Joe Biden’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination was almost over as he headed to South Carolina in February 2020. He was fifth in New Hampshire, and fourth in Iowa. Biden encouraged skeptics not to judge until a state with a large number of Black voters, which is the most reliable Democratic constituency to weigh in.
Black voters voted, and the Democratic race was recast. Biden is now on his way to the White House.
Biden, now one year into his presidency is hoping to maintain support from Black voters. However, some loyalists have been disillusioned by his inability to deliver on voting rights legislation. As he begins his second year, he faces many challenges but none are more important than retaining the support of his base.
In a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research recently, 6 out 10 Black Americans said that they approve of Biden. This is down from 9 in 10, who said the same in polls taken during the first six months of Biden’s presidency.
Dennis Brothers, a supporter of Biden “from day one,” stated that he feels things are going “pretty good”, but he is disappointed by Biden’s failure to honor a campaign promise not to delay canceling some student debt.
Brothers stated that the administration should be more transparent in the coming three years about its goals, especially on issues relevant to Black voters, such as a policing reform.
Margaret Sumpter (a Hopkins 64-year-old rural community advocate) blamed the stagnation in voting rights on congressional gridlock and not inaction by Biden. She said that Biden was realizing that his long-standing senatorial successes didn’t always translate into the presidency.
Sumpter said that Sumpter could work harder with Republicans like Mitt Romney, and other people to help him get this done. Sumpter voted for Biden after supporting billionaire businessman Tom Steyer in South Carolina’s primary.
Travis Lincoln was present at Biden’s South Carolina rally and also served as a deejay for a subsequent event. However, he ultimately backed Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur. Lincoln, who is the head of a Columbia homeless veterans group, supported Biden in South Carolina’s first election but admitted that he was underwhelmed by Biden’s presidency.
Lincoln stated that he considered voting rights doomed because of the Republican opposition. He argued that Biden should have emphasized other areas where progress might have been possible. For example, extinguishing nonviolent drug-related offenses, an issue Biden campaigned on but has not taken any executive action on.
Ra Shad Frazier–Gaines founded Amplify Action. This non-profit focuses on Black political engagement. He voted in the South Carolina primary for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Frazier-Gaines believes that Biden has spoken far more than he delivered.
Frazier-Gaines stated that “Black people are why Joe Biden is president” and that he has never shown them a ‘thanks’ through policy. His administration has provided many opportunities for talented Black people to serve in various positions. While all of this is adorable, it doesn’t do anything to feed Black families across America.
Yet, Biden still has the support of Rep. Jim Clyburn. He is the third-ranking Democrat at the U.S. House, and a strong figure in South Carolina, particularly among Black voters. Clyburn has criticized the Sens, rather than Biden for voting rights. Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Bre Maxwell, a member of the Democratic National Committee, rejected the criticism that Biden was anything but authentic with the state’s Black voters.
Maxwell stated that he didn’t waste any time if it was just lip service. “I believe he is very sincere, and I believe he wants everyone to be happy.”
The veteran civil rights activist James Felder was satisfied that Biden, whom he supported during the primary and worked hard to get elected, is doing a great job overall. He blamed the president, but also “almost obstructionists” Sinema and Manchin for the vote rights failure.
Felder, 82, stated that “it’s really a setback to the party, as it’s also a setback in the country.” “Two votes and two people are holding back all the progress we could make at this stage.”
Sumpter says that Biden is doing well and has made some significant changes, including the enhanced child tax credit.