After Propelling Biden in 2020, Black Women Aren’t Eager to Abandon Him Now

Please log in or register to do it.

As Democratic leaders and voters called on President Biden to step aside after his faltering debate performance, Black women remained his firewall of support.

During conversations at a national music festival on Saturday in New Orleans, a small organizer gathering in rural Georgia immediately after the debate last month, and in recurring chats over text chains and phone calls, Black female Democrats have affirmed and reaffirmed their willingness to vote and organize their communities to back Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, whose place on the presidential ticket they vigorously lobbied for in 2020.

Many acknowledged that the president’s debate performance was flawed. Others shared concerns that his weakened state and meandering answers on the debate stage would make it more difficult for them to energize Black voters, who have already expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket.

But they have joined a broad swath of Black lawmakers in publicly dismissing the idea — circulating among others in the party, including a group of top House Democrats — that Mr. Biden should step aside.

“All the airwaves attention that Democrats are putting on this and not putting on efforts to convince and motivate voters is just completely distracting,” said Stefanie Brown James, a co-founder of the Collective PAC, an organization that supports Black candidates at all levels of government. “I just don’t think it’s helpful right now.”

Black women have long been the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting bloc. More than 91 percent of Black women who voted in 2020 supported Mr. Biden, and polls have consistently shown they are still his most stalwart constituency, one that has yet to crack even as those same surveys suggest a broader slippage of support among Black voters.

Interviews with nearly two dozen Black Democratic women, including many of the grass-roots organizers credited as instrumental to Mr. Biden’s victory four years ago, indicate that a vast majority of this loyal voting group is not yet prepared to abandon him or Ms. Harris.

Their continued backing is driven in part by pragmatism. If he were to drop out, many argued, it would throw the Democratic Party into disarray and gravely imperil their chances of defeating former President Donald J. Trump, whom they see as a threat to democracy and to the racial progress made over the last several decades.

Mr. Trump’s comment during the debate about immigrants taking “Black jobs” has circulated widely online and given some Black leaders an opening to remind voters of his racist and reductive comments. And the latest New York Times/Siena College poll shows Mr. Trump winning roughly 15 percent Black support — a decrease from past surveys even as he widens his overall lead over Biden in battleground states.

But Ms. Harris is also a significant factor in their support, they said, sharing concerns that attempts to undermine Mr. Biden could also undercut her as part of the ticket and do damage to her future prospects. Should Mr. Biden step aside and Democrats select a candidate other than the vice president, it would all but assure a monumental loss of Black support, many suggested.

Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove of California likened the Democratic Party to a sports team during a panel discussion with the Congressional Black Caucus PAC on Saturday at the Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans. The party’s victories do not solely depend on the coach, she said, but “its star players.”

“We also have to remind ourselves that we have a Black woman who is vice president of this United States of America,” she said. “We need to continue to protect her as she is point and part of the ticket that still sees us when Republicans don’t.”

Mr. Biden has repeatedly insisted that he would not be pushed out of the race and reiterated his commitment to running again in a letter to congressional Democrats on Monday. But in recent days, Ms. Harris, who has not wavered in her backing of Mr. Biden, has garnered more attention as an alternative presidential candidate.

Some donors beginning to shy away from the president have shown fresh interest in Ms. Harris. Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina told the MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell last week that he would support Ms. Harris if Mr. Biden were to step aside, adding that Democrats “should do everything we can do bolster her, whether she’s in second place or at the top of the ticket.”

At the Essence Festival, where she participated in a moderated conversation, Ms. Harris drew a large, animated crowd of mostly Black women. Many said in interviews that, while they were supportive of Mr. Biden, they were excited by the prospect of seeing Ms. Harris atop the ticket — either this year or in 2028.

One attendee, Joyce Dallas-Maryland, said she believed Ms. Harris would make an “excellent replacement” for Mr. Biden but felt it would be too disruptive for the party to change course now.

“I am on Biden’s team, and those who are in line with him,” said Ms. Dallas-Maryland, who traveled to the festival from Mobile, Ala. “They stand for democracy, and that’s what I stand for — democracy — as well.”

This week, Ms. Harris will host a number of campaign events, including two on Tuesday in Nevada, a crucial swing state. She will also have an opportunity to speak directly to Black women at national gatherings for two Black sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha, of which she is a member, on Wednesday, and Zeta Phi Beta, at the end of July.

On the airwaves, Black women have been among the most prominent defenders of the Democratic ticket. In a CNN interview with Victor Blackwell on Saturday, former Senator Carol Moseley Braun called Democrats’ criticisms of Mr. Biden “very discouraging,” even as she conceded his debate performance was poor. She said “the chatter should stop.”

Representative Frederica Wilson of Florida released a statement Sunday underscoring her support for the Biden-Harris ticket and condemned the Democrats who called for Mr. Biden to step aside, saying that anyone who does so “needs to get their priorities straight.”

The Black women supporting Mr. Biden also point to his record. He has appointed more Black women to federal courts than any other president and his policies lowering the cost of insulin have disproportionately benefited Black diabetics. And though his student loan debt forgiveness plan was hampered by legal and legislative roadblocks, his administration most recently canceled student loan payments for more than 160,000 borrowers — a boon for Black women, who disproportionately owe student loans.

“Abandoning Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, for me personally, it feels like it’s abandoning my own freedoms,” said Jotaka Eaddy, a veteran Democratic strategist who convenes regular meetings with Black female organizers and elected officials. “I am not willing to do that.”

A group of more than 150 Black female organizers who attended a gathering in Macon, Ga., one day after the debate said plans were immediately laid to reinforce support for the president. Some leaders are now planning weekly meetings to discuss turnout strategies.

The heads of several of these organizing groups, which focus on both rural Black voters and those in the deep-blue Metro Atlanta region, say they will concentrate their efforts on young voters and men. They also plan to counter what they see as Republican-led disinformation efforts aimed at Black voters through in-person engagement.

Still, many of the same organizers who delivered for Mr. Biden four years ago are staring down a much steeper challenge in re-electing him. In polls, focus groups and interviews, Black voters have shown less interest in supporting Democrats this November, expressing significant frustrations with Mr. Biden. Some, pointing to higher prices as a result of inflation and the party’s failure to pass voting rights or criminal justice legislation, have said they will vote for Mr. Trump or withhold their vote altogether.

Veteran organizers are also contending with fewer resources to complete their work. Some said that recent Supreme Court decisions targeting affirmative action had limited the funding for organizations that are expressly geared toward engaging Black communities.

And while they are standing behind Mr. Biden, some of the organizers are also making contingency plans. Conversations have taken place with donors and other leaders of Black voter mobilization organizations to shift strategies if Democrats move forward with a new nominee, said one prominent Georgia organizer with direct knowledge of the conversations. She insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Still, some Black Democratic women said the immediate calls and plans for a new standard-bearer suggested a lack of loyalty to the president whose re-election they had committed to supporting.

“In the aftermath of the debate, everything has been about his performance and how he looked and how he sounded and all of that,” said Leah D. Daughtry, a veteran Democratic strategist. “We have not yet gotten to the accomplishments of this administration and what the last three and a half years have looked like.”

Related Posts
Newt Gingrich: Biden was corrupted by our enemies

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich commends the House of Representative's investigations into Hunter Biden on "Hannity," saying their work will Read more

Biden campaign official says 1 term not enough to fix financial woes

The Biden-Harris campaign's communications director argued that "a brick wall of MAGA extremism" has contributed to Americans struggling financially and Read more

Families of US citizens detained in China demand Biden secure their release: ‘Put these Americans first’

Families of U.S. citizens being wrongfully imprisoned in China, are pleading with President Biden to come up with a "real Read more

Internal State Department memo accused Biden of ‘misinformation’ on Israel-Hamas war

An internal State Department dissent memo that was reportedly leaked to the press accused President Biden of "spreading misinformation" about Read more

Tonya Harding’s rise and fall: The Nancy Kerrigan 1994 attack
Locals in one Mediterranean hot spot load up water guns to protest mass tourism: 'Go home'

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *