Pennsylvania is a crucial and highly competitive swing state in the run for the presidency. A few days before the election, a new wave of violence is rolling over the largest city in the country. The trigger is a police action against a black man – there was absolutely no alternative.
In the past few days there have been repeated massive riots and looting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The democratic governor has now been forced to order the deployment of the National Guard.
This was preceded by an attack on police officers, which ended fatally for the attacker. On Monday a Philadelphia police patrol received information about a man who aggressively attacked passers-by. The apparently mentally disturbed man, armed with a knife, ran towards the officers who had arrived, and who repeatedly asked him to put down his knife and finally opened fire and fatally hit him.
The man was African-American and accusations of racism were immediately raised. As expected, rioting and looting began on the same day at night with more than 200 stores affected. Several dozen police officers were injured, and one policewoman was rammed by a pick-up truck. One can wonder whether it would have made a difference for the police officers whether a black or white suspect tried to stab them.
The President of the local Police Association, John McNesby, defended the police after seeing the bodycam footage: “The officers were authorized to use force in very difficult and stressful conditions, an armed man confronted them with a knife. The officers withdrew for almost 50 seconds and ordered the man to drop his knife more than 20 times.”
Left-wing activists often demand, as part of their “Defund The Police” mantra, that more social workers instead of police officers should respond to certain emergency calls. In this case the police did not “de-escalate” properly, they claim. One might wonder, of course, to what extent unarmed social workers are the right answer to a knife-wielding man harassing passers-by, but that is actually a widespread demand among US leftists. In response to the severe riot that led the police to call for help from the National Guard, the largely Democratic City Council of Philadelphia responded not by backing the police, but by initiating the process to ban tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray for Philadelphia Police.
And it is precisely on the basis of such calls for police dismantling that Trump is trying to attack the Democrats, because the resurgence of violence in US cities could have an impact on the presidential election; after all, Pennsylvania is one of the most important and most competitive swing states. In a statement, Biden hinted that the shooting was “injustice” and reiterated his call for “police reform” while condemning the violence caused by the riots. In polls, challengers Biden and President Trump are separated by just 3.7%. The oil industry is also an important industry in Pennsylvania; Joe Biden recently said he wanted to liquidate the oil industry and ban fracking – and that may have cost him votes. Trump has recently mobilized enormously in Pennsylvania. Here is a recording of one of his campaign events in the state on Saturday:
Assuming Trump wins the swing states in the south, the east coast state of Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, could be the one to get him over the finish line – or not. But in the end, there is a good chance that the presidential election will be decided in Pennsylvania.