Barack Obama is visiting Philadelphia Wednesday to stump for Joe Biden. It will be the former president’s first in-person campaign event anywhere this election cycle.
Details of Obama’s visit are still trickling out, but his first stop is expected to feature a conversation with local Black men about the importance of voting.
He will finish off the day with what the campaign is calling a “drive-in rally” outside Citizens Bank Park, sometime in the early evening.
Black voters tend to cast ballots for Democrats. But four years ago, Black men around the country were less likely to turn out for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton than they had been for Obama during his two elections. Throughout the campaign, Joe Biden has recounted his time as Obama’s vice president when making his pitch to Black voters.
The campaign says due to coronavirus concerns, the Citizens Bank Park event won’t be open to the general public. A limited number of tickets are available, but they’re being distributed to select supporters via local officials.
The rally will also be livestreamed on Biden’s campaign website.
In Pennsylvania, the election is expected to hinge less on Biden or President Donald Trump winning over swing voters. Instead, it will depend more on the candidates’ ability to inspire voters — with a focus on those who might not otherwise cast a ballot at all.
Trump’s margin of victory was razor thin in 2016 — 44,000 votes, or less than one percentage point. That means any bump in turnout — in reliably blue Philadelphia, in the reddening Northeast, or anywhere else — could be crucial.
In August, Obama made a virtual appearance at the Democratic National Convention from Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution. Crowds showed up outside the museum, trying to catch a glimpse of him entering or leaving.
The night before the 2016 election, Obama helped draw a crowd of 40,000 people to a rally for Hillary Clinton on Independence Mall.