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For Trump, the city where ‘bad things happen’ is big

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – When President Donald Trump told the world that “bad things are happening in Philadelphia,” it was, in part, a fragrant analysis of his party’s struggles in the sixth most popular city. of the country.

For decades, Philadelphia has been the cornerstone of Democratic victories in the state of battle battle – making democratic margins so huge that winning the entire state has been a long time coming for most presidential candidates. Republican.

But this is a longshot that Trump drew in 201

6 and is trying to repeat again. His stage of the debate was disgusting for the City of Brotherly Love – which quickly inspired memes and T-shirts – which emphasized the long-term efforts of his campaign to fight the blue wave beginning in the city.

That battle involved court challenges and statehouse clashes over email voting and poll watching, efforts that Democrats described as voter suppression.

And it came as Trump openly declared, without mentioning evidence, that the only way he could get Pennsylvania out of former Vice President Joe Biden was through a massive fraud plotted by Democrats in the city of 1.6 million .

But Trump cannot change the basic political mathematics in the state: one in eight registered voters lives in Philadelphia, a city that continues to deliver larger Democratic margins, regularly casting one in five votes for candidates in the Democratic presidency and stimulating a left drift the suburbs with a large population around it.

“Trump is right, ‘bad things are happening in Philadelphia,’ especially for him,” Philadelphia Democratic Party chairman Bob Brady said. “And not good things will happen to him in Philadelphia on Election Day.”

Recent polls show Trump and Biden in a competition contest in Pennsylvania, or Biden ahead of single-digits in a state where Trump won just over 44,000 votes – less than one percent point – in 2016.

Trump’s victory has been the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988, and it shocked the Pennsylvania Democrats.

In Philadelphia, Biden’s campaign places heavy emphasis on turning Black and Latino voters and bringing former President Barack Obama to campaign there. Trump’s campaign is making its own appeal to Black and Latino voters and is hoping for better results on its white, working-class base.

Brady predicts Philadelphia will take the rest of Pennsylvania and create a bigger margin of success for Biden than the 475,000 it made for Hillary Clinton in 2016. That gap is slightly smaller than historical margins that Obama had in 2008 and 2012.

Biden’s campaign has many “voting centers” in the city center, not to mention the headquarters of Biden’s campaign.

In the meantime, Trump’s campaign has opened offices in heavy Black western Philadelphia and in the white northeast of Philadelphia.

Thanks to a one-year-old state law that greatly expanded mail voting, people now have weeks to vote and turnout is fast at newly opened election offices across the city where can be filled and voted by voters.

That gives hope to the Philadelphia Democrats, after the majority of Black wards were not as strong in 2016 for Clinton as they did for Obama, with some delivering 10% fewer votes.

“The line goes round the block,” Rep. Chris Rabb, whose district is 70% Black, spoke about a newly opened election office there. “I haven’t seen anything since 2008 and I’ve worked in polls for 16 years now.”

In a city that is 42% Black, the belief that Trump ran a racist expenditure is widely held.

Breaking concrete in a contract job at a western rowhouse in Philadelphia this week, Dexter Ayres, a lifelong Democrat, said he had already voted for Biden in hopes of improving how Black people are treated in America.

Some of his friends were skeptical that voting would change anything. Ayres, who is Black admits to him wondering, “Wow, why did I vote?”

“But then I look at it like: ‘So, maybe my vote will make a difference,'” Ayres said. “I just pray and leave it in God’s hands.”

Sitting on his front porch in western Philadelphia this week, Latoya Ratcliff, a Democrat, said he would vote for Biden, and sees more enthusiasm in his neighborhood to vote for Trump than in 2016 to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The defining issue for Ratcliff, Black, is racism.

“They understand a little more about the exit and exit of that vote,” said Ratcliff, 39.

Northeast of Philadelphia, Trump saw unexpectedly strong support from an area with a reputation for being home to unions of trade union members, police officials and firefighters. Republicans say they now expect stronger support for Trump there.

“Back the Blue” signs and thin blue line flags can be found anywhere in some neighborhoods, the police union re-endorsed Trump and firefighters and unions endorsed him as well. of paramedics, who broke Biden’s endorsement of the international organization.

Leaving his northeastern Philadelphia home to go shopping recently, lifelong Democrat Joe Dowling said he would vote for Trump after supporting Clinton four years ago. The issue that changed his mind, he said, was the violence at the death of George Floyd and a reaction against the police.

“It has no control,” said Dowling, 60, who is white. “There is no reason for anyone to respect the police.”

Democrats acknowledge they slipped northeast of Philadelphia in 2016 – the swing has been about 11,000 voters since 2012.

However, the place is back for Democrats in 2018 and Rep. Brendan Boyle, who represented it in Congress, he hoped Biden was better there than Clinton.

He recalls a paper cutting event in his office last fall, attended by hundreds in the plumbing university parking lot in northeast Philadelphia.

“I was shocked at the animus to Trump, the unsolicited people who said, ‘You have to get him out of there, he’s a disaster,'” said Boyle, a Democrat. “And it’s different. I didn’t hear that a few years ago.”

Stephen Lomas, a long-time registered Republican living between two Trump supporters in northeast Philadelphia, said he would vote for Biden.

Lomas, 84, who is white, said Trump and members of his administration “are tearing down our belief in the system. … They are out-and-out crooks. They are almost traitors to our Constitution.”

Aside from voting in the mail, another thing different from this presidential election is a network of allied liberal issues and community groups in Philadelphia, organizers said, with a long-term focus on reaching to people who are unlikely to vote in most Black and Latino neighborhoods.

Briheem Douglas, vice president of Unite Here Local 274, a casino union, food service and hotel workers who support Biden, said he canvassed more power than ever before.

Douglas, 36, tells a personal story to everyone he meets who does not plan to vote: He is caring for the baby of his 21-year-old niece Brianna, who died in September from coronvavirus.

“So I focused on laser canvassing more in 2016,” Douglas said.


Reported by Levy from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timelywriter and Mike Catalini at www.twitter.com/mikecatalini


AP Advance Voting guide brings you facts about early voting, by mail or absentee from each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020

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