Pennsylvania Republicans believe rioting in Philadelphia could lend President Trump badly-needed support among frightened suburban voters in a contest so close that every vote in the state will count.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden has enjoyed a small but steady lead in this crucial battleground on the strength of strong support in the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.
But riots erupted in downtown Philadelphia this week after a black man armed with a knife was shot and killed by police after he resisted arrest. The resulting violence led some Republican insiders to speculate that the events might bolster the appeal of Trump’s “law and order” message with voters in the Philadelphia suburbs, undermining support for Biden at a crucial time.
“There’s no doubt that lawlessness and rioting in the city is going to have political impact in the suburbs,” said Charlie Gerow, a GOP operative in Pennsylvania. “Even some suburbanites who otherwise aren’t enthralled with Trump see him as key to restoring law and order. Their personal safety is a top issue for them.”
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