Former President Barack Obama’s appearance in Philadelphia on Wednesday will be a drive-in car rally.
It’s Obama’s first in-person campaign event anywhere for the presidential election this year, Joe Biden’s campaign said. Obama will speak to the importance of early voting and will specifically address Black voters, especially Black men, the campaign said.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the event will be ticketed, without public access. The Biden campaign will offer a limited number of tickets to supporters through local campaign officials. It will also be livestreamed on the Biden campaign’s website.
The event will be at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday evening, according to city officials.
Acting Managing Director Tumar Alexander said the city is planning for a “nighttime drive in event at Citizens Bank Park” and is working with federal officials and the Secret Service to provide security.
Alexander did not disclose a start time or other details about the event.
Black voters make up about 10% of Pennsylvania’s electorate. While they are expected to overwhelmingly back Biden, whether they come out to support him at even greater levels than they did for Obama could help determine who wins Pennsylvania — and the presidency.
While Hillary Clinton’s share of the Black vote fell compared with Obama’s, to disastrous effect in big cities like Detroit and Milwaukee, that wasn’t the case in Philadelphia.
Turnout for Black voters in Pennsylvania overall fell only slightly, from 65.4% in 2012 to 65.1% in 2016, an analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress found. In Philadelphia, home to the largest number of Black voters by far, Clinton’s citywide vote total dropped by fewer than 4,800 votes, or only 0.8%.
There was a significant gender divide, though. While only 1% of Black women in Pennsylvania backed Trump in 2016, according to exit polls, 14% of Black men supported him. Both campaigns have been reaching out to Black men in the homestretch of the campaign.