In a city that bleeds a deep shade of blue, Democrats still struggle with gettingPhiladelphians to the polls every Election Day.
Hillary Clinton is no exception. Ata voter outreach rally Tuesday afternoon at West Philly High School, the Democratic presidential candidate urged people to register to vote before the state’s Oct. 11 deadline, and announced the opening of her campaign’s Southwest Philly office.
“We don’t want you on the sidelines come November,” Clinton told the crowd of at least 200 packed in the school’s gymnasium. “This is the most consequential election. The stakes could not be higher.”
Hillary Clinton rallies for voter registration, talks infrastructure, industry and mental health at West Philly High School on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
Posted by Metro Philly on Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Though Clintonmaintains a growing leadahead of opponent Donald Trump, she warned voters not to become complacent in the 12 weeks ahead of Election Day.
Her campaign has brought on Philly rapper Freeway to help spread the word.
Freeway, born Leslie Pridgen, said he’s been very active in inspiring his followers to become politically active, but admits there’s work to be done.
“I would let the young people know that maybe they don’t have a full understanding how powerful their voices are,” he said. “It’s up to all of us to make a change, and we have to do it together.”
Freeway, whose musical career has slowed since he was diagnosed with kidney failure last year, said his health condition has influenced his support of Clinton.
In addition to raising awareness of kidney failure, Freeway has also taken on political activism as a cause, urging people to educate themselves on the issues.
“I didn’t really understand everything Hillary was bringing to the table until I looked into it myself,” Freeway, who formerly backed Bernie Sanders, said. “Instead of just sitting around complaining and talking trash, do your homework and see what’s going on with these people.”
Voter turnout in Philly consistently lags behind the state average, trailing by more than fivepercentage points in 2008 despite Barack Obama’s intense voter outreach.
Even in this one-party town, low turnout could force Pennsylvania to swing right.
Pennsylvania’s status as abattleground state has only solidified in recent weeks, as Trump has doubled down on his accusations of voter fraud against Clinton.
“We’re going to watch Pennsylvania,” Trump said at a rally in Altoona. “The only way we can lose, in my opinion – I really mean this, Pennsylvania–is if cheating goes on.”
Still, Trump has since urged his voters to become “election observers.”
“Help me stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election,” saysa page attached to the candidate’s website,where users can sign up to become a “Trump Election Observer.”
After signing up, the user is redirected to a donation page.
Thelatest Pennsylvania pollshows Trump trailing Clinton by more than nine points.
To be clear, when Trump says “Pennsylvania,” he means Philadelphia. In 2012, thePhiladelphia Inquirerreported that in 59 districts in the city, Mitt Romney received zero votes, a situation that sparked concern among some Republicans, who cried voter fraud on the city.
In the same article, the Inky offered an explanation for unanimous support for Obama: the districs, in North and West Philly, are almost exclusively black, and the vast majority of registered voters are Democrats.
“We Philadelphia, we’re not cheaters, we’ve never been cheaters,” Freeway said after Clinton’s rally Tuesday. “We’ve never been a city of cheaters. We’re the City of Brotherly Love.”