Usually, it’s necessary to wait until after a presidential election is over before it becomes possible to identify the point at which the dynamics of the contest began to favor the eventual winner. Occasionally, however, the turning point is blindingly obvious. President Reagan’s 1984 reelection, for example, was all but assured when Walter Mondale included a promise to raise taxes in his speech accepting the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Likewise, former Vice President Joe Biden almost certainly handed the 2020 election to President Trump last Friday when he told an African-American interviewer, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
That blunder not only unmasked Biden’s condescending attitude toward a bloc of voters without whose support he cannot hope to win, it revealed that his campaign is worried about poll numbers they’re seeing for those very voters. A new Quinnipiac poll shows that 81 percent of African-Americans support Biden. If that seems high, remember that Clinton won 88 percent of the black vote in 2016 and lost the election. African-American turnout was also down in 2016. In other words, Biden must turn out more black voters than did Hillary and win a larger percentage of their votes. Biden can’t win with 81 percent of a tepid African-American turnout and his campaign knows it.