Black voters in South Carolina are frustrated with President Biden for not fighting hard enough for the Black community, NBC reported. These feelings rose after the Republicans blocked the Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the Senate.
During the presidential race, Biden swept South Carolina’s vote with 61 percent of the Black vote. NBC reported Biden’s approval ratings from Black voters had decreased from 84 percent to 64 percent. Local SC activists and residents have voiced their disappointment in Biden for not being able to fulfill the promises he’s made.
Helen Bradley, a retired community activist, said that she doesn’t think Biden has fought hard enough for the priorities of the Black community.
“I don’t think he has done that and I’m hoping that he’ll make a change. He has time to do it,” she said. “I don’t think he’s delivered on all the promises that he made.”
Tuesday Duckett, a single mom who works for the University of South Carolina, said that Biden has fulfilled his promises to Black voters only “partially.” Her message to Biden is to, “look deep, especially in our rural areas, because we are suffering and we do need them to come and make sure that we are getting what we needed and what we were promised as a community.”
NBC asked Biden in a press conference about what he’s done for the Black community. “I’ve had their back. I’ve had their back my entire career. I’ve never not had their back. And I started on the voting rights issues long, long ago. That’s what got me involved in politics in the first place,” he told NBC. He also amongst being busy with handling the pandemic and push voting legislation, he hasn’t been able to visit these Black communities in person.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn told NBC it was ‘disrespectful’ to expect Biden to be able to move on all of the initiatives he mentioned in his campaign in under one year. Additionally, he said Democrats have to make sure enough Black voters participate in the midterm elections.
“You’ve got to focus on the glass being half full and tell people what we’ve done with that half and so that they will have faith and confidence that we will get the other half of glass done. If we keep talking about what we have not done, rather than what we have done. We deserve to be defeated at the polls,” Clyburn said.
South Carolina Rep. Fletcher Smith agreed with the state’s Black community suggesting Biden needs to do more to support his Black voters and improve their voting rights, according to NBC. Smith also said though Biden has done well handling the pandemic and economy, he needs to have a ‘laser focus’ on voting rights.
“We have been there for Biden every step of the way. We will continue to be with him. But he needs to be with us walking side by side, not behind us,” she told NBC.
Well, Black voters are certainly not a monolith. Some voted for Biden simply as a means to get rid of the previous president. South Carolina Rep. Kambrell Garvin told Vox that young Black voters aren’t looking to ‘tinker around the edges’ of policy change. In other words, we’re looking for more ambitious, direct initiatives to change the current standing policies (and free us of our student loans).