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‘Make Donald Trump a loser again’: Biden, Harris woo Black voters during Philadelphia campaign swing

The president’s reelection campaign is launching Black Voters for Biden-Harris to gin up enthusiasm, as polls show Biden losing ground among the crucial constituency.
President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Girard College
Posted at 5:48 PM, May 29, 2024

Speaking to a rowdy crowd of several hundred voters huddled in a North Philadelphia high school auditorium, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris formally launched their campaign’s Black voter outreach initiative Wednesday, as polls show the president is losing support from the crucial constituency that helped deliver him the White House in 2020.

In remarks at Girard College, an independent K-12 boarding school catering to low-income, predominately Black students, the White House duo were joined by a slew of prominent Black Democrats, including Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore and Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker, as well as representatives from Black voter groups Black Men Vote and the NAACP.

President Biden and Vice President Harris stressed the importance of Black voters to their campaign, in both the last election and this time around.

“Because Black America voted, Kamala and I are president and vice president of the United States,” President Biden said. “Because you voted, Donald Trump was defeated — a former president. With your vote in 2024, we’re gonna make Donald Trump a loser again.”

In fiery remarks, the president upped his attacks on his predecessor — suggesting Trump’s false claims of victory were responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection, and that Trump still poses a danger to the country.

“The threat that Trump poses is greater in a second term than in his first. It’s clear that when he lost in 2020 something literally snapped in this guy,” President Biden said. “That’s why January 6 happened, when he unleashed an insurrection. Now, he’s running again and he’s clearly unhinged.”

Immediately following his remarks, President Biden visited South Restaurant & Jazz Club, a local Black-owned small business, to greet supporters.

Later this weekend, his reelection campaign will host voter registration and engagement events geared towards Black voters in battleground states throughout the country.

“Each week, every month, we will continue building on the historic progress that we've been making, and just making sure that voters are aware that there's only one candidate in this election that cares about them and that has delivered real progress for our community,” Jasmine Harris, director of Black media for the Biden-Harris campaign, told Scripps News.

President Biden won the 2020 Democratic nomination in no small part due to his support from Black Americans. Though he fared poorly in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, President Biden won the South Carolina primary by a decisive margin, with Black voters showing up for him in large numbers.

In the 2020 general election, President Biden carried 87% of Black voters, exit polls showed, compared to Trump’s 12%. But a recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll found just 74% of Black registered voters said they would “definitely” or “probably” vote for President Biden. Moreover, only 62% of Black Americans told the pollsters they’re “absolutely certain to vote,” a significant decline from the 74% who said the same around this time four years ago.

And in Pennsylvania — a battleground state President Biden carried by just over 80,000 votes in 2020 — Trump currently leads by three points, 48-45, according to new polling from the Cook Political Report.

But President Biden’s campaign has largely dismissed any concerns about polling.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson at the White House

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“This is exactly what campaigns are for. We're not operating like typical campaigns operate, where we parachute into the Black community at the last minute, expecting the vote. We are campaigning early and often every day to reach these voters to earn their vote,” said Harris, the campaign staffer.

The Biden campaign’s launch of Black Voters for Biden-Harris paves the way for partnership with organizations for voter outreach and engagement events with surrogates in key swing states, according to the campaign.

And supporters in Wednesday’s audience remained enthused about President Biden.

“Well, I think Joe Biden is going to make everybody, the country great again. I think Joe Biden did a lot already for us, especially for the vets,” said Bernard Crudup Sr.

But some also pointed to the importance of conversing.

“We just have to remind our babies why it’s so important to vote, we have to remind our babies what the importance of rocking their vote is. And we had to remind them that hey, you do have a say and you do have a right,” said Jackie Jones.

Trump, for his part, continues to try to eat into President Biden’s margin with Black voters, hammering the president on crime and inflation.

"President Trump’s outreach to Black voters is straightforward: He shows up, listens, and makes it clear that we'll be better off with him as President, just like we were four years ago,” Janiyah Thomas, Black media director for the Trump campaign, told Scripps News in a statement. “Team Trump's outreach to minority communities is a stark contrast to Joe Biden's failing campaign whose only tactic is to gaslight Black voters with desperate ads and pandering speeches that fail to address Biden's terrible policies."

Trump himself made a direct appeal to minority voters during a campaign appearance in the Bronx last week.

“Everybody was better off under a man named President Donald J. Trump,” Trump told the raucous crowd. “Remember, Black, Hispanic, Asian people need this protection and safety more than anyone else.”