Joe Biden’s Identity Crisis: The Black Vote – OpEd


By Mark Angelides

The Democratic Party has been dragging the nation into a quagmire of identity politics that is, at best, exclusionary in its language and, at worst, a divisive and destructive force. This has not stopped Republicans from embracing its core tenets when the mood serves, however. But it is neither compassion nor concern that drives this paradigm; rather, it is data. Demographic and voting data, in particular.

Party leaders of all stripes are beholden to the almighty polls and the crosstabs contained within. Surveys have become their guiding stars and ethnicity, education, and gender divisions their compass. But those who rely on the number columns for their strategy are doomed to forget the most important lesson: People aren’t monolithic voting blocks; it’s the margins that matter.

The Coveted Black Vote

“If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” stated then-candidate Joe Biden on the popular Breakfast Club podcast back in 2020. Rarely has the notion that black voters “owe” their ballot to the Democrat Party been so poorly put. Yet, despite the insult and inelegance, black voters did indeed opt for a Biden-Harris ticket. But to assume that such support is a given is a folly that could prove costly.

Black Americans make up an estimated 14.5% of the US population (roughly 47 million); that includes men, women, and children. Historically, since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Democrat candidate has received support from roughly 70+% of the black community. But remember, the true value of voter demographics is in the margins.

Statista notes that Biden took 87% of the black vote in 2020, which is a good number for him. But getting 87% of that vote share in Washington, DC, is a whole lot less valuable than earning it in the swing states.

Polling by The New York Times/Siena College reveals that in six of the all-important swing states, 22% of black voters favor former President Donald Trump for the 2024 win. The significance of this can not be overstated. Yes, Trump gained two points with black voters from 2016 to 2020 (6% to 8%), but in presidential politics, those figures are essentially irrelevant. What matters is where those votes are.

A former pollster for Barack Obama, Cornell Belcher, noted that the voting preference might, in fact, not matter at all. “I’m not worried about Trump doubling his support with black and brown voters,” he said. “What I am worried about is turnout.” If Trump has 20% support in crucial swing states, it seems increasingly likely that the vast swathes of those who would traditionally vote for Joe Biden might not be overly animated to cast their ballot at all. Again, it all comes down to margins.

Selling a Message

In an effort to bolster black support in November, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has earmarked a staggering $35 million to a project that is as patronizing as it is predictable. “POWER (Persuade. Organize. Welcome. Educate. Reach.) The People” is an effort to “persuade and mobilize” black people so that Democrats can win a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Educate and Reach platforms are a stale echo of the message the Biden administration has been pushing for the last year. Vice President Kamala Harris made the point when speaking to journalist Katie Couric. She said:

“Historic work has happened, no question… It is incumbent on us to let people know who brung it to them, frankly.

“So, you’re right, we have a lot of accomplishments, and I think what the American people want most in their leaders is that we actually get things done — and we have done it… We haven’t taken adequate credit for it, frankly, and we’ve got to do a better job of getting the word out about what we have accomplished and who did it.”

So that’s the message. One that will be amplified to black voters with the aid of tens of millions of dollars and a friendly Fourth Estate: You should vote for Democrats because we’ve done things; you just don’t realize what those things are.

Assuming that a group of individuals will vote as a block based on their skin color is almost as insulting as telling them they are winning but are just too dim to see it. It’s a bold strategy from the White House that may – against the odds – pay off. Ultimately, however, it is a tactic that pays ever-decreasing dividends as voters start gravitating away from business-as-usual identity politics.

  • About the author: Mark Angelides is Managing Editor of  Hailing from the UK, he specializes in EU politics and provides a conservative/libertarian voice on all things from across the pond. During the Brexit Referendum campaign, Mark worked to promote activism, spread the message and secure victory. He is the editor and publisher of several books on Ancient Chinese poetry.
  • Source: This article was published by Liberty Nation

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