HomePoliticsAmid signs of waning enthusiasm, Biden is reaching out to Black voters

Amid signs of waning enthusiasm, Biden is reaching out to Black voters

At the low point of his fight for the Democratic nomination in 2020, President Joe BidenThe party’s campaign relied on black voters to provide the spark that turned things around. As he heads into the summer and faces an uphill climb to get re-elected, the president’s campaign is working overtime to ensure what was once a political lifeline remains in his corner.

The groundwork has been laid for months by campaign leaders, who say reaching black voters cannot be left to the final months of the campaign.

But on Friday, Biden launched a series of public speeches in which he made his own direct pitch to Black voters, one that plays on voters’ short- and long-term memories by highlighting his long history and community connections and the way he says he fulfilled promises he made to them four years ago.

“When we deliver on America’s promise for all Americans, the nation will be changed for the better,” Biden said during a public commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ended racial segregation in public schools. .

Biden’s approach also includes stark warnings about what is at risk if Donald Trump returns to the White House, as he portrayed his Republican opponent on Friday as someone who had revived “treasonous” efforts to stand in the way of equality and inclusion .

“My predecessor and his extreme MAGA friends are responsible for taking away other fundamental freedoms, from the freedom to vote to the freedom to choose. But I have always believed that the promise of America is great enough for anyone to succeed,” he said.

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Biden was also scheduled to meet Friday with leaders of the so-called “Divine Nine,” a group of prominent black sororities and fraternities. On Sunday, he will deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College, a historically black college, before traveling to Detroit to address the NAACP’s Freedom Fund Dinner.

This weekend’s back-to-back events, in cities where black turnout will be critical to winning two of the closest battleground states, reflect the campaign’s belief that black voters cannot be considered just a demographic turnout, but sustainable require commitment – ​​and persuasion.

“You have to make time. You have to show up,” Quentin Fulks, Biden’s top deputy campaign manager, said in an interview. “It’s just a continuation of doubling down and making sure that we’re doing the work with communities across the country that we need to show up for, and we’re not taking anything for granted.”

NBC News polls show what challenge awaits Biden. Although Biden led Trump 71% to 13% among Black voters in an April survey, the margin is smaller than his 87-12 lead in the exit polls four years ago.

More worrying for Biden is what appears to be reduced enthusiasm — 59% of Black voters said they had a strong interest in the 2024 election, compared to 74% who said the same four years ago at a similar point in the race.

Biden’s allies downplayed the concerns even as they underscored the stakes.

“I don’t accept the premise that there has been any erosion of Black support,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson told reporters Thursday after a meeting with Biden, saying public polling has proven unreliable.

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“What I believe is that we are in a crisis of our democracy. “We have to decide whether or not we will have a functioning democracy that is representative of all citizens, or something less than that,” he added. “I hope the American public recognizes the importance of our democracy.”

Biden’s expanded outreach comes ahead of a major milestone: the fourth anniversary of the killing of George Floyd. As the 2020 general election arrived, public outrage led to calls, especially from minority communities, for criminal justice and policing reforms, many of which Biden embraced.

The White House declined to provide an outlook on whether and how Biden might celebrate that anniversary this year. Biden has continued to call on Congress to enact the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“No president in modern history has done more for Black America than Joe Biden,” Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler told reporters this week. “There is certainly more work to do, but we will compare Joe Biden’s record, his vision for the future as it relates to Black America, every day of the week against Donald Trump’s record, his rhetoric and his plans. ”

Biden campaign officials are pointing to traditional physical campaign efforts, including campaign offices opened in minority communities, with new technology-driven efforts to reach voters directly and communicate with them regularly. The campaign also says Biden has done more interviews with Black media and interviewers than any other outlet, including one with Atlanta radio host Big Tigger ahead of the start of Morehouse.

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It also means showing up at major festivals and local events — or even hosting your own, as the Wisconsin campaign has done with its own bingo or bowling nights, which are intended as soft touches rather than hard sales.

Most of the voter interaction with the campaign, the campaign expects, will come from an army of volunteers and organizers implementing a new strategy built around harnessing the power of personal relationships and networks. It is especially crucial, officials say, at a time when many voters, including Black voters, are reluctant or even resistant to the election.

“We believe that if you can go out and convince complete strangers, we believe you can too – and will also be the most effective person at convincing everyone you know,” Fulks said, noting the importance of this new approach emphasized in an increasingly fragmented media environment.

A volunteer organizer in Wisconsin, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged those concerns when she spoke to a young black male voter who echoed what she described as conservative rhetoric on immigration. Over the course of their one-on-one conversation, “I think I was able to get to a point where he was actually thinking about his position.”

“To be able to influence him, I thought, ‘Okay, that could just be one vote later,’” she said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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