Vice President Kamala Harris attempted to tamp down concerns President Joe Biden’s campaign is struggling to win Black voters, a key constituency behind his 2020 election win.
“We’ve done really good work. Our challenge will be to let people know who brung it to them,” Harris said in an interview with ABC News.
Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, a key South Carolina ally of the president, told CNN he was “very concerned” about Biden’s standing with Black voters, acknowledging in an interview that the Biden campaign has not “been able to break through that MAGA wall in order to get to people exactly what this president has done.”
Black voters have long been a crucial bloc throughout the president’s political career, turning out strong for Biden during the 2020 Democratic primaries in South Carolina, which helped catapult him to clinch his party’s nomination and, subsequently, the presidency.
But polling has shown that, while Black voters strongly support Biden in a hypothetical matchup against his potential future opponent, former President Donald Trump, support for him has been waning – a sign that voters of color may be disaffected at the prospect of voting for Biden again.
Harris acknowledged communicating the campaign’s message to Black voters, who might be inclined to sit out 2024, would pose a challenge.
“You’ve got to earn the votes, and the votes are going to be earned based on, one, in a reelect: Have you actually responded to the needs of the community?” she added. “We have done the work that has been about bringing down unemployment, Black unemployment, to some of the lowest numbers we’ve ever seen. What we’ve done on student loan debt, we have now erased student loan debt for over three-and-a-half million people, and with more to do so we’ve delivered.
“But the responsibility to get across, that’s why I’m out here. We have a responsibility to communicate.”
Biden last week traveled to South Carolina and, speaking at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston where a White supremacist murdered nine Black people in 2015, warned about the threat of White supremacy and extremism, and how that threat could fester under a second Trump term.
“The word of God was pierced by bullets of hate and rage, propelled by not just gun powder but by a poison – poison that for too long haunted this nation,” Biden said in Charleston. “What is that poison? White supremacy. All that is, is a poison. Throughout our history, it’s ripped this nation apart. This has no place in America. Not today, tomorrow or ever.”
In the wake of that speech, Harris hinted to ABC that the campaign will ramp up its offensive against Trump as the 2024 general election ramps up.
“I am of the school that you either run without an opponent or you run scared. I have learned that to be a fact, and that is the way that I feel about any election,” she said. “So absolutely not, you can’t take anything for granted, and we have a duty or responsibility to earn this reelect.”
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