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Why Are Black Voters Skeptical About Supporting Joe Biden?

As part of his 2024 reelection campaign, President Joe Biden wants to continue to defend democracy and personal freedoms. But many Black voters, who recognize the limitations of a divided capital, are more skeptical about Biden’s efforts to maximize what he has accomplished in a timely manner.

“Black voters like Joe Biden. They like him, but they are still frustrated,” said Terrance Woodbury, the founding partner and CEO of HIT Strategies, per The Hill. “Their frustration is as much about the state of politics as it is about Joe Biden’s ability to fix the state of politics.”

Throughout his term, Biden has “touted major improvements for the Black community,” including decreasing historic unemployment rates and investing nearly $7 billion in resources to support historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). However, strategists say that Democrats will need to do more to appeal to Black voters by doing a better job at getting the word out.

“Among people of color, 45% now approve of Biden’s overall performance, down from 54% in the spring. That decline includes a 6-point dip among Black adults and a 9-point decline among Hispanic adults,” a CNN poll revealed last year.

How long will it take to move the needle?

Biden signed into law the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act after more than 100 years of failed attempts. In May, he signed an executive order to improve police accountability and criminal justice practices.

However, Black voters remain disappointed as Democrats have implied advancements in voting rights protections, major police reform, and even potential reparations for slavery, but have yet to deliver concrete results.

What’s worse? The public’s perception of the economy is deeply negative—and it’s worsening.

“We have to be very clear about the barrier we’re trying to overcome,” Woodbury told The Hill. “The barrier here is not ‘how do we make them like Biden.’ The barrier here is ‘how do we convince them that government works?’” he said. “We do that by showing how we make their lives better.”

Biden signed an executive order to expand access to the right to vote in March 2021. But the voting rights bill named after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) was blocked in the Senate in November 2021 after it passed the then-Democratic House.

Dominik Whitehead, who serves as vice president of campaigns at the NAACP, argues that the historic numbers of Black unemployment is a huge problem that needs to be better communicated to the Black community.

“We have low unemployment numbers in history when it comes to Black folks having jobs in this country, but then the question is, ‘How are you messaging and framing that to Black folks in states and letting them know that?’” Whitehead said. “What are those jobs? In terms of equity, are those jobs closing…the wealth gap in this country?”

Moreover, there have been other promises. Black families and loan borrowers alike were very optimistic about the Biden-led effort on student loan forgiveness. This meant canceling large sums for Pell Grant recipients, but conservatives in the Senate and Supreme Court blocked what could directly impact many Black borrowers during the early stages of eligibility.

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