I’m imagining Kamala Harris watching this clip and yesterday’s, mindful that most of a running mate’s job is defending things the nominee says, and thinking, “You know what? Maybe being VP is overrated.”
This sort of gaffe is a much greater risk to him at the debates than the Trumpist dream scenario in which he trails off mid-sentence and starts asking the moderators what year it is. Odds of Biden entering a fugue state while onstage: <1%. Odds of Biden inadvertently offending a gigantic demographic constituency with some awkward policy answer: 97%-ish.
You can see the basic point he’s trying to make here, but hoo boy. He really Bidens this one up.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 6, 2020
A fuller quote via Yahoo News: “[U]nlike the African-American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida, and you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona.” Certainly it’s true that different ethnic groups within the broader Latino demographic bend more conservative or liberal than others. Florida’s Cuban-Americans are famously more sympathetic to the GOP than Latino voters nationwide because of the right’s righteous history of opposing communism. Karen Bass’s salute to the “Comandante en Jefe” a few years ago is a key reason, maybe *the* reason, Biden won’t end up choosing her as VP.
And certainly it’s true that Latino-Americans as a group are more likely to vote Republican than African-Americans are. They’ve been a rare weak spot for Biden in his polling against Trump, in fact. The reason he’s leading comfortably isn’t because he’s piling up stratospheric numbers with traditionally Democratic groups like blacks and Latinos. He’s leading because he’s cut into Trump’s advantage with whites, especially white suburbanites.
But lay all that aside. Here’s the question: Why did Biden have to invoke African-Americans in the clip in order to make his point about Latino-Americans? Why not just say, “Latino-Americans are diverse ideologically”? I can’t imagine there’s a single black voter who’ll watch this clip and feel flattered that Biden seems to believe they’re part of some hivemind without much difference among them in their policy views.
In fact, there’s quite a bit of ideological diversity among black voters. Not between left and right; they’re an overwhelmingly Democratic group, without question. The relevant divide is age:
Interestingly, while some younger black voters are willing to go further left than their elders, others are willing to go further right. A survey conducted in April and May by UCLA and the Democracy Fund found Trump’s favorable rating above 20 percent among black Americans aged 44 and under versus just nine percent among black senior citizens. The center-left Democratic faction led by Biden should be more attuned to ideological diversity among African-Americans than other political groups, not less, because they stand to lose the most from it in coming years. If they continue to treat blacks as a monolith they may wake up one day and find that a meaningful chunk of younger African-Americans have decamped for the DSA while another chunk is considering the GOP.
But I think this really is how Biden views their group, as a monolith. How can anyone who’s watched the famous “vote for me or you ain’t black” clip conclude otherwise?
In lieu of an exit question, here’s a leftover from yesterday via the Free Beacon.
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) August 5, 2020