Presidential 2024 | Biden tries to remobilize the African-American electorate

(Aboard Air Force One) Joe Biden is traveling Monday to Charleston, South Carolina, to the site of one of the worst racist massacres in recent American history, to try to remobilize this African-American electorate who opened the doors of the White House to him in 2020.

The trip has the feel of a political pilgrimage for the 81-year-old Democrat, whose campaign is struggling to find its rhythm: four years ago, his large victory in the primary of South Carolina, this former slave state, was a turning point major.

Joe Biden, who will seek a second term in November, had already come to meet the faithful of the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.

It was in 2015, he was Barack Obama’s vice president at the time. The latter had sung the anthem amazing Grace during the funeral of the church’s pastor, who fell with eight other black parishioners under the bullets of Dylann Roof, a white supremacist.


The organist at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston plays for worshipers while awaiting the arrival of Joe Biden.

“Sacred Cause”

Joe Biden’s speech will come after his fervent plea on Friday for the “sacred cause” of democracy, threatened according to him by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The Democrat, whom the polls, although not very significant at this stage, put neck and neck with the Republican, chose, according to his campaign team, “a place which represents the stakes of the election”.

The current president often says that it was the rise in racial hatred that led him to come out of political retirement and run in 2020.

Four years later, Joe Biden assures that the dangers are the same, facing Donald Trump who is leading the voting intentions for the Republican Party primary, accusing migrants of “poisoning the blood” of the United States , or by promising “revenge” to supporters convinced of having been robbed of victory in 2020.

Despite these violent speeches, the former president seems to be nibbling ground with the African-American electorate, who played a decisive role in Joe Biden’s victory four years ago, by voting 92% for him.


This time, according to recent opinion polls, Donald Trump could hope for up to 20% of the votes of black voters, or even a little more.

The danger, for Joe Biden, however, is not so much the loss of votes to his Republican rival, as a strong abstention from this crucial electorate.

“We have not been able to break down the wall put up by Trump supporters to tell people what the president has done for them,” influential South Carolina elected official Jim Clyburn admitted Sunday on CNN. Joe Biden “keeps his promises but people focus on the few things he has failed to do”, for example passing a major law protecting racial minorities’ access to voting, he lamented .

This clear observation comes from a man who propelled Joe Biden to the White House. It is in fact thanks to the support of Jim Clyburn that the current president largely won the Democratic primary in South Carolina in 2020, giving decisive momentum to his campaign.

It is this same fervor that Joe Biden will try to rekindle within the confines of Mother Emanuel Church.

The building is closely associated with the history of the struggles of African-Americans, facing slavery, then against segregation and the persistence of racial inequalities – Martin Luther King gave a speech there in 1962.

There is little doubt that Joe Biden, barring serious health problems or other surprises, will be his party’s candidate in November. The Democratic primary on February 3 in South Carolina will nonetheless be a first major test for the president, handicapped by his age, and weighed down by persistent dissatisfaction among Americans with their purchasing power.


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