According to a Wall Street Journal-NBC poll released Friday, former Vice Pres. Joe Biden’s support among black voters is eroding. The poll, conducted between Feb. 14 and 18, shows Biden at just under 33% support. That’s a big jump backward from the 50% support he once enjoyed.
A number of factors might account for the trend. An unlikely one that Biden himself threw out on Sunday was the influence of billionaire Tom Steyer’s ads. Via The Hill:
What’s happening is you have Steyer spending millions of dollars out campaigning there. So I think a lot’s happening in terms of the amount of money being spent by billionaires to try to cut into the African American vote.
Other more realistic factors that may be working against Biden include his verbal stumbles, which suggest he is too feeble to take on the job. Then there is his propensity for telling tall tales. Both were on display in a “sermon” he gave in a black church Sunday. First he doubled down on the preposterous-sounding claim that he was “raised in the black church.” Then toward the end of his homily, he told an all-black congregation it was “dark” in America and “gettin’ darker.” Finally to cinch the deal, he tripped over his words. He said “I wake up sometimes and I wonder whether we’re living through in [sic] 1920 or 2020.
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Joe Biden: "I wake up sometimes and I wonder through we're living through in 1920 or 2020." pic.twitter.com/q99ZaZ2sDY
— The Hill (@thehill) February 23, 2020
Last week, he regaled South Carolinians with the newly “unearthed” story of his arrest in South Africa. It was the 1970s, Biden explained. He was on his way to a champion Nelson Mandela’s release from prison when he was detained. The New York Times writers who reported the narrative were skeptical. Ditto for the sources they consulted. Among these was former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, who traveled with Biden in the 1970s.
Maybe it is these whoppers that have given black voters buyers’ remorse. Or maybe it’s the verifiable reports of Biden’s onetime “deep personal relationships” with six segregationist senators, The candidate himself shouldn’t dismiss these factors either as he heads into the all important make-or-break South Carolina primary, where black voters make up approximately 60% of the electorate. Then again, it may be too late.