Joe Biden has always fashioned himself as a leader who defends people of color every chance he gets, and they reciprocate this support.
In the 2020 Democratic primary for president, it was African-Americans who vaulted him to victory in South Carolina. This key win led to his eventual nomination and later the presidency.
Biden has always been appreciative of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans who he believes give him continued rock-solid backing.
They also provide a firewall to keep his overall approval at a high level and make sure Republicans do not win national races.
But now, recent polling is displaying a weakness in Black and Hispanic enthusiasm for Biden’s re-election hopes. This should be alarming for the president’s campaign team as they look at his chances to beat the GOP in 2024.
Minority Support Not as Strong for the President
In March and April of 2021, Biden’s support among Hispanics was around 65 percent approval. By May of this year that had dropped down into the low 40s in a polling average conducted by aggregator FiveThirtyEight.
In the same average, African-Americans supported Biden at a rate of 82 percent after his inauguration in 2021. That approval dipped to 59 percent last summer and has recovered to around 70 percent this spring. That is still lower than his high water mark he displayed in early 2021.
This downturn was evident in the 2022 midterm elections that saw support and enthusiasm among African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans drop. There were fewer minorities going to the polls and voting Democrat.
Trump Did Better Than Expected with Minorities in 2020
In 2020, more Blacks and Latinos supported President Donald Trump. He gained six points with African-American men and five points with Hispanic women compared to 2016.
Trump also performed well in the last presidential election cycle with Latinos living in southern Texas near the border – a region that has voted Democrat for generations.
Biden Not Delivering on Campaign Promises
In 2020, Biden had many promises for people of color. He was going to reform police, fix immigration, and improve voting rights. This didn’t happen to the extent of what he proposed during the campaign. And now with Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives, public policies around these issues are not expected to change.
These legislative shortcomings have disappointed minorities, especially African-Americans. “A recent Ipsos/Washington Post poll found that only 34 percent of Black Americans say that Biden’s policies have helped Black people, while 14 percent say they’ve hurt Black people and nearly half [49 percent] say they haven’t made a difference,” FiveThirtyEight explained.
Hispanics do not seem to be as excited about Biden running again as they were in 2020. Only 37 percent of this group is supportive of the Biden re-election campaign, according to a poll conducted by YouGuv and The Economist. Some members of this minority group may be supporting Democrat presidential hopefuls Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or Marianne Williamson. They could also be considering a Republican for president, or they may stay home and not vote.
Minorities are a key part of Democrats’ coalition of coastal elites, academia, single women, Hollywood, and virtue-signaling corporations. Sometimes Democrats can be seen as taking Blacks and Hispanics for granted unless it is time to give campaign speeches.
Watch Out for Republicans Entering the Picture
Biden thus has work to do keep people of color energized and get them to the polling places.
If Trump or whoever the Republican nominee is can peel off minority voters to support the GOP, it could be disastrous for Biden and down-ballot Democrats.
African-American women will likely rally toward Biden in the end, but the Republicans may do better with Black men.
One reason that people of color could vote Republican is the state of the economy. On one hand, unemployment is historically low, but inflation has hurt earnings and purchasing power. Minorities may believe that reaching the American dream of home ownership and abundant savings in the bank is not possible. They are suffering from stagnant wages and credit card debt. Republicans could run on defeating inflation and improving the standard of living for people of color.
Overall, the Biden campaign must look at these numbers and figure out a way to guarantee support from minorities heading into 2024. Messaging must consider their concerns and apologies are likely in order to amend for policies that the Democrats have not succeeded in delivering.
Liberals need to take back the House and remain the in the majority in the Senate to affect these changes, not to mention holding on to the White House. This means keeping and improving support from minorities since Republicans are finding a way to make their policies more attractive.
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Author Expertise and Experience
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.