‘Are you with me?’ Biden and Harris launch Black voter outreach and warn of a second Trump term

In a bid to engage and rally Black voters ahead of the 2024 election, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made a joint appearance at a Philadelphia boarding school with a predominantly Black student body. During the event, Biden emphasized the significance of the upcoming White House race, stating that the winner will make crucial decisions, including nominations for the Supreme Court, that could impact the nation for decades.

Biden expressed gratitude to Black voters for their support in the 2020 election, which was instrumental in his victory, and highlighted the positive impact of the Democratic administration’s agenda on the lives of Black voters. He also criticized Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, for spreading misinformation and promoting anger, resentment, and hate.

Biden warned about the potential threat of a second Trump presidency, referencing some of the racial controversies associated with the former president, such as his response to the George Floyd protests and his continued claims about the Central Park Five. He asked the crowd, “Are you with me?”

The Biden campaign has announced a summerlong effort to engage Black student organizations, community groups, and faith centers as part of a strategy to address the erosion of support from this traditionally Democratic constituency. The issue of abortion rights and the judiciary was also addressed, with Biden pledging to codify the protections of Roe vs. Wade and Harris criticizing Trump for shaping the Supreme Court in a way that could potentially overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The economy, particularly inflation, and Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict have been sources of discontent in the Black community. The issue of Black voter turnout could be crucial in closely contested states such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, where Biden defeated Trump in 2020 but may face a more challenging path this year.

Trump has attempted to appeal to Black voters, criticizing Biden on immigration and suggesting that his administration’s policies have negatively impacted the Black and Hispanic populations. The Republican National Committee has criticized Biden’s handling of the economy and attacked his visit to Pennsylvania.

In an effort to remind Black voters of the Democratic administration’s achievements, Biden highlighted accomplishments such as record funding for historically Black colleges and universities, forgiveness of federal student loan debt, and pardons for simple possession of marijuana. He emphasized his commitment to Black voters and the economic gains under his presidency, while also stressing that “there’s not a damn thing that a white man can do that a Black man can’t do, or do better.”

The president’s visit to Philadelphia follows a series of engagements with Black community members, including hosting plaintiffs from the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ended institutionalized racial segregation in public schools, delivering a commencement address at Morehouse College, and addressing Rev. Al Sharpton’s racial justice conference. Biden also pointed to his appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court and his selection of Harris as the first Black woman to serve as vice president.