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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 partly a rough assessment of his party’s struggles in the country’s sixth most populous city.

For decades, Philadelphia has been the cornerstone of democratic victories in the state on the battlefield – producing democratic margins so massive that winning across the country is a long chance for most Republican presidential candidates.

But this is a long-term Trump, pulled out in 201

6 and trying to do it again. His disregard for the City of Brotherly Love – which quickly inspired memes and T-shirts – highlighted the month of his campaign to combat the blue tide that is beginning in the city.

This struggle includes challenges to the court and a quarrel in the cabinet over voting by mail and polls, efforts that Democrats characterize as voter repression.

And that’s what happened when Trump openly said, without citing evidence, that the only way to lose Pennsylvania to former Vice President Joe Biden was through a massive fraud created by Democrats in the city of 1.6 million.

But Trump can’t change the state’s basic political math: one in eight registered voters lives in Philadelphia, a city that continues to raise margins, routinely secures one in five votes for Democratic presidential candidates and encourages deviation. left heavily populated suburbs around it.

“Trump is right, ‘bad things are happening in Philadelphia,’ especially for him,” said Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman Bob Brady. “And bad things will happen to him in Philadelphia on election day.”

Recent opinion polls show that Trump and Biden in a race in Pennsylvania or Biden ahead with single digits in a state that Trump won with just over 44,000 votes – less than a percentage point – in 2016.

Trump’s victory was the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988 and shocked Democrats in Pennsylvania.

In Philadelphia, Biden’s campaign placed a strong emphasis on the selection of black and Latino voters and attracted former President Barack Obama to campaign there. Trump’s campaign appeals to black and Latin American voters and hopes for even better results with its working-class white base.

Brady predicts that Philadelphia will carry the rest of Pennsylvania and provide a bigger difference for Biden’s 475,000 victory she produced for Hillary Clinton in 2016. That difference is slightly smaller than Obama’s historic 2008 limit. and 2012

Biden’s campaign has several “voter activation” centers around the city, not to mention Biden’s campaign headquarters.

Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has opened offices in deep black western Philadelphia and bright white northeastern Philadelphia.

Thanks to a one-year state law that has significantly expanded postal voting, people now have weeks to vote, and turnout is high in newly opened polling stations in the city, where voters can fill out and vote.

This gives hope to Democrats from Philadelphia, after the predominantly black divisions in the city were not as strong in 2016 for Clinton as for Obama, including some who gave 10% fewer votes.

“The line has circled the bloc,” state representative Chris Rabb, whose area is 70% black, told a newly opened campaign office there. “I haven’t seen anything since 2008 and I’ve been working in surveys for 16 years.”

In a city of 42% black, there is widespread belief that Trump has fueled a racist tide.

Breaking down the specifics of signing a job contract in western Philadelphia this week, Dexter Ayres, a lifelong Democrat, said he had already voted for Biden in hopes of improving attitudes toward blacks in America.

Some of his friends are skeptical that the vote will change anything. Ayres, who is Black, admitted that he wonders, “Wow, why did I vote?”

“But then I look at it like this: ‘Well, maybe my vote will change,’ Ayres said. “I just pray and leave it in God’s hands.”

Sitting on her front porch in West Philadelphia this week, Democrat Latoya Ratcliffe said she would vote for Biden and saw more enthusiasm in her neighborhood to vote for Trump than in 2016 for Hillary Clinton.

The defining issue for Ratcliffe, which is black, is racism.

“They know a little more about going out and voting,” said Ratcliffe, 39.

In northeastern Philadelphia, Trump saw unexpectedly strong support from an area with a reputation as home to union building members, police and firefighters. Republicans say they now expect even stronger support for Trump there.

Back Blue signs and thin blue-line flags are everywhere in some neighborhoods, the city’s police union has backed Trump, and the firefighters and paramedics union has also backed him, violating Biden’s approval by the International Association

Leaving his Philadelphia home recently to shop 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 following George Floyd’s death and the reaction against police.

“It’s out of control,” said Dowling, a 60-year-old white man. “There’s no reason for anyone to disrespect the police.”

Democrats admit that they slipped in northeastern Philadelphia in 2016 – the fluctuation is about 11,000 voters since 2012.

However, the region withdrew for the Democrats in 2018, and the American representative Brendan Boyle, who represents him in Congress, said that he expects Biden to do better there than Clinton.

He recalled a paper shredding event at his office last fall, attended by hundreds in the parking lot of the plumbers’ union office in northeastern Philadelphia.

“I was surprised by the animus to Trump, people said unsolicited, ‘We have to get him out of there, he’s a disaster,'” said Boyle, a Democrat. “And it was different. I hadn’t heard that a few years before. “

Stephen Lomas, a longtime registered Republican living between two Trump supporters in northeastern Philadelphia, said he would vote for Biden.

Lomas, 84, who is white, said Trump and members of his administration “are destroying our faith in the system.” … They are crooks. They are almost traitors to our constitution. “

Apart from postal voting, something different in this presidential election is a network of allied liberal issues and community groups in Philadelphia, organizers say, with a long-term focus on reaching people who are unlikely to vote in predominantly black and Latin neighborhoods.

Briheim Douglas, vice president of Unite Here Local 274, a casino, food and hotel workers’ union that supports Biden, said it was harder than ever.

Douglas, 36, tells the personal story of anyone 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 of the coronavirus.

“So I’m more focused on laser copying than I was in 2016,” Douglas said.


Levy reports from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Follow Mark Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timelywriter and Mike Catalini at www.twitter.com/mikecatalini


The AP’s pre-voting guide provides you with the facts of early voting, by mail or by absence from each country: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020

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