Sunday, June 23, 2024

Black voters will help defeat Trump, Biden says in Philadelphia By Reuters

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(Fixes spelling of Philadelphia in headline)

By Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden began a new push in Philadelphia on Wednesday to court Black voters, a critical voting bloc that is showing signs of weakness for Democrats ahead of the November election, as he attacked his Republican opponent.

“With your vote in 2024, we’re gonna make Donald Trump a loser again,” Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, told a cheering crowd at Girard College, a historic boarding school founded to serve poor, white orphan boys that desegregated in 1968.

Black voters have historically turned out for Biden and Democrats, and were a key reason he beat rival Donald Trump in 2020, but polls show they could be less supportive of him this year as the pair face each other again on Nov. 5.

Biden ran through a list of his policy achievements, including removing lead pipes, a diverse administration, the first Black woman Supreme Court justice and pardons for people sentenced for marijuana possession. “Promises made, promises kept,” Biden repeated frequently.

Harris zeroed in on their importance for Democrats this year as well, saying “in 2024, with your voice and your power, we will win again.”

Democrats have long banked on strong voter turnout in Philadelphia — and more recently, its suburbs — to offset weakness in more conservative parts of Pennsylvania, a closely divided state that Biden narrowly won in 2020.

The campaign’s concern is not that the city’s Black voters will shift toward Trump, but that too many of them may sit out the election.

Black Democrats, including Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Steven Horsford, of Nevada joined the event, which marked what the campaign said was the official launch of “Black Voters for Biden-Harris.”

Earlier this month, Trump held a rally in New York City’s South Bronx neighborhood as part of his effort to exploit Biden’s weakening support among Hispanic and Black voters.

This is Biden’s third trip to Philadelphia — and sixth to Pennsylvania — this year, continuing a deep focus on the swing state where polling shows he narrowly trails Trump.

In Pennsylvania, Biden is doing slightly worse with Black voters than four years ago, though he still wins the vast majority, according to a New York Times/Philadelphia Inquirer/Siena College survey released last week.

He was the choice of 69% of Black voters now, compared with 79% in June 2020.

Trump was ahead in the state overall in the most recent poll.

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