PHILADELPHIA (AP) – When President Donald Trump told the world that “bad things happen in Philadelphia,” he was in part a full assessment of his party’s struggles in the nation’s sixth-largest city.
For many decades, Philadelphia has been the cornerstone of a Democratic victory in a war-torn state – the formation of the Democratic margin is so vast that winning statewide is a long art for most Republican presidential candidates.
But, this is a long shot that Trump pulled in 2016 and is trying to repeat. Brittley Love City – which quickly ignores memes and T-shirts for its discussion stage – underscores the months-long effort of its campaign to combat the blue tide starting in the city.
The fight involves court challenges and the fight over statehouse mail-in voting and voting differences, efforts Democrats classify as voter repression.
Trump has publicly stated, without providing any evidence, that the only way to lose Pennsylvania to former Vice President Biden is through massive fraud by Democrats in 1.6 million cities.
But Trump can’t change the basic political math in the state: one in eight registered voters in Philadelphia, mostly delivering large Democratic margins, regularly provide one in five votes for Democratic presidential candidates and lead to a left-wing influx. Suburbs heavily populated around it.
“Trump is right, bad things happen in Philadelphia,” said Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic Party of Philadelphia. “And bad things are going to happen to him in Philadelphia on election day.”
Recent polls have shown Trump and Biden in a competitive race in Pennsylvania, or Biden were ahead with a single point in the state. Trump won by just 44,000 votes – less than a percentage point – in 2016.
Trump’s victory was the first since 1988 by a Republican presidential candidate, and it shocked the Pennsylvania Democrats.
In Philadelphia, Biden’s campaign is pushing black and Latino voters to turn out and bring former President Barack Obama there to campaign. Trump’s campaign is making its own appeal to black and Latino voters and hopes for better results with the support of its white, working class.
Brady predicted that Philadelphia would take over the rest of Pennsylvania and produce a bigger margin of victory for Biden compared to the victory produce 5,000 that Hillary Clinton produced in 2016-2015. This difference was slightly less than Obama’s historical margin.
The Biden campaign has a number of “voter activation” centers around the city, not to mention Biden’s campaign.
The Trump campaign, meanwhile, began office fees in heavily black West Philadelphia and heavily white Northeast Philadelphia.
Thanks to a one-year-old state law that greatly expands mail-in voting, people now have weeks left to vote and voting can begin quickly at newly opened election offices around the city where voters can cast ballots.
That gives the Philadelphia Democrats hope, as the city’s predominantly black wards did not come out as strongly in 2011 for Clinton as they did for Obama, with some people voting 10% less.
State Rep. “The line went around the block,” Chris Rabbe, whose district is 70% black, said of a newly opened election office there. “It was nothing like what I had seen since 2008 and I have been voting for 16 years now.”
In a city of 5% black, it is widely believed that Trump has given rise to a racist old man.
Breaking concrete on a contract job at the West Philadelphia Rowhouse this week, lifelong Democrat Dexter Ayres said he had already voted for Biden in hopes of improving how black people are treated in America.
Some of his friends doubt that voting will change anything. Ayers, who is black, admits he wonders, “Wow, why did I vote?”
“But then I see it like this: ‘Well, maybe my opinion will make a difference,'” Ayres said. “I’ll just pray and put it in God’s hands.”
Sitting on his front porch in West Philadelphia this week, Democrat Latoya Ratcliffe said he would vote for Biden, and sees more enthusiasm in his neighborhood to vote for Trump than for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The defining point for Ratcliffe, who is black, is racism.
“They understand a little bit more about getting votes and coming out,” Ratcliffe, 39, said.
In northeast Philadelphia, Trump saw unexpectedly strong support from members of the Unified Building, an area with a reputation for being home to police officers and firefighters. Republicans say they now expect stronger support for Trump there.
“Back Blue” yard signs and thin-blue-lined flags are everywhere in some neighborhoods, the city’s police union reaffirmed Trump and the city’s firefighters and paramedics union also backed him by breaking his international organization’s biden.
Lifelong Democrat JD Dowling, who recently left his northeast Philadelphia home to go shopping, said he would vote for Trump after supporting Clinton four years ago. He spoke in support of the US Alliance, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer.
“It’s out of control,” said Willing, 60, who told White. “No one has reason to disrespect the police.”
Democrats admit they moved to northeast Philadelphia in 2016 – the swing has had about 11,000 voters since 2012.
However, the sector returned to the Democrats in 2018, and the U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, who represents him in Congress, said he expects Biden to do better there than Clinton.
He recalled a paper-smashing incident at his office fee last fall, which was attended by hundreds of people in the parking lot of the Plums Union office fee in East Philadelphia.
Democrat Boyle said, “I was shocked by the hostility towards Trump. People said, ‘Get him out of here, he’s a disaster.’ “And it was different. I hadn’t heard that a few years ago. “
Longtime registered Republican Stephen Lomas, who lives between two Trump supporters in northeastern Philadelphia, said he would vote for Biden.
“White and members of his administration are” breaking our belief in the system, “said White 84, a white 84-year-old white man. … They are thugs. They are almost traitors to our constitution. ”
In addition to mail-in voting, the other thing that is different in this presidential election is the network of fellow liberal issues and community groups in Philadelphia, organizers say, with a long-term focus on reaching out to non-voting people, mainly in the Black and Latino neighborhood .
Briham Douglas, vice president of local 274 United, a hotel workers’ union that supports casinos, food services and Biden, said he was working harder than ever.
D36 Glass, 36, meets everyone who casts a ballot who tells no personal story: he is caring for his 21-year-old niece, Brina, who died of coronavirus in September.
“So I’m focusing more on canvas than 2016,” Douglas said.
Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Follow Mark Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tlywriter and Mike Catalini at www.twitter.com/mikecatalini
The AP’s Advanced Voting Guide brings you facts about early voting, by mail, or by absenteeism in each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting2020