Clyburn on Biden losing steam with Black voters: ‘This is all about miscommunication, disinformation’

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) blamed President Biden’s struggles with Black voters on “miscommunication” and “disinformation,” fighting back against a perception that the president is losing a demographic that has long stood by Democrats.

Recent polling has shown that former President Trump could attract up to a fifth of Black voters in the November election, a significantly larger proportion than previous races.

“We have to be very careful because this is all about miscommunication, disinformation, and that’s what causes me great pause,” Clyburn said Wednesday in an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell.

“I know the power of the media, and the power of the media, repeating these things rather than reporting what’s actually happening,” he continued, “that is what’s causing the problem.”

The veteran congressman and staunch Biden surrogate said the issue isn’t with the president, but with how people are feeling and their perception of the race.

“People feel depressed. And if you depress enough people, you can suppress their votes,” he continued. “And that’s why I’m running around the country.”

“I’m going to Georgia this weekend to spend two days down there, reminding people of what this man did for the four years that he was in office,” Clyburn added.

Both Biden and Trump have ramped up their efforts to reach out to Black voters, especially Black men, in the 2024 election cycle. Trump has leaned on attempts to connect with voters, while Biden’s campaign has generally focused on policy accomplishments.

“I don’t know your pathway to victory without Black men,” Mondale Robinson, founder of the Black Male Voter Project, told The Hill this week.

The Biden campaign has pushed back on the idea that Trump could be making gains among Black voters. Campaign co-Chair Mitch Landrieu said this week that there’s “no universe” where Trump wins 21 percent of Black voters, as a recent CNN poll suggested.

Trump received about 12 percent of the Black vote in the 2020 election.

At a campaign event last month, Biden said Trump is merely “pandering” to attract Black voters, while he, the incumbent, has delivered.

“I’ve shown you who I am, and Trump has shown you who he is, and today Donald Trump is pandering and peddling lies and stereotypes for your vote so he can win for himself, not for you,” Biden said. “Well, Donald Trump, I have a message for you: not in our house, and not on our watch.”

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has held up the polls as proof of work paying off.

“President Trump is showing up in Black communities and listening to voters where they live,” Janiyah Thomas, the Trump campaign’s director of Black media, told The Hill in a statement this week.

“Polls, and every other measure of public support, reflect that historic numbers of voters in the Black community are abandoning Biden and moving towards President Trump.”

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