BY JOE CONCHA, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 02/13/22 06:00 PM EST, THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL
Black voters are fleeing President Biden in droves. And it’s hard to see a scenario under which they come back anytime soon.
President Biden’s poll numbers have been stunningly bad lately. The most recent CNN poll has him at 58 percent disapproval, 41 percent approval. In December, Biden was at 49 percent approval in the same poll. And among those who disapprove of his performance, 56 percent say the president didn’t accomplish anything in his first year of which they approve.
To be fair, President Trump’s poll numbers were similarly dismal at this stage of his presidency. But there are two major differences:
1) Trump’s polls could be largely explained by a special counsel’s investigation into possible Russia collusion and the 2016 election (which ultimately led nowhere).
2) Trump’s base, those who strongly supported him, was infinitely stronger and more reliable than Biden’s current base, which at just 15 percent strongly approving ain’t much of a base at all.
Meanwhile, a majority of Democrats don’t even want Joe Biden to run again in 2024, with just 48 percent supporting the idea. This is unheard of after just one year.
Two more big numbers to consider: Less than 7-in-10 Black voters (69 percent) support the 46th president. This is significant, because more than 9-in-10 Black voters (92 percent) voted for him in 2020.
So, we’re talking about an almost 25-point drop in a relatively short period of time. Inflation obviously is playing a huge role here, with the Wall Street Journal estimating that the higher price of goods is costing families an extra $276 per month, or an additional $3,300 or so annually. Many poor and middle-income families and single parents and individuals simply cannot afford that while living paycheck-to-paycheck.
It bears repeating: Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination for president because he wasn’t Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and won the general election because he wasn’t Donald Trump.
But his handlers thought he had a big mandate to be the next FDR, to radically change the country by expanding government in ways never seen before. Trillions in new spending have already been signed into law. Trillions more were proposed via Build Back Better, with the administration arguing that such spending would reduce inflation and the deficit, which makes zero sense.
Sensible Americans, including two key members of Biden’s own party in Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), rejected the radical proposal. Ultimately, many voters, some suffering from Trump fatigue that came from non-stop drama in the White House, just wanted a return to normalcy, and not a jump to a socialist America.
And now we’re seeing an administration like a rudderless ship at sea, seemingly with no port.
“I don’t 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,” Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights attorney and activist who is also a former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, said recently.
“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.”
Biden made “voting rights” (which is really just a federal takeover of elections) his focus to start 2022, pushing the hyperbole machine to maximum levels during a widely panned speech in Georgia.
“I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?” Biden asked. “At consequential moments in history, they present a choice: Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
Civil Rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton said the speech wasn’t about gaining the support of those who oppose or are on the fence about the proposed legislation. “In this particular case, dealing with my friend and brother Joe, if he was trying to get votes, it was not the vote-getting speech,” Sharpton said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I’m a minister. Either you get up, and you try to persuade people of their sins and appeal to their better angels. But when they come to church, and they still have the jug of whiskey up under the pew, you say, you’re going to hell. I think he gave a ‘you’re going to hell’ speech.”
The vote would fail in the Senate 48-52.
Black Americans had a rough 2021, particularly with COVID-19. They had a 2.5 times higher chance of dying of the virus than whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Black unemployment rate is at 6.9 percent, which is double the white unemployment rate. And crime continues to hit urban areas the hardest, with 16 cities setting homicide records in 2021.
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The midterms are less than 270 days away. Democrats will almost certainly lose their razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to take back the Senate. The president’s overall approval is in the 30s for the first time in the RealClearPolitics average.
It isn’t just GOP voters who oppose him; it’s also most independents. But what should be most alarming to Democrats is the erosion of support among Black voters, who are increasingly feeling buyer’s remorse on Biden.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.