Joe Biden works to push Black turnout in campaign’s final days

Vastavam web: Joe Biden is spending the final days of the presidential campaign appealing to Black supporters to vote in-person during a pandemic that has disproportionally affected their communities, betting that a strong turnout will boost his chances in states that could decide the election. Biden was in Philadelphia on Sunday, the largest city in what is emerging as the most hotly contested battleground in the closing 48 hours of the campaign. He participated in a “souls to the polls” event that is part of a nationwide effort to organise Black churchgoers to vote.

“Every single day we are seeing race-based disparities in every aspect of this virus,” Biden said at the drive-in event, shouting to be heard over the blaring car horns. He declared that President Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19 was “almost criminal” and that the pandemic was a “mass casualty event in the Black community”. His running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, was in Georgia, a longtime Republican stronghold that Democrats believe could flip if Black voters show up in force. The first Black woman on a major party’s presidential ticket, she encouraged a racially diverse crowd in a rapidly growing Atlanta suburb to “honour the ancestors” by voting, invoking the memory of the late civil rights legend, longtime Rep. John Lewis.

The state’s top court ordered the extension and the Supreme Court refused to block it, though conservative justices expressed interest in taking up the propriety of the three added days after the election. Those ballots are being kept separate in case the litigation goes forward. The issue could assume enormous importance if the late-arriving ballots could tip the outcome. Biden is focuwssing on turning out Black voters in the final stretch in part to avoid a narrow outcome that could prompt Trump to seek an advantage in the courts.

It is a challenging dynamic because Democrats have spent months pushing their supporters to vote by mail. But their energy has shifted to urge Black supporters, who have long preferred to vote in person or distrust voting by mail, to get out on Tuesday. A Biden path toward victory must include Black majority cities, including Philadelphia and Detroit, which will be crucial in determining the outcome in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Those are states where both candidates have spent a significant amount of time in the final days of the 2020 election.

“The historical but also cultural reality for our community is that Election Day represents a collective political act and it is a continuation of our struggle for full citizenship in this country,” said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC. “Black voters are showing up in ways that they did not in 2016 and we can take heart in that.”