The Black Voters Who Could Swing Pennsylvania

A drop in turnout in 2016 among Black voters helped Trump skate by. This year in Philadelphia, the energy to unseat him could swing the state.

The Intercept’s Akela Lacy reports from Philadelphia, a Democratic stronghold where Black voters could cast decisive votes in a state that helped swing the 2016 election. This year, former Vice President Joe Biden headquartered his campaign in the city, while President Donald Trump placed it at the center of his voter fraud conspiracy theories.

The Intercept interviewed dozens of residents in late September: shop owners who find hope in Biden’s coronavirus pandemic plan; early voters outside City Hall eager to cast their ballot rejecting Trump, but full of questions about how to ensure that their vote counts; housing and racial justice activists whose battles with local Democratic officials have soured them on the party’s national ticket; a pair of formerly incarcerated organizers trying to activate new voters in places where participation fell off in the June primary; and a pastor who hosts Trump campaign events at his church, hoping his candidate can whittle away at Biden’s base just enough to make a difference in November.

This video was filmed before Philadelphia police shot and killed 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. on October 26 in West Philadelphia, and the protests that followed. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf approved Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s request to dispatch National Guard troops to the city on Tuesday; several hundred members are being mobilized.

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