choices regarding "stuff," market studies broken down to preferences based on zip codes.
"If you tried to open a motor-home dealership in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, you'd probably go broke, because people in this ring of the Philadelphia suburbs think RVs are kind of uncool," he wrote. "But if you traveled just a short way north, to Monroe County, Pennsylvania, you would find yourself in the fifth motor-home-friendliest county in America."
My prediction is that on Election Day, people like us, city dwellers and suburbanites, recent arrivals and lifelong neighbors, Philadelphians by choice and by tribal DNA, are going to vote for the presidential candidate who least reminds them of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Or of a trash-mouthed, Tic Tac-popping, used-RV salesman wearing a bad toupee.