Republicans Are Dog Whistling About Inner-City Corruption, but It’s the Suburbs That Are Actually Killing Trump – Slate

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An angry middle-aged white man holding a Trump flag shouts and points his finger amid other Trump supporters holding up Trump signs.
Trump supporters outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center vote-counting site in Philadelphia on Friday.
Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump’s supporters and adult sons believe the president is losing in tipping point swing states because corrupt election officials in major cities are fabricating votes for Joe Biden:

While rank-and-file Trump fans have gathered outside vote-counting centers in Milwaukee, Detroit, and Philadelphia (see above) to make accusations of fraud, Trump’s children Don Jr. and Eric are leading an accompanying messaging charge that they are trying to push from right-wing media into the mainstream. On Thursday they both complained on Twitter that other Republicans were not backing up their father’s attacks on urban vote tallies; Trump Jr. specifically raised the prospect of the 2024 presidential primary in an implicit threat to withhold crucial MAGA-world support. The shaming/blackmail effort appears to have been successful: In the last 24 hours, potential future candidates including Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Tom Cotton have amplified the Trump family’s accusations, though some have hedged by focusing vaguely on the issue of “irregularities” and “transparency” at counting sites rather than making outright accusations of vote tampering and election theft. Cruz, for example, claimed that a “lawless” failure to comply with election laws regarding the presence of campaign observers has taken place in “Democratic city after Democratic city.”

There have been no instances anywhere in the country of observers being illegally excluded from counting sites, though a judge in Pennsylvania did agree Thursday to let Trump observers stand closer to election workers than they had been previously. More to the point, though, Biden is not really being (apparently) propelled to the presidency by winning unusually large numbers of votes in predominantly Black parts of cities. The Detroit Free Press has noted that Trump actually did better against Biden in Detroit than he did against Hillary Clinton, while Milwaukee Magazine has made the same observation about its own city; Philadelphia-based journalist Brett LoGiurato says the same pattern looks like it will end up holding in the country’s cheesesteak capital as well. Across the country, it appears that Trump did a bit better with Black voters in 2020 than he did in 2016, including in urban cores.

What did happen in 2020 is that the areas around cities got bluer. Biden beat Clinton’s haul in Milwaukee County by 4 points, outperformed her substantially in Michigan’s Detroit-area Oakland and Wayne counties, and looks dominant in Philly’s suburbs. Given Trump’s long history of characterizing majority-minority cities with average or below-average crime rates as bleak gangland hellscapes, it’s not surprising that he would jump to the conclusion that their residents are the ones victimizing him. But he’d be closer to identifying the source of his downfall if he claimed that the fake ballots pushing Biden into the lead were being printed in the backrooms of the nation’s Chipotles and Paneras.

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