Last week I wrote about some concern among Democrats that Joe Biden wasn’t doing quite as well with black voters, in particular black male voters. Since then the concern has only grown. Yesterday Allahpundit covered some signs of concern in the Biden camp that Black and Latino voters were not turning out for him the way they did for Hillary in 2016. Today the NY Times published a piece covering both campaigns’ efforts to compete for black voters in the final days.
Four years after an election that came down to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the campaigns of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and President Trump are waging an intense and surprising battle in those states for votes among a crucial demographic: Black men.
The outreach is vital for Democrats, who lost the three industrial states in 2016 partly because of diminished support from Black voters. They worry that not enough Black men will cast ballots — or that Mr. Trump might make enough marginal gains to help in close races.
The Biden campaign is now heavily focused on getting Black men to turn out to vote: Mr. Biden and former President Barack Obama will campaign together for the first time this year on Saturday in Detroit and Flint, Mich. Mr. Biden is also running a series of ads featuring young Black men from Flint, tying local issues to the election. One walks through the history of Black voter suppression; another starts with Mr. Biden saying “Black Lives Matter, period.”…
The Trump strategy has aimed to erode Mr. Biden’s support with a negative campaign. One television ad replays Mr. Biden’s controversial “you ain’t Black” comment, in which he questioned how Black Americans could support Mr. Trump, and reprises his role in the 1994 crime bill. A set of 40 digital ads claiming “Joe Biden Insulted Millions of Black Americans” has been running across the country for the past week.
It’s far from certain how all of this will turn out. Having Biden campaign with Obama in Michigan and Pennsylvania is one way to try to convince black voters to show some enthusiasm for Democrats. But there are still enough undecided voters that this could go either way.
Mr. Biden held a 78-11 percentage point lead among Black men in a recent national poll from The New York Times and Siena College, a comparatively weak number for a Democratic nominee whose ticket includes the first Black woman selected as vice president. (Many undecided Black voters are widely expected to vote Democratic, though a number could well stay home.)
Mr. Trump won roughly 13 percent of Black male voters in 2016, according to exit polls; some Trump advisers are aiming to get closer to 20 percent next week.
Twenty percent would be a shockingly good outcome for President Trump but even he splits the 11% of undecided voters with Biden that could put him at 16 percent. The Times did speak to a few black voters who are voting Trump. Marco Bisbee who attended a Trump rally in Michigan told the Times, “We’ve been voting for Democrats for 50 and 60 years and no progress.” Hakim Rahman from Philadelphia said, “Just seeing Joe Biden saying ‘you ain’t Black,’ it’s exposing that the Democrats feel entitled to the Black vote.”
It’s a given that Biden will receive the overwhelming majority of the black vote, but the Democrats’ efforts to compete for those votes in the final days of the election is a sure sign that they are nervous about it.