President Donald Trump's rallies, known for their raucous atmosphere, have attracted thousands of dedicated supporters. Despite holding more than 350 rallies since launching his presidential campaign in 2015, Trump has never hosted one in Philadelphia.
The Trump campaign has not announced plans to host a rally in Philadelphia or the surrounding area in the near future, despite Pennsylvania's status as a swing state that Republicans are angling to win. Political analysts say the city's liberal population makes the location an unlikely choice. Currently, Trump has no rallies scheduled in Pennsylvania.
Randall Miller, a Saint Joseph's University History professor and an expert on Philadelphia politics, said the Trump campaign’s lack of a rally in the city is unsurprising, given its reputation as a bastion of Democratic support.
“He always wants to go to friendly places,” Miller said. “Why come to Philadelphia where there will be protests and problems?”
When he was a candidate in 2016, Trump hosted rallies elsewhere in Pennsylvania, such as West Chester, Newtown Township, and Manheim. These areas are more conservative than Philadelphia, which voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in landslide proportions.
Miller said the 1968 Wharton graduate would likely face protests if he hosted a rally in Philadelphia, and Trump faces friendlier terrain in Philadelphia's surrounding counties.
“You can do something in Chester County, and you’re still going to make Channel Six news [in Philadelphia],” Miller said.
Earlier this month, the Trump campaign hosted a rally in Minneapolis, Minn., a liberal city in a swing state the Republican Party is targeting to win in 2020. The event was met with large protests and featured a spat between Minneapolis' mayor and Trump in the buildup to the rally.
Penn Democrats Political Director and College junior Owen Voutsinas-Klose said if Trump hosted a rally in Philadelphia, the group would likely plan to protest the event.
“[Penn Democrats and its allies] would definitely want to some kind of protest,” Voutsinas-Klose said. “It would be a great opportunity for us to make our voice heard.”
However, Trump has engaged in other speaking events in Philadelphia. In October 2018, Trump spoke in front of an electrical contractors convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, touting the current state of the U.S. economy.
Penn Political Science professor Marc Meredith said Trump may not benefit from holding campaign rallies in Philadelphia, but could benefit by fundraising in the city.
“Trump and his surrogates will likely conduct a number of fundraisers in Philadelphia over the next few months,” Meredith said. “It’s just a lot of money to be had.”
"When Trump starts holding rallies in the region, they might be in the further-out suburbs,” Meredith said. “He tends to have greater support [there] than in the city or in the suburbs immediately touching the city.”
But Meredith did not rule out the possibility of a rally in Philadelphia.
“It’s hard to predict anything with certainty with Trump,” Meredith said. “One never knows what he might decide to do.”
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