The difference between a Biden voter and a Biden supporter, and why both matter for the 2024 election

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

I am not going to sugarcoat it, I am a bit stressed about the Nov. 5 election. I am worried about the amount of misinformation and disinformation pouring into Black communities from a myriad of outlets and individuals. I am worried about the lack of enthusiasm folks have toward the current president. And I am concerned that far too many people are not connecting the dots and thinking about how much worse this country can get if Donald Trump is reelected.

I was recently chatting with a colleague who stated, “I am a Biden voter, not a Biden supporter,” and I realized her sentiment summed up the feelings of a portion of the Black electorate. They may disagree with the current president’s interventions abroad and money spent on international relations when far too many Black communities are in real need of infrastructure spending on everything from roads to schools to housing. President Biden’s hawkish interventionist policies echo every U.S. president, but somehow, Biden’s policies abroad and current money spent in Ukraine and Israel have been an Achille’s heel for the current president in ways not seen imposed on other U.S. presidents by Black voters.

As some Black voters express disappointment with the speed of change under the leadership of President Biden, I implore them to play out the scenario just a few months down the line beyond Nov. 5. Some voters have expressed the desire to abstain, to which I say, that is antithetical to helping Black communities get the resources they need. By removing oneself from the dominant political process, several battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia could become Republican gains, not just in the presidential contest, but in races down the ballot for statewide offices across the state.

For those who think their vote doesn’t matter and “both parties are the same” — one of the laziest but effective tropes of misinformation — just look to Louisiana and the laws their Republican governor has signed into law. New laws ranging from eliminating parole, being able to carry a concealed gun without a permit or expanding death row execution methods, will disproportionately affect the lives of Black Louisianans for the worse. In Florida, the governor has signed legislation on issues from abortion to LGBTQ+ rights to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. He has also made it easier for Floridians to carry concealed weapons and expanded death row parameters, again, all issues that will adversely affect Black Americans and marginalized groups. 

Party labels do matter and voting for a particular party’s policies will have an immeasurable effect on your daily life. Placing Biden in a no-win purity test is counterproductive. It is Biden’s opponent who plans to expel “migrants” on day one, attempt (another) implementation of a Muslim ban and make it harder for women to have autonomy over their own bodies, all policies that will directly affect Black families. 


The threats and dangers are very real under a second term of Donald Trump. He is galvanizing his white Christian nationalist supporters at every rally and campaign stop and convincing them that it is time for them, the “true Americans,” to take back their country and restore the pure-blooded Americans (whatever that means) to their rightful place at the head of the table. The former president tends to consistently say the quiet part loud, often in the form of a dog bark, not even a whistle. He has said he will prosecute his enemies and dissenters. Anyone who was paying attention to his first term knows he will sell this country for parts to the highest foreign bidders. He will (continue) to enrich himself, his family members and his faithful executors of his policies. The money will not trickle down. Authoritarianism awaits us all under a second Trump presidency.

If Black Americans think they can trust a man who still won’t apologize for denigrating the formerly known Central Park Five, who invoked the death of George Floyd when musing about the economy, who doesn’t trust Black people to “count his money,” who believes Black people are inherently lazy, who thinks Black people will like him because he has a mug shot and sells gold sneakers, then they need to seriously sit down and do a side by side comparison of the two presidential contenders. Those are Trump’s stated beliefs, and his policies are just as dangerous and insulting. 

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly takes credit for providing aid to small businesses, veterans, and marginalized groups, even when many of those policies were signed into law by his successor. Grifters are always gonna grift. 

If you don’t want to be a Biden supporter and wear the T-shirt and put the lawn signs in your yard, that’s your prerogative. However, it is imperative that Black people are Biden voters. Voting for Biden is the only way to ensure this country does not devolve into an economic spiral where a second term of a Trump presidency strips the nation of functioning agencies that employ millions of African-American civil servants and eradicates the social safety that provides social services for millions of Black Americans and marginalized groups.

This election is truly about the future existence of this nation. We must make sure our family and friends and community members are registered, and have a voting plan and a voting contingency plan. The potential for voter suppression and intimidation tactics will be rampant. Why? Because the former president has emboldened his supporters to protect their country and their vote — by whatever means they see fit. If you listen to the rhetoric of a desperate man facing 91 counts across several states and is in arrears for hundreds of millions of dollars, the presidency is a much-needed life raft for Trump and his hope of circumventing the law. I am not being alarmist when I say Jan. 6 was a practice run for many Trump supporters. He is a cult, a religion, a messiah, a charlatan, and a snake oil salesman rolled into one. 

Once again, President Biden and Democrats are asking Black voters to turn out in droves to assist the party — and save democracy. Both parties have fallen short of addressing many of the very real concerns of Black people. Millions of Black people do feel like their lives are stuck in a downward spiral, regardless of voting rates. The idea that Black Americans feel they are trapped in a single-party system and taken for granted every four years is a real concern and must be dissected and dealt with, sooner than later. 

Biden did not cause this problem, but he can take active steps to address it head-on. Thus far, he has shown that he can listen and be persuaded to bend toward increased inclusion and equity for Black people. As with all groups seeking to advance their agendas, Black people must continue to put pressure on the Democratic Party to make clear their concerns and needs, just like other groups seeking to advance. Do not be bamboozled by misinformation encouraging Black people to stay home because “their votes don’t matter anyway.” That okey-doke strategy has been used for decades, and we must not fall for it now from Black celebrities or social media posts that attempt to suppress the Black vote. It is not hyperbole when folks say this is the most important election of our lifetime. The future of democracy and our nation are at stake. Do not sit on the sidelines. Do not be misinformed. Do not fall for tired tropes from ill-informed celebrities. Do not fail to have a plan. Be an active participant in your future. Do your research on the economic health and wealth of this nation and think about what this nation can become if we fail to take seriously the real threats that lie ahead.

Christina Greer Headshot

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University; author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream”; and co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and host of “The Blackest Questions” podcast at TheGrio. She is a 2023-24 Moynihan Public Scholars Fellow at CCNY. 

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In this op-ed, the author expresses concerns about the upcoming election and the impact of misinformation on Black communities. The author discusses the need for Black voters to support Joe Biden in order to prevent the country from further deteriorating under a second term of Donald Trump. They emphasize the importance of voting and debunk the idea that both parties are the same, pointing out the harmful policies implemented by Republican governors in states like Louisiana and Florida. The author cautions against staying home on Election Day and urges Black voters to actively participate in shaping the future of the country. They highlight the threats of authoritarianism under a second Trump presidency and stress the significance of Black voters in ensuring democracy is preserved. The author also calls for continued pressure on the Democratic Party to address the concerns and needs of Black Americans. Ultimately, the author emphasizes the importance of being informed, having a voting plan, and actively engaging in the political process to secure a better future for all.

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