A few weeks ago Joe Biden’s presidential bid seemed to be a pipe dream as his campaign collapsed in slow motion. He had failed in Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire. Then all of a sudden he won the South Carolina primary and started picking up support, followed by endorsements from Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg.
Biden to Black Voters in SC: ‘You are the Reason I’m Back, No One Else’
This new momentum was fueled by a loyal support base of black voters who came out to rally behind him in South Carolina at a time when Sanders seemed to be the definite candidate for the Democratic Party. Biden knew how important the black voters were in reviving his bid and he declared: “You are the reason I’m back, no one else.”
There are a number of reasons why many black voters are vehemently backing Biden. The most prominent one is his association with Barack Obama. Obama is still revered by African Americans as the first black American president. Therefore, Biden’s service under him as vice-president resonates well with black voters who form a key electoral base for the Democratic Party.
As Senator Bernie Sanders recently told MSNBC: “Well we are running against somebody who has touted his relationship with Barack Obama for eight years.”
A Majority of Black Voters Want Trump Out
The reason why they are turning out in large numbers is their dislike for Trump. One recent survey showed that 6 out of every 10 black voters see the removal of Trump as one of their primary goals. According to a poll conducted by CNBC, when black voters were asked who among the Democratic Party contenders was likely to defeat Trump, Biden led with 12 points.
This growing resentment towards Trump by black voters is being driven by his administration’s policies which many believe have incited racial prejudice. According to commentators there is a direct correlation between the racial prejudice and the hate speech coming from Trump and the right wing of the Republican Party.
Last year the FBI reported that: “Personal attacks motivated by bias or prejudice reached a 16 year high in 2018.”
Trump’s stance on immigration has not helped things either. He has “bypassed Congress and used his executive powers to rewrite immigration policy,” said the American Friend Service Committee AFSC, a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice. The organization observes that these policies support a white nationalist agenda by keeping more people out, deporting people, and creating an atmosphere of nativism and fear that affects everybody.
Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Obamacare (ACA)
Blacks have even been more exasperated by Trump’s attempts to repeal Obamacare. On the same day he was sworn into office as president, he signed an executive order directing government officials to “waive, defer, grant exemption from, or delay” implementing parts of the Affordable Care Act which had been introduced by Obama. However, the efforts to repeal the Act were thwarted in the Senate when the late Senator John McCain voted no.
The reason why the Act is so important to African Americans is because it has made it easier for them to access healthcare. According to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and reforms to the individual insurance market including subsidized coverage for people with incomes up to four times the poverty line.”
The report further stated that: “Expanding health coverage among African Americans is critical to addressing disparities in health outcomes for this population”.
During one of his campaigns Biden told his audience that “the expansion of community health centers was one of Obamacare’s crowning achievements.” His plan would be to expand on Obamacare by including a Medicare-like public option. “I’ll restore Obamacare and add a public option, a Medicare-like option, for those who want it. And those who can’t afford it would be enrolled.”
Many would have expected Sanders’ proposal of “Medicare for all” to be more appealing to blacks, but this is not the case. Many appear to be cautious of his plan of changing the whole system and are instead favoring Biden’s proposal of improving Obamacare. Their reasoning is that it is better to improve on what they already have.
It is because of these reasons that many black voters see Biden as a safe bet to beat Trump and someone who will act in their interest.