Amid racial identity theater, Black voters balk at inflation just like everyone else
February 24, 2022
The dismissal of core economic interests of everyday Black voters for the chance to grandstand on narrow racial identity issues has come back to hurt President Joe Biden and his allies in the progressive media.
And it’s been apparent that such a consequence wasn’t just possible, but likely, as far back as the 2020 Democratic primary season, as the progressive media never really concentrated on key economic policies that Biden would pursue, but instead just concentrated on what Biden would do for various identity groups.
As Biden tried to cobble together in 2020 the same rough coalition of Black and white college-educated voters who elected Barack Obama, the media dismissed Biden’s virtual dismal of Black voters’ concerns about kitchen table issues, as unimportant, because, after all, where else would Black Americans take their vote?.
That Biden took the Black vote for granted was best demonstrated by his off-the-cuff comment during the campaign, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
In this, Biden was supported by both the progressive media, and the academics – Black and white — who are only too happy to provide the political patina for progressive media that gilds their lily, so to speak, to make it at least appear like every Democratic Party policy is golden.
“We argue that partisanship and racial identity for African Americans are very intertwined,” Chryl Laird, assistant professor of government and legal studies at Bowdoin College, told Vox in defending Biden’s “ain’t Black” comments.
“In some ways, we’ve even said, ‘to be Black is to be Democrat,’” Laird said.
To some extent, such attitudes by academics and the media have allowed Biden to stoke the fears of racism among Black voters, while simultaneously acknowledging and then ignoring staple economic issues for Blacks in favor of handouts to special African-American interests that make it look like Democrats are doing something about inequality, but really aren’t.
“A full 50% of African-Americans say racism is one of the ‘main problems facing the country right now,’” according to a poll conducted by Vice in January 2020 for the Democrat primary, that mentioned economic issues facing the Black community, but dismissed the issues as unimportant.
One should remember that at the time of the poll, Black Americans enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate in history under Trump, yet, like their white and Hispanic counterparts, still listed economic security as their main issue.
The Biden administration, as a result of such journalistic malpractice, has instituted a grab bag of policies to take advantage of the fears of racism such as Restoring the Use of Consent Decrees to End Systemic Police Misconduct; Historic Investments to Safely Reopen Schools and Address the Needs of Students; Ensuring that Federal Grants Don’t Support Discriminatory Activities; Dismantling Barriers to Accessing Department of Agriculture (USDA) Programs and Services; Assisting Black Land Owners in Resolving Title Issues; and Ensuring Black Homeowners Get Full Value for their Homes, just to name a few.
These are policies that sound really good on paper, but; 1) likely could have been addressed by existing laws and; 2) don’t address the pocketbook issues that are front and center for most voters, especially low-income voters, which unfortunately includes a lot of Black voters.
And recent polls show that Black people are now paying attention to the discrepancy, even if Democrats and the progressive media aren’t.
“The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies published results of a poll which found 65 percent of Black Americans rated the economy as just fair or poor, while 61 percent said their personal economic situations were also just fair or poor,” the Hill reported.
The poll also found that despite Biden’s long list of initiatives aimed at Black constituents, slightly over half of Black voters think the government is doing a bad job addressing racism and discrimination, while only 64 percent of Black voters approve of the president’s overall job performance.
The biggest area of complaint amongst Black voters is inflation, with 57 percent of those surveyed in a CBS poll saying they disapproved of Biden’s handling of the issue.
“Inflation obviously is playing a huge role here, with the Wall Street Journal estimating that the higher price of goods is costing families an extra $276 per month, or an additional $3,300 or so annually,” ” said Jon Concha at the Hill about Black disaffection from Biden.
It seems a long way from last summer and fall 2021 when the progressives at Vox were arguing that people shouldn’t worry much about inflation, that this time inflation is different, that “Prices are rising, but their bank accounts rose faster.”
“Yes, inflation is rising, there is a great deal of uncertainty, and the specter of the ’70s [and runaway inflation] looms large,” Vox wrote in July. “But given how much economic pain was visited on millions in the fight against inflation decades ago, it’s encouraging that today’s policymakers seem more willing to consider the path their predecessors did not take.”
But it’s not recommended that the Democrats try to sell that to Black voters in 2022.
With the media’s help, they’ll likely just make the argument that if you don’t vote Democrat, you ain’t really Black.