Joe Biden Seems to Be Counting on Black Folks to Save Him. He Shouldn’t Be.

Look; there’s nothing outwardly surprising about Joe Biden losing in Iowa and New Hampshire. This, my friends, is what Joe Biden does in presidential elections. He looks like a strong, rock solid candidate, people hype him up a bunch, and then the voting starts and everyone seems shocked that the gaffe machine with the spotty track record gets beaten up by his more legit competition. Joe Biden is like Lex Luger in mid-90s WWF; no matter how hard you push him, he’s just not gonna have the connection with people that you want him to have. (Props if you get it, if you don’t, screw it, it’s my article, I write what I want.)

The primary is far from over. It’s still possible that Biden can turn around and do what no other candidate has done in presidential history. But honestly? Joe Biden being primed as the frontrunner only to repeatedly get humiliated on a national stage should’ve been way more expected than it was, and if the trend continues, Biden’s gonna have to drop out of the race way sooner than anyone planned for him to.

There is an important caveat here, naturally; Iowa and New Hampshire are two of the most lily-white states in the union. South Carolina represents the first time the Democratic Party’s base — black people (and black women in particular) — will make their voices heard. While Joe Biden’s poll numbers have faltered and been uneven since he entered the race (at least more so than any alleged front-runner’s poll numbers should falter), one thing he that has never been in doubt is Biden polling well with African-Americans.

And so I understand Biden and his supporters insisting that the first step in his comeback is going to be in South Carolina. Biden bailed on New Hampshire to show up in South Carolina. “Up until now, we haven’t heard from the most committed constituency in the Democratic party, the African-American community, and the fastest-growing segment of society, the Latino community,” Biden said at an event after coming in an embarrassing fifth place in New Hampshire.

“It ain’t over,” he proclaimed.

Well…it ain’t over tell it’s over. And I feel like Biden is overstating his position a bit.

Biden’s goodwill with African-Americans only goes so far. I’ll put it like this; Biden may enjoy overwhelming support with African-Americans, but it’s mostly because 1.) black folks have heard of him more than other candidates, and 2.) he hadn’t lost yet. And if there’s one thing black folks are not about to do, it’s nominate a guy they think is going to beat Trump.

More so than any other issue, what black voters seem to want is someone they can put in front of Trump who they think can win support from white voters. That is the fear that has crept into the minds of African-American voters. “Who can we put out there that won’t completely show their ass in front of white Americans so they get their shit together and vote for us all not to die?”.

When Biden looked like the great unifier that everyone could vote for because of his attachment to Barack Obama (who, for the record, still hasn’t endorsed his former vice president), Biden looked untouchable.

With Biden getting straight up smoked in two of the whitest states in the entire country? Uhhhh…not so much, fam.

Black folks want winners. They want people who want to win. And after getting rocked in a primary and a caucus, Biden no longer looks like the most viable candidate.

Biden’s “firewall” is also getting eaten away at by Mike Bloomberg, who has absolutely blasted South Carolina with ads and appearances. (My mother lives in South Carolina and has been to a number of campaign events for numerous candidates, including Bloomberg. Her impression? “Meh”. My mom knows best). And as of February 2nd, Biden’s lead in South Carolina was down to five points between him and second place, which is Bernie Sanders.

Sanders hasn’t always made the best in-roads to the African-American community, but again, this election to black folks isn’t necessarily about issues affecting us; it’s about beating Trump. And if black people can throw their support behind the guy that white Bernie Bros screamed at them about on Twitter, maybe that will convince more white people to vote for them. On top of that, Sanders has kinda-sorta always been handled with kid gloves by Republican media. I mean, sure, he’s a dirty socialist who wants to destroy America, but they also dig him because he gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money. Maybe it’s not the guy who is associated with the President they hate that appeals to white voters; maybe it’s the guy who gave a legitimate establishment candidate a run for their money.

I could be totally wrong. Biden could kick ass in South Carolina, reset the narrative, and officially start marching towards the nomination (though most of the polling suggest he’s in a lot of trouble in a lot of states). A Biden presidency is still a thing that can realistically happen. It’s a thing that probably will still happen!

But Biden is clearly counting on black people to save him. To paraphrase the great Riley Freeman of The Boondocks, game recognizes game, and Joe Biden is lookin’ unfamiliar. If Joe can’t entice black voters in South Carolina to vote for him, it’s hard to imagine him going anywhere else and flipping the page. The more Biden loses, the more likely it is that black and brown people will find other options.

I have a theory that white people don’t understand just how good Barack Obama had to be to get black people to vote for him. Obama didn’t just have to overcome the biases of white Americans, but African-Americans who legitimately thought the only time we’d see a black President is in movies. The only reason Daryl is in Threat Level Midnight is because he thought his daughter would never see a black President! Obama had to prove first and foremost that he could get white people to vote for him, and he did that first and foremost in Iowa.

(There is also plenty of evidence that shows my thinking on this is straight up bullshit, but it also points out that Biden’s support with African-Americans is about half that of what Hillary Clinton’s was in 2016 and has shrunk to less than ten percent in South Carolina according to a recent poll released by Quinnipiac after the Iowa and New Hampshire primary.)

So yes; it’s possible that South Carolina is Joe Biden’s launching pad, and I am but a humble idiot whose opinions are based on little more than gut feel and anecdotal bullshittery.

Still though; Biden is counting on black people to propel him to the presidency. If I were him, I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

Then again, if I were him, I wouldn’t have run at all and enjoyed my retirement, being known as America’s cool Uncle Joe instead of being on the campaign trail.

About KC Complains A Lot 135 Articles
KC Complains A Lot is another refugee from Deadspin. He enjoys writing and not caving to pressure from herbs.


  1. *schadenfreude intensifies*

    This is gonna be good. Creepy Joe has rode those coattails too damned long.

    The only thing damping my enthusiasm at his ass getting handed to him is the rise of Bloom in SC.

  2. Black folks can count – 2/3 of the registered voters in the U.S. self identify as “White.” Black voters will support whichever Dem candidate it looks like White folks will vote for, especially since none of the candidates have a great track record on Black issues. If/when the Biden ship goes down, we aren’t going down with it.

  3. I’ve said it over in the Kinjaverse, and I’ll say it here,

    I LOVED the Bromance between Uncle Joe & Barack just as much as any gal, and I ADORED the friendship of Michelle & Dr. Jill (hell, Warren, Castro, Harris Michelle, & Dr Jill–in whichever administration/cabinet positions each of them individually choose to take–would would honestly be *my* dream ticket this go-round!😉).

    But Joe has NEVER been a good campaigner, especially not on his own.

    And he honest-to-God doesn’t seem to be able to wrap his brain around the fact that there’s been tectonic shifting to the foundations of American Politics sinehis last run.

    His *chance* for a legit POTUS run, and the one I honestly felt he’dve won, was 2016.

    He had the love of lots of folks, and would’ve had cushion from the gaffes–due to the fact that folks could have chalked them up to Biden’s grief over Beau’s death. There was still the deep glow of his friendship with Barack, AND the senate still had a tiny gloss of the idea that bipartisanship *might* still be possible.

    All that shit is long GONE now, and Uncle Joe really hasn’t gronked the concept yet.

    And too many of us see & know it.

    Dude may be great, and a good friend of our favorite First Family, but he’s out of touch for what we as a country NEED right now, and *that* is why he’s sinking.

    We need someone who can see a path *ahead* or at least who has an *idea* of what could be ahead. Not someone who can’t see that the old systems are irrevocably broken–mostly on purpose–by bad actors who find that brokenness significantly more profitable than any benefits which would be gained by fixes.

  4. I was going to reference that Quinnipiac poll when I saw the title of your article but you’re way ahead of me. Bloomberg is chipping away at Biden’s standing among African-American voters. And the more Biden stumbles, the worse it’s going to get. I linked to this in another post, but the gist is that Democrats want to see their candidates going after Trump, not slap-fighting with each other, and that’s why Bloomberg is gaining ground. He’s started taking the fight to Trump:

    I don’t want a Bloomberg presidency, but he’s using Trump’s own playbook against him, and he’s got an utterly inexhaustible supply of money, unlike the king of bankruptcy. Bloomberg could pull this thing off.

    • A buddy and I were just talking about how much money he’s spending and not 5 minutes later there were about 5 sponsored posts on meme pages on IG. Not a huge fan of him (admittedly I don’t know a ton and am not crazy about the fact that he’s basically circumventing the normal process) but he’s getting publicity and he has more money than god. trump only needed 1 of the 2 to win last time around.

  5. I hope you’re right. Biden’s support in the African-American community stumps me, but I tend to look at a candidate’s voting record. Not at his campaign ads.

  6. Also a subplot here that keeps getting erased: Biden was basically polling at neck and neck with Bernie in Iowa in the most recent polls leading up to the caucus. Not only did he underperform, he WAY underperformed there.

    Re: Bloomberg


    • They simply don’t know him and they’re not going to do the research. He’s positioning himself as the anti-Trump, and that’s a pretty good brand to adopt right now, since Trump is down to his hard-core base at this point. But based on Bloomberg’s actions, he’s a lot more like Trump than I’m comfortable with:

      People forget he was a Republican. so they don’t realize this is sheer opportunism on his part. And, ultimately, if it’s a choice between him and Trump, he’s still the better choice, simply because Trump is so goddamn awful. And Bloomberg is counting on that.

    • I don’t have much more insight into Bloomberg’s popularity than you do other than white people liking success stories/fellow rich people.

      But something that I’ve noticed in *my* banner ads is Bloomberg advertising $15/minimum wage, ‘healthcare,” and other key words that Bernie has been using for years. It’s all a smokescreen, though, because Bloomberg doesn’t actually believe in any of that. Dig slightly deeper and his policy positions are no different than Biden/Buttigieg incrementalism.

  7. I’m a certified White, so take this as you will. Black people don’t owe any white people, anything, at any point and at any time.

    Like in 2016, a lot of Bernie’s lack of success has to do with name recognition. It also has to do with the fact that he thinks racism, like many things, could be solved with income equality. Which, bruh. No.

    Still, I feel like his campaign really should be pushing the fact that he’s been in the struggle with black people since he was a college student. Unlike Joe Biden’s CornPop stories, or Warren’s cheekbones, there is photo and video evidence of Bernie fighting for the rights of black people before it was politically expedient. I understand that publishing the images, blowing up his acts as a student as something to gloat over, may be uncouth. But it has always highlighted to me that Bernie has a moral center that hasn’t swayed much in his very long life, for better or worse.

    • The cynical part of me thinks they are trying to keep that part of his image quiet to court the Trump voters who are anti “identity politics.” I hope I’m wrong about that.

      • There are a lot of things Bernie’s campaign has managed to keep quiet up until now. Hillary was well on her way to winning, but there was a release of an interview he did where he was complimenting something about Communist Russia, there was an article about how we was (essentially) a dead beat dad when one of his kids was growing up, and on the tail end there was something about Mrs.Sanders maybe doing a little grifting.

        The laundry will be aired out. Trump and team are already crafting narratives around Bernie being a full blown Commie.

        We’ve gone over, ad nauseam, about the degree to which Bernie Bros are a thing, and SNL had a joke this weekend about Bernie being “the most popular candidate on 4chan” which I feel was tone deaf. Yet, Bernie is trying to bring people on the right into the fold and this is either admirable, or dangerous. It will take 0% effort for them to turn on Sanders and put the majority of his supporters in danger. Bernie, in old socialist fashion, might feel the ends will justify the means if he can hold a few right wingers in thrall to accomplish his larger goals. But I think he’s setting up an expectation he can’t meet and thus undermining his own campaign when he doesn’t consistently, and clearly, disavow his trolls and hangers on.

        • “But I think he’s setting up an expectation he can’t meet and thus undermining his own campaign when he doesn’t consistently, and clearly, disavow his trolls and hangers on.”

          Honestly, this *was* an issue in 2016, too, when he didn’t disavow the Bernie Bros who set out to tank Hillary (not that they did *that* much, what with all Trumpco’s Russian-allied help). That was one of the reasons why I lost my support of him that time, and then it just got lower as news of his lack of action when the sexual harassment/ predation of women within the campaign started to come out.

          I’ll 100% vote for the guy, if he’s the nominee.

          But he undermined himself in my *own* personal opinion, back during the 2016 campaign, when he showed that he either *didn’t get it* or whether it was a matter of not caring that he *got it*.

          And he DEFINITELY doesn’t understand that centuries of systemic racism aren’t going to be fixed by simply evening the economic playing field (as IF that is even going to be a definite possibility with the American Business & Oligarchic systems we have right now–too many in Congress are too beholden to that $$$).

  8. Biden really missed his window imo, he should have took Hillary on. ANYWAY. Weird how Obama hasn’t endorsed him. I guess they weren’t as tight as their boy detective fanfiction implied. Also, Bernie looks like he has the Latino demo handily.

    • Especially since Obama is actively campaigning for “any one but Bernie”. Like, wouldn’t your best bet be propping up your number 2? Who’s running?

      Makes one think that “bromance” wasn’t so deep after all…

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