The pivotal role of Black voters in Biden’s presidential win
Unless you have been living in Siberia in a cave without internet for the last few years, you are undoubtedly aware that Joseph R. Biden is the 46th President of the United States. You will also remember that in the run-up to the 2020 Democratic Primary then Democratic candidate Joe Biden had suffered several lackluster primary showings and had been all but counted out.
Then came the South Carolina Democratic Primary. It is now acknowledged that black voters in South Carolina gave him the win that catapulted him to the nomination and ultimately the White House.
A Debt owed
President Biden acknowledged his debt to black voters when he admitted that “You’ve [referring to black voters} always had my back and [when I become president] I’ll have yours.” Vice President Kamala Harris noted that black voters are the “backbone of our democracy.”
Now first in the nation primary status has been bestowed on South Carolina. This ‘honor’ is at least partially an acknowledgment of, if not a ’reward’ for, the support of black voters in South Carolina and the Democratic Party at large.
What we asked for
Black voters did not ask to be first in the nation but rather asked for substantive change in areas that are important to them. The passage of H.R.1280 – George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, H.R.4 – John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, and H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act are critical pieces of legislation that would make drastic changes toward improving the lives of black voters.
Acknowledgment alone is not payment
President Biden and the Democratic National Committee have acknowledged the debt owed to black voters for their overwhelming support, but acknowledgment alone is not payment of the debt. Giving South Carolina first in the nation primary status is not payment for our support. Our support was significant and made it possible for Biden to become the 46th President of the United States.
Time to Deliver
It is time for the Democratic Party to prioritize the interests and concerns of black voters and to make it their mission to pass critical pieces of legislation that would improve the lives of black voters. The passage of H.R.1280, H.R.4, and H.R.40 would be a significant step in that direction. It is not enough to make promises; we need results.
Black voters did not ask to be first in the nation. We asked for substantive change, and it is time for the Democratic Party to deliver.