Biden’s Black Outreach Is Failing, and No One Knows How to Fix It

A Pew poll from April found that only 55% of black voters approved of Biden’s job performance. That ghastly number is only the beginning of Biden’s troubles with the Democrat’s most reliable voting bloc: the black vote.

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Where more than 90% of black people voted for Biden in 2020 — and voted in record numbers — the black community in 2024 is less than enthusiastic about voting for Joe Biden. 

Biden aides talk about an “information gap.” Biden has done all these wonderful things for the black community, but black voters aren’t hearing about it. So they say. At any rate, Biden’s team is worried that the president isn’t grasping the enormity of the problem, particularly in battleground states.

There’s a growing realization in the Biden campaign that black turnout won’t be anything near what it was in 2020. That election saw almost 60% of black voters showing up to vote compared to an average of 51% in the two previous national elections.

That’s not going to happen in 2024. It appears that black turnout will revert to its usual 51% and perhaps even less. Unless Biden can goose those numbers and get them closer to 60%, he is not going to win the 2024 presidential election.

“I’m in a battleground state. I know what has and hasn’t been done. I felt a level of disconnection earlier on the message, on the messengers, and on mobilization,” said Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) said the problem is a “balkanized” news landscape. “I think that the way that we communicate has changed in such a way that, if you don’t invest earlier, it’s going to be a problem,” she said. “I’m not saying that it’s the last minute, but we are in crunch time.”

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The Biden campaign hasn’t quite reached the “hair on fire” stage of panic, but it’s talking itself into one. The bottom line is that it can’t even define the problem correctly. No Democratic president has ever been in the position with black voters that Biden is. The black vote was always taken for granted. Frankly, the Biden campaign and the Democrats are still in the denial stage.

Politico:

But more privately, Democratic operatives express other fears, including that Black influencers and media personalities have soured on Biden and that the president himself has eschewed major interviews and less scripted campaign stops, making him less accessible to voters. Black leaders also see the community as open to the Donald Trump campaign’s targeted entreaties.

And while Black voters, according to surveys, are supportive of Biden policies — like student debt relief and funding for historic Black colleges — when they’re familiar with them, the stubbornness of inflation remains a huge concern, as with the broader public.

“Biden’s new plan, which includes an eight-figure investment, will rely on Black student organizations, community groups, churches, and surrogates to improve his standing with Black voters in swing states,” reports Axios. The “new plan” sounds a lot like the old plan except with a few more bells and whistles. It doesn’t address the fundamental problem that many blacks, especially black males, don’t feel beholden to the Democratic Party anymore. 

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In short, they feel that Biden has let them down.

Black Democratic operatives in the field say their research shows that the information gap problem Biden faces is severe, and that it’s causing a dip in enthusiasm. In a recent North Carolina focus group of Black voters conducted by BlackPAC, those who backed Biden in 2020 said they felt the promises he made to their community hadn’t come to fruition.

“When you tell people ‘Here’s what the Biden administration has done,’ particularly related to issues the Black communities care about, people are really surprised,” Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, told Politico.

Until Biden’s team can figure out how to sell its accomplishments at the same time addressing the issues of high prices, it won’t make a thimbleful of difference. 

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