Beware of stories spreading misinformation about Black men being fed up with Joe Biden and the Democrats

Let’s be perfectly clear. I’m not new to this conversation. I’m true to it.

As much time as I spend talking with local, state and national elected leaders, stakeholders, grassroots organizers and party officials, I spend even more hosting and participating in events in barbershops and beauty salons, churches and community centers engaging everyday folks across America where I’m listening a whole lot more than talking.

I’ve even written a few articles here and there about the importance of the Black vote, particularly Black men.

But an article I read the other day didn’t remind me, as I’ve often argued, that Black voters are the most consequential voting bloc in America or that Black men are positioned to be the most critical swing vote in the 2024 election. Instead, it just further illustrated how quickly misinformation can spread in our community — and how damaging that misinformation can be.

As I wrote back in August, “It’s clear that voters of color, particularly Black men, are the number one target for misinformation, disinformation, and voter suppression and the experts tell us that it’s only going to get worse in 2024.”

Now, before we go any further, let me make it absolutely clear that I don’t pretend to speak for all Black men, much less the entire Black community. That would be more than a little insulting. Furthermore, anyone who spends even a little time in the barbershop will tell you that there’s some real frustration out there and even more confusion. Yes, thanks to President Biden and the Inflation Reduction Act, prices are starting to go down. But let’s be honest, all you need to do is go to the grocery store, and you’ll see the affordability crisis. Prices are still high and people are struggling.

I get that. In fact, I can identify with it because I’m pretty frustrated myself. The fact is that when Democrats hold a small majority like we do now in the Senate, Republicans can still use archaic rules and the filibuster to block major legislation. That’s exactly what they did with the President’s “Build Back Better” plan and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and it’s pull-your-hair-out-by-the-roots frustrating.

Some folks are frustrated, some are angry, some are confused and some just aren’t feeling this election at all. I get that. But we can’t let that be an excuse to let this kind of misinformation seep into the ecosystem, our communities or the ballot box.

For example, the article argues that Black men are frustrated with President Biden and the Democrats because they have “failed to deliver on things like student loan debt relief, police reform and voting rights.”

The reality is that President Biden has delivered. He has signed more than two dozen executive actions to deliver  $146 billion in student debt relief for four million Americans. They must have forgotten how President Biden cut undergraduate loan payments in half and helped drop monthly payments for millions of borrowers down to $0. He must not know that earlier this month, President Biden laid out a new plan that will expand that student debt relief to more than 30 million Americans. 

Of course, none of this would be necessary if GOP officials hadn’t led the charge pushing the right-wing Supreme Court to block Biden’s plan to erase $400 billion in student debt, forgiving the debt of nearly all 40 million federal student loan borrowers.

Isn’t that delivering on student loan debt relief?


“But what about police reform?” I hear you asking. Well, despite what the article tells us, President Biden has delivered there, too. Let’s start with the fact that, in October 2022, President Biden announced that he was pardoning all federal offenses for simple marijuana possession and calling on governors in every state to do the same. He also started the process for broader decriminalization and rescheduling of marijuana under federal law. But that doesn’t matter in this article, does it?

How about when President Biden banned chokeholds and “no knock” warrants from federal law enforcement, does that count? What about signing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act to make lynching a federal crime for the first time in history or creating a national database to track law enforcement misconduct? Maybe President Biden should direct the Department of Justice to go after these brutal cops and departments in cities like Mount Vernon, Louisville, Phoenix and Minneapolis … but wait. President Biden did that, too.

And don’t get me started about voting rights because, in August 2021, less than a year after the election, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the most comprehensive measure to strengthen voting rights since 1965. Every single House Republican voted against it, and, once in the Senate, the GOP finally killed it with the same archaic procedural tactic the segregationists had used back in the ’50s and ’60s. Later that month, Democrats tried again repackaging the initiative as the Freedom to Vote Act but Republican senators pulled the same old trick again.

But, importantly, President Biden and the Democrats are still fighting with the latest version stuck in committee because the Republican-controlled House won’t even let it come to the floor for a vote.

Still, the article would have us believe that President Biden and Democrats haven’t made voting rights a priority. That’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous because it rewards Republicans, the ones fighting against voting rights. Well, we ain’t buying it.

The article criticizes for not delivering economically. But while the writer admits that, under President Biden, Black unemployment is at a record low, he ignores that Black entrepreneurship is at a record high with new Black-owned small businesses opening at the fastest rate in a generation. 

Who helped secure roughly $100 billion in federal contracts for small disadvantaged and Black-owned businesses? Biden. Who launched new efforts to aggressively combat housing discrimination and protect Black-owned home values knowing that, along with education, home values are the biggest factor in building Black wealth? Biden. Who passed the Inflation Reduction Act and fought to expand the child tax credit and cut child poverty in half? Biden.

Understand, these aren’t just numbers and statistics we’re talking about. These are people’s lives. These are families able to afford the mortgage payment because we’re fighting housing discrimination. This is the new restaurant in your neighborhood because it got a small business loan and the family is able to pay for child care because we expanded the child tax credit.

This isn’t a game.

The article wants us to believe that President Biden and the Democrats aren’t repairing infrastructure, fixing dilapidated school buildings or doing anything to invest in Black communities. So I guess President Biden investing $1.2 trillion to repair our infrastructure with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was just a figment of our imagination. I guess securing $130 billion to help our schools safely reopen, ensuring high-poverty school districts and schools are protected from funding cuts and investing $7 billion in our Historically Black Colleges and Universities doesn’t count. I guess $15 billion to replace lead water lines in poor communities doesn’t count.

More Black families have health insurance right now than at any point in history and we passed the first major gun safety law in nearly 30 years. Does that matter?

Remember what life was like in January 2021? Do you remember how bad things were at the height of the COVID pandemic? That was the America the Biden presidency inherited. Fast forward to today and you’d have to agree that, by any measure, the turnaround has been dramatic. We’ve made real progress over the past three years and when you compare it to what we lived through from the four years before, it’s been remarkable.

A lot has been done and, of course, we still have plenty of work left to do. But let’s start there.

And I understand that there are some folks who like to pull out the “What has Biden done for us” talking point on the radio or their podcast. Frankly, some of those folks are people I listen to and people I like. But just because a personality said it on a show you like doesn’t make it true.

They care about ratings. We care about the future of this county and our community’s well-being.

See, this election really is a true binary choice and that choice carries with it some truly high stakes. As I’ve said on many occasions, Black folks are casting a survival vote and Black men could be the most consequential voting bloc in this election and for elections to come.

Talk shows talk. It’s what they do whether it’s on the television, the radio or the podcast. They have the right to talk and, for the most part, it’s entertaining as hell.

But to pretend it’s news is intellectually dishonest at best and, at worst, downright dangerous.

Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.

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