For the first time in a very long time, a Democrat candidate for president finds himself having to go the extra mile to shore up support among black voters. To that end, Joe Biden traveled to South Carolina on Jan. 8, where he delivered a speech from the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. It was a rather cynical choice of venue. In 2015, a white supremacist shot and killed nine black worshippers there. The primary message Biden apparently wanted to send to black voters is that they are in mortal danger from white people unless they re-elect him. The fear-based campaign continues.
Sure enough, Biden launched straight into a racially divisive sermon that was soon interrupted by protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Once the few demonstrators were escorted out, Biden went to the theme of the Civil War and used a little creative historical license to draw a tenuous connection between the Confederates and Donald Trump – the supposed link was that neither could accept defeat.
Then it was back to the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Each time Biden recalls that day, the details become more horrific; the current chief executive has never been one to let the truth get in the way of a good story. He even suggested that the Jan. 6 protesters specifically targeted black police officers. There is little, if any, hard evidence to back up this claim.
Biden and a Whole Deck of Race Cards
Unlike his previous speech at Valley Forge, PA, Biden lost the thread at times and lapsed into incoherent rambling. Working up to something approaching hysteria – and it should be noted that his vitriol was now directed at the tens of millions of Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 – Biden claimed (and this is a direct quote):
“The same movement that throughout the mob, the United States capitals, isn’t just trying to rewrite history – January 6 – they are trying to determine to erase history, and your future. Banning books, denying your right to vote and have it counted. Destroying diversity, equality, inclusion all across America. Harboring hate and replacing hope with anger and resentment.”
Little chance, then, that Biden has any intention of uniting America should he win a second term in the White House.
He was at least honest enough to point out that he stood before his audience as president “because of this congregation and the black community of South Carolina and not an exaggeration [because of] Jim Clyburn … “ Indeed, the president’s sputtering 2020 primary campaign was resuscitated by the South Carolina representative who swung black voters in his state to Biden.
Today, however, Biden is shedding black support at what is, for any Democrat, an alarming rate. Clyburn himself admits to being “very concerned” about this key demographic. The incumbent took about 87% of the black vote in 2020, but, according to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University, that figure is down to 63%. Biden also trails Trump among Hispanic voters, 39%-34%.
Can Biden scare the black community with his subliminal message that “MAGA Republicans” are out to destroy it? Or will this group of voters look at what Biden has actually done for them economically, which is not much – if anything at all? There is little indication that black voters are flocking to Trump’s side, but he is attracting more support from under-35 voters. However, with 20% of black and Hispanic voters saying they do not intend to vote for either Biden or the presumed Republican candidate, Biden perhaps had better hope that painting half the nation as hateful and extreme racists resonates with blacks more than their doubled grocery bills and dwindling chances of keeping up with rent or mortgage payments.