US President Joe Biden walks to Marine One prior to departure from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, January 21, 2022, as he travels to Camp David for the weekend. (Photo by AFP)
US President Joe Biden is looking for ways to win back deflated Black voters and is currently in a dangerous position with the group he has relied upon for support so far, according to The Hill.
The cause of police reform in the US has slipped away as Congressional efforts to reach a bipartisan deal on the issue fell through last year. Biden quietly abandoned a campaign promise to create a national police oversight commission in April.
Also, the Democratic "presidentís belated push for voting rights legislation crescendoed with a big speech in Atlanta on Jan. 11 - and faded out just as fast."
Furthermore, the twin problems of COVID-19 and inflation have had a bad effect on his standing with the population. However, this is felt more strongly among the Black community, which has for long suffered from inequities of health and wealth.
African American voters have, for decades, voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. This tendency has its roots in the partyís support for the civil rights struggle and the attempts of leading Republicans such as former President Nixon to capitalize on white backlash.
There will not be any major change anytime soon, given the fact that many Blacks view Republican-led efforts to enact stricter election laws as a new twist on the old tactic of disenfranchisement.
However, Biden and his fellow Democrats should be able to keep having the support of Black voters if they are to have any real chance of counteracting long-standing GOP advantages with other groups, particularly white seniors and whites without a college education.
There are indications that Biden and his party might face problems. On Thursday, an NBC News poll showed the presidentís approval rating among Black Americans having declined sharply to 64 percent approval now from 83 percent nine months ago.
Meanwhile, other surveys have depicted similar trends for a while. In November, a HIT Strategies poll showed Bidenís approval among Black voters falling from 76 percent to 66 percent since June.
The numbers are indicative of a disappointment some Black voters feel with Biden, especially given that their support greatly helped Biden to become president.
At his first news conference of 2022 on Wednesday, Biden, when asked about declining Black enthusiasm, insisted, "Iíve had their back. Iíve had their back my entire career. Iíve never not had their back."
Now, some within the group are wondering what their community has got in return.
"I donít think he has lived up to a lot of the campaign promises that he made, especially given the role of Black voters in helping him become the president of the United States," said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and activist who is also a former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP.
"We pointed out issues related to mass incarceration, to economic inequality, of course, and to what is in the news now with the push to advance voting rights," Armstrong added. "I feel like Biden is basically doing the bare minimum in terms of being attentive to the needs and issues facing the Black community."