The Democratic Party has emphasized in the past two years its reliance on its most loyal voting base, black Americans, and more specifically black women. During the 2020 primary cycle, hopes had been high that a young vigorous dark pigmented standard-bearer in the vein of Barack Obama would emerge. Several of them tried. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Deval Patrick were among the black candidates who stood for the White House, while the Mexican American Julián Castro, Hawaiian Tulsi Gabbard, and Taiwanese Andrew Yang stood as well. But by the time the actual voting took place most of them had already dropped out. Presumptive nominee Vice President Joe Biden is as old and not-People of Colour as one can get. With his latest embarrassing interview with Charlamagne tha G-d Biden may have shaken the wrong tree one time too many.
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Democrats had to reckon with hard data showing that their candidate Hillary Clinton had been a flop, leading to her losing several Midwestern states. Black voter turnout fell from over 65% in 2012 with the reelection of Obama, to 59.6%. This was their lowest turnout since 1996 when less than 55% of blacks turned out to vote. Within the state of Michigan, the difference amounted to a little more than 20 thousand votes. Wayne County, home to the state’s largest metro area of Detroit, had seen a drop of over 40 thousand total votes and a narrowing of the result between Clinton and Donald Trump by 9% since 2012.
In invoking the now viral statement of “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, you ain’t black”, Biden has jeopardized much of the scheme of regaining enthusiasm among black constituents like those of Wayne County. Many of the reasons that disaffected voters did not show up in 2016 for Clinton had to do with decisions that Obama and Biden made in the White House or votes that they took in the Senate. Biden had been the sponsor and architect of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, popularly called the “Clinton Crime Bill“. This wide ranging law included no less than 60 new death penalty offenses, and ended higher education for federal and state inmates. It included $6 billion to build new state prisons. The bill was credited with causing a tremendous spike in the prison population popularly known as “mass incarceration”. Signed into law in September 1994 ahead of Clinton’s first midterm election, the act passed both Democratic controlled chambers with easy majorities.
The passage of the bill, which also included a ten year assault weapons ban that would later expire, is significant not exclusively for Biden’s role, but for the complicity of many of the Democrat politicians who would later eschew its provisions.To be clear, in 1994 many of the people now calling for “criminal justice reform” and the end of mass incarceration had no problem with Biden’s bill. Current Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn voted yes, as did current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Senators Maria Cantwell (WA), Bob Menendez (NJ), Ron Wyden (OR), and Sherrod Brown (OH). All of them were then serving in the house. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), who would later leave to lead the NAACP and advocate for “criminal justice reform” also voted for the bill.
The Baggage on the Biden Bus
The notion that it was Joe Biden who was the curmudgeonly standard bearer of old racist tendencies within the Democratic Party is easy to highlight. In 1977 he openly pondered whether school desegregation would lead to his own children growing up in a “racial jungle“. As it turns out his rumblings were empty talk; sons Beau and Hunter would attend the all-male Catholic prep school Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware, just as their father Joe did.
Knowing that many urban American white working class parents were outraged at enforced integration of public high schools through busing, which was an unmitigated disaster and helped to accelerate white flight, Biden was exploiting his “lunchbucket Joe” image to pander to them. As it turns out Biden had the right position on busing for the wrong reasons. While a small remnant of the urban white poor remained in the inner cities to suffer through the “jungle” of Biden’s dystopia, the vast majority of those that attended the decaying schools were black and Latino students. Forty years after busing was imposed, the city of Boston for example still reverberates from the impact of the riots and violence that it caused.
Reparations for Cornpop
A theme that has been seething below the surface of the 2020 primary cycle has been the effect of a movement called the “American Descendants of Slavery” (ADOS) who demand financial reparations to the families of people enslaved in the United States before emancipation. Whatever one’s position on them, they are a truly grassroots group of writers, academics, and activists who have demanded that the Democrats address this demand or else they will campaign for black voters to stay home and not vote. The two central figures of #ADOS are former congressional aide Yvette Carnell and Los Angeles attorney Antonio Moore, and much of their audience is limited to social media.
Despite this, when #ADOS supporters began attacking presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for her prosecutorial record and deceptive pandering to the black community, the mainstream media were quick to respond. CNN talking head and Congressional Black Caucus PAC board member Angela Rye claimed that they were “paid for by Russia“. Not to be outdone a guest of MSNBC host Joy Reid alleged that #ADOS twitter uses were using black slang in order to mask their real identities. While it is unknown how large the #ADOS tendency in the black community is, it stands to reason that Biden’s solid showing among black voters in the primary was not affected by it. So why attack Carnell, Moore and other #ADOS believers? In 2019 Charlamagne tha G-d began to discuss the #ADOS agenda on his show, sparking a conflagration in which Moore declared that he was incompetent to represent the issue to the media. The movement did not feel that he was willing to go far enough to directly demand reparations.
Now that Charlamagne has himself clashed with Biden, he gives the opening for the #ADOS topic (if not the movement leaders) to enter the public conversation. In comments to The Hill a day later he asked concerning Biden “what have you done for me lately?”, a line that resonates from Eddie Murphy stand-up specials in the 1970s. More than that, he said the following Sunday to Reid that Biden would bring about a “voter depression” on top of Russian interference and voter suppression. He specifically focused on the potential choice of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) as Biden’s running mate as being a deal breaker for many black voters who remember that Biden at wone point hinted that he would pick a woman of colour. Other black Democrat personalities like Aimee Allison, LaTosha Brown and Angela Rye are also sounding the alarm in a Washington Post op-ed. Rye even called Klobuchar a “non-starter“.
It is truly the ultimate own-goal that Joe Biden, in trying to perform outreach to black voters has instead succeeded in attracting only mockery and outrage. Unlike Carnell and Moore, the media cannot ignore or defame Charlamagne for his opinions, because he has the most listened to hip hop talk show in America and many primary candidates have stooped at the doorstep to his studio in order to plead their case. Joe Biden may have only been Barack Obama’s no. 2, but in his ability to make a fool out of himself he has become the Donkey of Eternity.