Biden calls on Black Americans to stand with him in 2024 

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

President Joe Biden showed Monday that he is committed to improving the lives of Black Americans, delivering a fiery denunciation of white supremacy and highlighting his record of accomplishments in the fight for racial justice.

The president spoke at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a young white racist shot and killed nine Black people at a Bible study session in 2015. Biden said the mass murder was “propelled by not just gunpowder but by a poison — a poison that’s for too long haunted this nation. What is this poison? White supremacy.”

Biden criticized former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination, who falsely claims he was reelected in 2020. Trump incited his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, where they rioted to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory. Biden said Trump’s efforts to whitewash the truth about the election and Jan. 6 are similar to efforts to distort America’s ugly history of racism.

“The same movement that, throughout the mob at the United States Capitol, isn’t just trying to rewrite history of Jan. 6, they’re trying to determine to erase history and your future,” Biden said, “banning books; denying your right to vote and have it counted; destroying diversity, equality, inclusion all across America; harboring hate and replacing hope with anger and resentment and a dangerous view of America.”

Biden doesn’t just give eloquent speeches to win the support of Black voters like those in the audience at Mother Emanuel. He delivers for all Americans of every race and ethnicity with the eloquence of action. His record is extraordinary and because of that, supporting him is in the best interest of our nation.

Biden’s accomplishments include: rolling out free COVID-19 vaccines and treatments that saved lives and allowed schools and businesses to reopen (COVID strikes Black people more frequently than whites); reducing inflation; lowering unemployment to some of the lowest rates on record, including 5.2% for Black people in December; reducing health insurance and prescription drug costs; investing $7 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and working to preserve voting rights and reproductive rights in the face of harmful court rulings and Republican opposition.

Biden has also signed into law programs to fight climate change; invested about $400 billion in infrastructure projects; repaired relations with allies around the world that worsened under Trump; protected our national security by helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression; canceled $116 billion in college student loan debt; and invested billions of dollars in education and job training programs.

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In addition, Biden wisely selected Kamala Harris to be the first Black, Asian American and female vice president and appointed a record number of Black high-level federal officials. These include Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on America’s highest court and more Black federal judges than any president in American history. Biden has appointed 145 federal judges, including 44 who are Black. Trump appointed 153 federal judges, including just five Black people. 

Biden’s Black appointees include the heads of the Defense Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. mission to the United Nations, along with the director of the Office of Budget and Management and the White House press secretary and chairman of the military’s joint chiefs of staff.     

Unfortunately, Black support for Biden has fallen in some of the early opinion polls.  

USA Today reported this month that a poll it conducted with Suffolk University showed Biden getting support from just 63% of Black voters — down from 87% in the 2020 election. 

Trump had the support of 12% of Black voters in the USA Today poll — the same share he received in the 2020 election. But the share of Black votes going to third-party candidates skyrocketed from 1% four years ago to 20% today.

I don’t believe that 20% figure will hold. The vast majority of voters understand there is no chance that anyone but the Democratic or Republican presidential nominee will be elected in November. A vote for anyone else will be seen as a protest vote. It’s our right to vote, and Biden-Harris along with anyone else must seek out the support of every eligible citizen.

But this is what I know from my own experience in managing and working in American politics: If enough Black voters abandon Biden to vote for a third-party candidate, they have the potential to elect Trump or another Republican. That would be a tragedy because Trump or another Republican in the White House would turn back the clock on the advances the Biden-Harris administration has made.

Trump is an unstable, incompetent, dishonest, narcissistic, authoritarian facing trial and possible prison sentences on 91 serious criminal charges. 

Trump absurdly said in 2019 that “I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.” But he has reportedly called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” where Black people live in huts. He lied when he claimed for years that President Barack Obama was born in Africa and therefore not qualified to be president. 

Trump has encouraged police brutality against racial justice protesters and recently said police should shoot suspected shoplifters leaving stores (perhaps assuming that almost all shoplifters are Black). At the same time, he claims that he should be immune from prosecution for any federal or state crimes he may have committed as president.

And recently, Trump said the Civil War could have been averted through negotiations. Sure, it could have if only President Abraham Lincoln had agreed to support a constitutional amendment saying Black people could be enslaved in every state and territory for eternity. What a missed opportunity!

I have no illusions that Biden or anyone else can solve every problem facing our nation, but Biden has accomplished a great deal already and recognizes the existence of problems facing Black Americans, like systemic racism.

Trump and his fellow Republican presidential candidates deny systemic racism exists. They denounce diversity, equity and inclusion programs as racism against white people. And they say they want to cut taxes for the rich and cut funding for programs to help Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder, many of whom are Black. Further, they will continue to try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and other governmental programs that seek to lift people out of poverty or financial ruin.

The audience at Mother Emanuel Church got it right when they chanted “Four more years” and cheered as Biden spoke. Now, Biden must lay out his vision so more voters can rally to the cause of protecting our freedoms and preserving our democracy.

Donna Brazile is a veteran political strategist, Senior Advisor at Purple Strategies, New York Times bestselling author, Chair of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and sought-after Emmy- and Peabody-award-winning media contributor to such outlets as ABC News, USA Today and TheGrio. She previously served as interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee and of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. Donna was the first Black American to serve as the manager of a major-party presidential campaign, running the campaign of Vice President Al Gore in 2000. She serves as an adjunct professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department at Georgetown University and served as the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University and as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. She has lectured at nearly 250 colleges and universities on diversity, equity and inclusion; women in leadership; and restoring civility in American politics.

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President Joe Biden gave a speech at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, denouncing white supremacy and highlighting his accomplishments in fighting for racial justice. He criticized former President Donald Trump and emphasized the threat of erasing history and banning books.

The author cites Biden’s accomplishments, including rolling out free COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, addressing unemployment rates, investing in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and appointing a record number of Black high-level federal officials. The article also addresses the decline in Black support for Biden in recent polls, warning of the potential consequences of voting for a third-party candidate. The author argues that electing Trump or another Republican would undo the progress made by the Biden-Harris administration.

The author also criticizes Trump’s behavior and comments, highlighting his denial of systemic racism and his policies that negatively impact Black Americans. The article urges voters to support Biden in order to preserve freedom and democracy, emphasizing the need for Biden to lay out his vision to gain more support. Finally, the author provides a brief biography and accomplishments of Donna Brazile, the author of the op-ed.

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