Joe Biden Needs To Find His Mojo Again With Black Voters

Joe Biden Makes Junetheenth A Holiday

It feels a bit cliché to say that the 2024 Presidential Election will be the most important election in my lifetime. I also felt that way in 2016. I had the same feeling in 2020. I feel that way now because, well you know, it is the most important election in my lifetime.

I must admit though that the anxiety I feel about this year’s election is worse than ever. Like most Americans, I’m not excited about a rematch between Biden and Trump. Neither paid attention to calls for them to step aside for a new generation of candidates. And neither faced a serious primary challenge. In other words, it is what it is.

I do not have a problem with Biden or Trump’s ages – 78 and 81 years old by Election Day. I just reject the idea that they are uniquely qualified to lead because of their age and experience. There is a generation or two of very capable people in our country that could be effective leaders.

So why am I feeling so anxious these days (so much so that I have been practicing the Canadian National Anthem)?

The problem is that the Biden’s reelection campaign is in deep trouble. He is unpopular even among a lot of Democrats. He is losing the support of young voters and voters of color (especially Black males) who supported him in 2020. It is especially depressing to hear so many Black people say that they see no real difference between Trump and Biden, that Biden has done nothing for the Black community, or even worse, that they may not vote in November.

Anyone who cares about the future of America should be afraid. More than likely, Biden will win a majority of the votes just like he did in 2020 – he beat Trump by more than 7 million votes. However, because of the undemocratic and bizarre Electoral College system we have, a candidate can win the popular vote overwhelmingly and still lose the presidency.

A sobering truth is that Biden could have easily lost the 2020 election had he not barely won the popular vote over Trump in several key battleground states. This will likely be the scenario in 2024, which should scare the heck out of anyone (including me) afraid of the possible return to the presidency of a grievance filled megalomaniacal neo-fascist like Trump.

As was the case in 2020, the key to a Biden victory will be the support of Black voters. Most important will be turnout by the 18-29 cohort of Black people in battleground states. Younger Black voters won't jump to Trump in mass, but they may not show up at the polls, potentially hurting Biden's chance for reelection and potentially hurting Democrats in key races for statewide office and Senate races which could shift control of the Senate to Republicans. And while most Blacks will overwhelmingly vote for Biden, his support may slip from 2020 across all age groups. How that plays out in battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania may decide the outcome of the election.

Biden’s Black voter problem stems from a variety of complicated reasons, ranging from the strong perception of economic competition with undocumented immigrants moving across the border into our country, and the administration's complicity in the Netanyahu government’s ethnic cleansing of Gaza to the high cost of everything due to inflation, and billions going to the Ukraine-Russia war rather than addressing the needs of people living in Black communities.

To secure the Black vote, Biden and his surrogates need to speak directly to Black voters. Biden has a great record to run on: for example, the unemployment rate for Blacks is at a record low; Blacks have disproportionately benefited from student loan debt relief; the American Rescue Plan’s Child Tax Credit expansion cut in half the number of Black children living in poverty in 2021; 5.5 million Black households were connected to the internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program; and Black enrollment in healthcare increased significantly through the Affordable Care Act.

November will be here soon. My anxiety is growing. Get it together Joe Biden!

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