Joe Biden and the Black Press
Four years ago, the Black Press helped deliver Biden’s message and his eventual victory, a lesson the president appears to have forgotten this time around.
Back in early 2020, his campaign struggling, then-candidate Joe Biden was considering packing up and calling it quits. Then he met with representatives of the Black Press and the rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to today and, as NNPA’s Stacy Brown writes, Biden seems to have forgotten what brought him “to the dance.”
“Despite numerous policies benefiting African Americans, his messaging remains non-existent,” says Brown, noting that with the 2024 election looming, polls show support for Biden in Black and brown communities slipping.
Four years ago Biden was unequivocal: the Black vote would determine the election, he said in an interview with NNPA CEO Benjamin Chavis, adding, “The Black Press is the heart and soul as to why I got involved.”
A series of commitments addressing longstanding concerns in the Black community — from investments in affordable housing to the dismantling of redlining and other forms of housing discrimination — and follow-up coverage running across the more than 230 Black owned news outlets in the country helped turn out the Black vote in 2020, handing Biden the White House.
Now, with a Biden-Trump redux in the offing, Biden’s campaign appears to have forgotten its own recent history. “Biden’s campaign boasted a 16-week, $25 million ad buy targeting Black voters, yet the Black Press, with its unmatched influence and historical significance, is conspicuously absent,” Brown points out, noting there is a “massive difference between Black-targeted and Black-owned.”
And while $25 million is just a fraction of the $608 million the Biden campaign spent in the months leading up to November 2020 and the tens of millions more anticipated this election cycle, reporting suggests these early advertising efforts point to growing jitters over the president’s low approval ratings. And it isn’t just the Black vote.
Polls show Biden slipping across several communities. In the swing state of Michigan, where Arab Americans play a decisive role in election outcomes, anger over Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict is prompting many to stay away from the polls come ’24. Support among Asian Americans has also dipped, according to one recent survey. And a recent friendly interview with Trump by Univision has many Democrats wondering if it will wither the Latino vote.
To be clear, antipathy for Biden does not translate directly to support for Trump. But with margins as tight as they are looking to be next year, Biden and his team can’t ill afford the apathy that appears to be taking hold across a range of what, to this point, have been reliable Democratic voting blocs.
Brown writes, “As the President gears up for a potential rematch against Trump, the question lingers: has Biden forgotten the rhythm that brought him to the dance, a rhythm inscribed in the ink of the Black Press?”