‘I know Joe’s heart’: Why black voters are backing Joe Biden
After Kamala Harris challenged Joe Biden’s past opposition to school busing in a nationally televised Democratic presidential debate, the former vice president who prides himself on strong relationships in the black community was in an unfamiliar place, playing defense on race.
But Bebe Coker had a message for the man she’s known for decades: don’t back down. The 81-year-old education activist remembered the history differently than Harris’ portrayal, recalling black parents encouraging Biden to reject forcing black students to attend white schools.
“I told him not to back down off of that,” Coker, who is black, said in an interview. “I know Joe’s heart. I guess that’s why I’m rather defensive of him. Joe has always been straight-up Joe. But when things come back at people that don’t look like us, they will say it’s racist because it doesn’t sound right when it’s coming out of somebody else’s mouth.”
Such solid support helps explain why a 77-year-old white man is leading the most diverse presidential field in history among black voters. That backing has sustained Biden through a torrent of controversies that would sink virtually any other Democratic politician, including a series of awkward comments about race and persistent attacks from President Donald Trump on son Hunter Biden’s business ties in Ukraine.
It’s a pragmatic calculation among many African Americans, especially older ones, who believe Biden will appeal to white voters and can defeat Trump next year.
As other candidates make increasingly vocal appeals to African Americans, Biden says he stands apart because he’s been with black voters since the beginning of his political career as a member of the New Castle County Council in Delaware.
“I’ve always been comfortable with the community, and I think the community’s always been comfortable with me,” he said after a recent meeting in Atlanta with a group of African American mayors.
Black voters will be crucial in determining the next Democratic nominee. Biden’s support among this group gives him an important and sometimes overlooked advantage nearly two months before voting begins. While Biden is bunched near the top of the pack in the overwhelmingly white early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s better positioned in the more diverse states that follow…….read more
Source: AP News