AP wonders: Is Biden losing black voters?

The question may be whether Joe Biden manages to keep any voters. The centrists have grown disgusted with Biden’s bait-and-switch to a hard-left progressivism after campaigning as a centrist uniter. The progressives are angry that Biden didn’t deliver. And black voters are getting a feeling of déjà vu all over again, the Associated Press notes in its analysis of its AP-NORC poll:

Now, one year into his presidency, Biden is hoping he can maintain the support of Black voters, even as his failure to deliver on voting rights legislation and other issues has left some loyalists dispirited. Of the many challenges he confronts as he enters his second year, few are as important as retaining the strong backing from his party’s base.

Just 6 in 10 Black Americans said they approved of Biden in a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, down from about 9 in 10 who approved in polls conducted through the first six months of Biden’s presidency.

“I’m perplexed. At some points, I’m angry. I’m trying to see if there is anything redeeming,” said George Hart, 73, a professor and faculty adviser to the student chapter of the NAACP at Benedict College, a historically Black institution in Columbia. “I’m just so disillusioned, I don’t know what to say.

“He let so much happen from the time he became president to the time that he actually introduced the measure, it was lost,” said Hart, who supported Biden in South Carolina’s primary. “And we are the ones, African Americans, Black voters, who are going to pay the penalties.”

These numbers come with considerable context. The remarks highlighted by the AP in this report demonstrate no hint that the bloc of black voters will move in the direction of the center, let alone to the GOP, so “losing” black voters is a narrow concept. The criticism and anger highlighted in the report have to do with Biden’s failure to effectively (and at times passionately) pursue the progressive agenda. There isn’t a significant groundswell of federalist and laissez-faire economic thought occurring in this demographic, at least not yet.

The risk here isn’t that Republicans are making inroads among black voters in the way they are with Hispanics. It’s that black voters might sit on their hands in the upcoming midterms, and beyond that in 2024 as well. Democrats need a massive turnout to deal with the expected red wave hinted at by the current polling, perhaps especially with Hispanics starting to shift away from the hard-progressive rhetoric of the Democratic Party.

That’s what makes this uncharacteristically unenthusiastic level of support from black voters so significant. It portends a lower turnout, a lower level of activist engagement, and therefore an even bigger collapse than Chuck Todd might imagine from this segment yesterday:

“I’m going to start with perhaps the most important number to understand the direction of the midterms, its job approval here, the president’s job approval rating sitting at 43 percent. If you look at history, history shows that kind of presidential approval rating leads to a shellacking for the party in power,” he noted.

“How about the mood of the nation? Let me show you this, right now our wrong track, nations on the wrong track number sitting at 72 percent – second poll in a row where we’ve been over 70 percent. This is only the third time in our poll’s history over 30 years where we’ve had two tracks that off,” he continued. “That again would put you in shellacking territory for the party in power.”

So too does a 60% approval rating from black voters for a Democratic president. This is why expectations setting is so important in politics, and yet another demonstration of Biden’s utter incompetency at it. And it also points to an incompetency among Republicans to engage with black voters and make fiscal conservatism relevant to them, a constant failing that I highlighted in my book Going Red that goes back decades. This would be a good opening for the GOP to make some inroads into black communities. Have they recognized it?