President Donald Trump's longshot bid to overturn the election focuses on invalidating ballots cast in Philadelphia, Detroit and other heavily Democratic cities, an effort that would disenfranchise a disproportionate number of Black voters if successful.
While the Trump campaign says it is merely targeting places where fraud is most likely to have occurred, the racial cast to the president's attempt to cling to power has drawn criticism from Democrats. The president's lawyers have not presented evidence of widespread fraud in court and he has had little success so far with his legal challenges.
"The targeting of the African-American community is not subtle," Bob Bauer, legal adviser to President-elect Joe Biden's campaign, said Friday. "I think it's quite remarkable how brazen that is. It's very, very disturbing."
A senior adviser to the Trump campaign, Katrina Pierson, said it aims to protect the vote of every legal voter, including Black voters, by defending the integrity of the election. The most irregularities are in the most populous and majority-Democrat areas, she said.
"Democrats have used and abused the Black vote for their own political gain for decades, and their behavior this cycle proves nothing has changed," Pierson said. She added that Trump received more support in total votes from the Black community than any candidate in the modern history of the Republican Party.
Trump's focus on cities with large Black populations belies the fact that his reelection was largely lost in places outside the urban centers of battleground states. In suburban counties in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Biden improved his margin of victory by nearly 6 percentage points, compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016, or a combined 361,000 votes.
In urban counties with more than 1 million population, Biden's margin increased just 1.6 points, or 193,000 votes, relative to Clinton.
In Pennsylvania, the most hotly contested state, those suburban voters alone were enough to flip the state to Biden. Urban voters alone were not.
But Trump and his allies aren't contesting the outcome of the election in the suburbs. The racial tone of his fight has been most evident in Detroit, a city that is 79% Black.
On Tuesday, two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially refused to certify the Nov. 3 election results on grounds the vote in Detroit was suspect. The Republican chairwoman of the board, Monica Palmer, said during the debate that she would be open to certifying the vote in "communities other than Detroit," according to the Detroit Free Press.