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EDITORIAL: Philadelphians should answer Trump's disdain by making him pay on Election Day

YORK DISPATCH EDITORIAL BOARD
  • President Donald Trump recently said that "bad things happen in Philadelphia."
  • Trump has also said he can't lose Pennsylvania on Election Day without massive voting fraud.
  • That fraud, according to Trump, would be engineered by Democrats in Philadelphia.
President Donald Trump

The last time anyone checked, Philadelphia is still a part of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

It’s the birthplace of our republic. It’s where the Declaration of Independence was written and signed.

It’s kind of a big deal.

Pennsylvania Republicans, however, have long tried to appeal to their conservative base by running against Philadelphia. Listen long enough and you get the feeling that those Republicans wouldn’t mind at all if the entire city floated down the Delaware River and into the Atlantic Ocean, never to be seen again.

It’s where your tax money goes to fund welfare cheats, they say.

It’s where corrupt Democratic politicians perpetrate election fraud, they say.

It’s where socialist protesters disrespect on our law enforcement officers, they say.

What they don’t say is what they really mean.

For Trump, city where 'bad things happen' looms large

It’s where lots of Black people live — 42% of the city is African-American. Those Black folks also happen to vote in overwhelming numbers for the Democratic Party.

Republicans don’t like that much, so they use the dog whistle of “Philadelphia” in an attempt to hide the true message they’re sending to their base: We can’t let Philadelphia’s Black folks use their voting rights to tell us “real Pennsylvanians” what to do.

The Republican resentment is palpable.

Trump jumps on bandwagon: Not surprisingly, President Donald Trump has jumped onto the anti-Philadelphia bandwagon with both feet.

Trump recently told the world that “bad things happen in Philadelphia.”

For decades, Philadelphia has been the cornerstone of Democratic victories in the battleground state — producing Democratic margins so massive that winning statewide has been a struggle for most Republican presidential candidates.

Still, it's a longshot that Trump pulled off in 2016 and is trying to repeat in 2020. His debate-stage disdain for the City of Brotherly Love — which quickly inspired memes and T-shirts — underscored his campaign's months-long effort to fight the blue tide that starts in the city.

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That fight has involved court challenges and statehouse wrangling over mail-in voting and poll watching, efforts that Democrats rightly characterize as voter suppression. It borders perilously close to voter intimidation.

Citing no evidence, Trump has openly declared that the only way he can lose Pennsylvania to former Vice President Joe Biden is through a massive fraud engineered by Democrats in the city of 1.6 million.

Trump can’t change the math: Unfortunately for Trump, he can’t change the basic political math in the state. One in eight registered voters in Pennsylvania lives in Philadelphia, a city that keeps delivering increasingly large Democratic margins and is spurring a leftward drift in the heavily populated suburbs around it.

He also can’t change the fact that he is extremely unpopular in the Black community. Given Trump’s record on social-justice issues, that’s not in the least surprising. Many of those Black voters believe, with justification, that Trump has fueled a nationwide racist surge.

Recent polls show Trump and Biden in a competitive race in Pennsylvania, or Biden ahead by single-digits in a state that Trump won by just more than 44,000 votes — less than a percentage point — in 2016.

Trump knows he desperately needs Pennsylvania to win reelection.

Let’s hope that Philadelphians turn out in droves on Election Day to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Let’s hope that at least one truly bad thing does happen in Philadelphia for President Trump on Nov. 3 — an avalanche of votes for Mr. Biden.

The Associated Press contributed some content for this editorial.