Once Again, Black Politicians May Rescue Biden From Disaster

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Things were looking very bad for Joe Biden in February 2020. The former vice president had finished fourth in the Iowa Caucuses after leading in the polls for most of the previous year. 

It got worse in New Hampshire. Biden finished a distant fifth and seemed destined for the scrap heap. But there was a ray of hope the following week in Nevada as Biden finished second. Biden was on life support, and few gave his flailing candidacy any chance.

But an old friend came to his rescue. South Carolina was the first state with a sizable black minority. It was also home to the venerable civil rights crusader Rep. James Clyburn. Clyburn stumped from one end of the state to the other, introducing Biden and telling crowds that Biden was a friend.

The fact that Biden had a spotty (at best) record on civil rights didn't matter. Clyburn's stature in the black community was so powerful that his endorsement swept the former vice president to victory in the Palmetto State.

Biden never looked back.

Now, Biden is once again up against a wall. The drumbeat of cries from allies for dropping out of the 2024 race had been growing since the June 27 debate. Donors were falling by the wayside. Some of the most powerful Democrats in Congress deserted him. 

Biden desperately attempted to control the damage. But down the line with supporters and former supporters, Biden found little evidence that the tide could be turned. The momentum seemed irreversible.

But two constituencies in the Democratic Party have apparently decided that Biden is the only hope for a Democratic victory in November. The radical left, represented by The Squad, has come out four-square in favor of Biden.

And during a Zoom call with the 60-member Black Caucus on Monday, Biden got even better news.

Washington Post:

But of far more significance to Democrats, black lawmakers have coalesced behind the president and have presented a united front to bolster his position and make dropping out a much less probable outcome.

Biden appeared to understand the significance of the CBC’s support — and the moment.

“The African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours,” Biden said in 2020 during his acceptance speech. He said pretty much the same thing on Monday night's Zoom call.

“You’ve had my back, and I’ll continue to have yours,” Biden told black Democrats on the call, according to two people familiar with his remarks who talked to the Post.

The desire to defend Biden appears to be so widespread among CBC members, three people aligned with the group said, that it is possible the group will formalize its support for him in a statement over the next several days. The group’s influence could blunt widespread concerns among other colleagues about Biden, and possibly sway Jeffries’s opinion about how House Democrats should respond in an unprecedented moment.

The tone of Monday’s 35-minute virtual call was described by Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) as “very supportive” of the president. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, gave opening remarks before Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) introduced Biden, and Clyburn closed out the call, according to the Biden campaign.

It's going to be far harder for worried Democrats to dislodge Biden from the top spot on the ticket. In fact, we might look back on this as the point where things turned around for the president and quieted at least some of the calls for his removal from the ticket.

It's still more than a month to the Democratic Convention. But Biden's handlers are going to be incredibly cautious about where Biden speaks, to whom he speaks, how long he speaks, and how much media availability the press will have to the president. 

Biden is about to go into a cocoon and emerge after the convention. Whether this helps him fight off Trump's challenge is an entirely different matter. 


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