Patterico's Pontifications


Joe Biden To Black Voters: If You’re Trying To Decide Between Trump Or Me, ‘You Ain’t Black’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:11 am

[guest post by Dana]

So, this happened:

Joe Biden defended his legislative record in an often contentious Friday morning interview with Charlamagne Tha God, the host of the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club,” and argued that his presidential campaign was doing enough to reach out to black voters. At one point, Biden argued that black voters undecided on whether to vote for him or for President Trump “ain’t black.”


Charlamagne tha God: (17:15)
Listen, you got to come see us when you come to New York VP Biden.

Joe Biden: (17:18)
I will.

Charlamagne tha God: (17:19)
Because it’s a long way until November. We got more questions.

Joe Biden: (17:22)
You got more questions but I tell ya, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.

Charlamagne tha God: (17:28)
It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact I want something for my community. I would love to see-

After criticism came from both sides of the aisle because WHO SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THAT, Biden was compelled to apologize for his gaffe explain himself in a phone call with members of the U.S. Black Chambers:

“I should not have been so cavalier. I’ve never, never, ever taken the African American community for granted.”

“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier. … No one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background,” Biden said. “There are African Americans who think that Trump was worth voting for, I don’t think so. I’m prepared to put my record against his. That was the bottom line and it was ah — it was really unfortunate I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.”

Hm, was that being “cavalier,” or was that just being flippant, disrespectful, and arrogant? I’m going with the latter three…

Black Republicans were vocal in their criticism of Biden:

…Michigan Senate candidate John James, who addressed Biden in a tweeted video: “You challenging me and millions of other people out there on their blackness, descendants of slaves, from you is some seriously condescending, out of touch bullcrap,” and he questioned whether Biden should “even be running for president in the Democratic Party who says they’re for black people.”

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott told reporters on a Trump campaign call, “I thought to myself, I’ve been black for 54 years. I was struck by the condescension and the arrogance.” Scott urged his Senate colleagues to disavow Biden’s remarks and added, “Race baiting in the 21st century is an ineffective tool to attract one of the most intelligent voting blocs in the nation. He should respect African-American voters as individuals, not as a part of a group or a monolithic group of people.”

Biden’s senior advisor, Symone D. Sanders defended Biden, saying the comments were made in jest:

“The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: he was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period,”

Here are a few varied responses to Biden’s comments from the black community:

And then there was bit of insight from The Root:

First, he keeps calling Charlamagne, “man.”

“I’m following the rules, man.”

“Totally different, man.”

This is Biden’s version of a blaccent. This is the thing he’s doing to make himself cool and hip to the young black community. Imagine a white guy calling you his main man; that’s the way Biden says it. Except, he doesn’t realize he’s playing himself and the community he’s supposed to be reaching out to. Biden isn’t alone in this.

This is a thing that out-of-touch white politicians do all the time. I call it the Love Don’t Co$t a Thing move. It goes like this: Can’t Buy Me Love is a teen romantic comedy that premiered in 1987. It’s an underrated classic that centers around a geeky kid using his savings to pay a cheerleader to help him be cool. When Hollywood wanted to re-create the success of Can’t Buy Me Love, they went and grabbed a young Nick Cannon to star in a remake called Love Don’t Co$t a Thing. Two things are wrong with this idea: The first is that black audiences didn’t like the original movie. The second is that in order to get black audiences to come out, the studio had to hip-hop the title up a bit with that dollar sign for an “s.” What the studio didn’t realize and what Biden doesn’t realize is doing that is degrading and shows just how out of touch they are with the community they’re trying to reach.

You don’t endear yourself to black people by trying to talk the way you believe they do. You endear yourself to black people—hell, all people—by being genuine…

During the interview, Biden also confirmed that he was considering a black woman as a running mate:

Biden also “guaranteed” that he was considering a black woman to serve as his vice president. CBS News reported that Biden is vetting Amy Klobuchar, who is white, as a potential vice presidential pick. She is one of several contenders being scrutinized for the job by Biden aides.

“I guarantee you, there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple,” Biden said.

Biden may feel compelled to choose a black woman for the vice president slot because of his gaffe. But if it blows over and is dismissed with an exasperated “Oh, that’s just Joe being Joe” eyeroll, then his options for a vice president remain open.

So why did Biden act as if he was entitled to the black vote? Because he really believes he is, of course:

He said it because he meant it. It’s not just that he believes his record on racial issues is better than Trump’s, it’s that he’s willing to demagogue racial identity to help his party. He did it eight years ago, infamously, when he told a black audience that Republicans want to “put y’all back in chains.” Whatever the particulars of his record and Trump’s, he uttered a party orthodoxy this morning so commonplace that I think you could take literally any Democratic politician in the country with literally any Republican opponent and they’d offer the same view (privately) of whether they’re entitled to black votes or not.

Bearing in mind that Biden is a long-practiced politician and a spectacular schmoozer with all the accompanying ambition (obviously), I think he jumped at the opportunity to remind black voters that, because he is in their corner, they should be in his corner. In other words, it was just politics as usual for the Democrat. Not a flattering picture of Biden, and certainly not a flattering picture of how Biden views black voters. But there were also practical political reasons that prompted Biden’s (risky) cringe-inducing-foot-in-mouth-over-familiarity:

First, after becoming VP to the first black president and then turning the tide of this year’s primaries via black voters in South Carolina, he may believe he’s got enough cred banked with black Americans that he’s entitled to be racially presumptuous in a way most whites aren’t. He has special privileges. Not so special that he can get away with anything — he’s not going to call anyone “my nigga,” I hope — but special enough that, sure, he’ll amiably question your blackness if you support Trump. His problem is that his self-perceived privileges aren’t clearly defined even to him, which led to him crossing the line this morning.

Second, he may be panicked that he’s underperforming with black voters. Sure, he still leads Trump head to head in every national poll, but the battleground polls haven’t been quite as solid for him and some of the data even in national polling has looked worrisome for his campaign among nonwhites…

Put it all together and Biden may be feeling anxious about his hold on the black vote. He’ll win it by a landslide, needless to say, but the exact margin of that landslide will matter to the final outcome of the election. He wants to duplicate Obama’s gigantic edge among African-Americans in 2008 and 2012 and maybe feels like he *should* be duplicating it because of his bio — but he isn’t, at least not yet. So maybe that anxiety led him into an unusually crass and desperate formulation of what black voters supposedly owe him this fall.

Meanwhile, Democratic strategists and party officials are hoping to convince former President Obama to use his immense popularity to draw in more voters and critical Democrat constituencies that are crucial for a Biden victory. Biden’s attempt to define what makes someone black certainly certainly wasn’t helpful to the cause.


41 Responses to “Joe Biden To Black Voters: If You’re Trying To Decide Between Trump Or Me, ‘You Ain’t Black’”

  1. Good morning. The Weekend Open thread will go up a little bit later today. Meanwhile…

    Dana (0feb77)

  2. They’ve called black conservatives Uncle Toms and worse for decades, now watch as the Left do their best to ignore the racists among them.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  3. What a blooming dummy. Like Trump he’s his own worst enemy. I’m sure Obama will start stumping for him when he’s ready.

    JRH (52aed3)

  4. And so many of them – e.g., Hillary Clinton… Biden… Kamala Harris – fall back on a Southern dialect when addressing black groups, as if it isn’t laughable.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  5. The lovely Hillary Clinton said:

    Electing Barack Obama did not end racism as we know too well, but it gave the country a chance to say, hey, wait a minute, we are better than this.

    She then continued to say that we don’t treat sexism as as serious a problem as racism, implying that, one, we are not better than this when it comes to sexism, and two, it was sexist not to vote for her in 2016. Women, “particularly white women,” are “publicly disrespecting themselves” by having supported, and continuing to support Mr Trump. As nearly as I can tell, the left believe that only white cisheterosexual Christian men have enough intelligence to be allowed to think for themselves, that all others, women, racial and ethnic minorities, etc, are simply not allowed to have any independent thoughts other than what the left assign to them.

    That’s pretty much what Joe Biden just said.

    Is it sexist for women to have supported Donald Trump, or is it sexist to believe that women owed Mrs Clinton their votes simply due to their genitalia? Geraldine Ferraro, the former congresswoman and Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984, labeled the Obama primary campaign in 2008 as “terribly sexist,” and even mused about voting for John McCain in the general election. Of course, Mrs Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign was accused of racism as then-Senator Barack Obama was beating her.

    The Dana in Kentucky (4a7d62)

  6. The much better looking Dana wins the Understatement of the Day Award:

    Biden’s attempt to define what makes someone black certainly certainly wasn’t helpful to the cause.


    The Dana in Kentucky (4a7d62)

  7. An obvious question: if the left believe that it is perfectly legitimate for blacks to vote for black candidates because they are black — something that significantly increased black voter turnout in 2008 and 2012 — or women to vote for female candidates because they are female, why does that not concomitantly mean that it is perfectly legitimate to vote for white candidates because they are white, or male candidates because they are male?

    The Dana in Kentucky (4a7d62)

  8. Biden proves himself to be despicable. All he had to do what shut up but no he had to assert dominion over the people. The Democrats get this backwards every time.

    Dustin (d59cff)

  9. Col. Haiku,

    Do you believe Biden is racist, in that he thinks blacks are inferior?

    Dana (0feb77)

  10. What’s interesting to me is how many black pundits, etc., have said they will vote for Biden in spite of this, because Trump needs to go, and that supersedes all else.

    In other words, Biden could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose any voters.

    Dana (0feb77)

  11. White folks should never define what’s black.

    Nor should some black folks take it upon themselves to decide what is an acceptable political view for other black people to hold.

    Democrats (of all races) take it for granted that white people will have differing opinions on various issues and will choose different political loyalties. But they think black people cannot legitimately hold differing views or make such a choice themselves. They need to be herded into the “correct” camp for their own good.

    That is the fundamentally condescending racial viewpoint of white people on the left, reinforced by the intolerant identity politics of black people on the left.

    The horribleness of Donald Trump didn’t make that condescending attitude go away.

    Radegunda (89f220)

  12. As bad as Trump is, why was he remotely electable? The condescension of his opposing party was probably 90% of it.

    Dustin (d59cff)

  13. In other words, Biden could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose any voters.

    I don’t think it means that at all — especially when he’s running against someone who actually said that and didn’t understand how it might be an awful thing to say. Biden also isn’t the kind of person who believes that nothing he does could ever be wrong and call for an apology.

    He has spoken condescendingly — as many white Democrats have done in the past. But a black voter can reasonably conclude that he’s no more racist than Trump, and that he’s less horrible than Trump in obvious ways.

    Many voters are going to be choosing between a really terrible human being and an obviously flawed but less terrible one.

    Radegunda (89f220)

  14. 9… probably depends on the day, Dana…

    And when he talked about black people being “put in chains”, should the R candidate be elected… probably many other examples of his racism veiled in low expectations out there.

    I do think he’s an asshole.

    Colonel Haiku (09a7e6)

  15. The condescension of his opposing party was probably 90% of it.

    But why have so many Trump voters been willing to overlook Trump’s arrogance and his condescension toward almost everyone else?

    Why did anger at condescension drive people toward someone who had spent his life trying to be recognized widely as one of the elitest of the elite? Someone who always boasted about being richer and smarter and more successful than other people? Someone who said “I alone can fix it”; that he knew more than anyone else about almost any topic?

    Trump loves to soak up the adoration at rallies — but he doesn’t appear to enjoy spending much time getting acquainted with the people whose champion he claims to be. For that and many other reasons, it’s disgusting when Trump’s elite defenders accuse his less-elite critics of being motivated by elitism.

    But when people choose to hero-worship a mentally unstable sociopath and ignoramus, and applaud every bad thing he does as part of a courageous attack on their enemies, I have to wonder why condescension toward them is such a bad thing.

    Radegunda (89f220)

  16. 13,

    What I am saying is that many blacks (and whites) will still vote for Biden in spite of his dripping condescension and disrespect. They are that desperate to see Trump voted out of office. And because they are so desperate, Biden could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue…and they would still vote for him. It’s not that Biden thinks he could do that or has suggested that level of stunning arrogance and depravity, it’s about the intense level of determination to get Trump out of office, no matter what.

    Dana (0feb77)

  17. Trump was smart enough to tap into the frustrations of those feeling left behind or marginalized. It had nothing to do with anything other than exploiting the resentment of a large group of voters. He is still the same boastful, self-centered wanna-be elitist that he ever was. Of course he doesn’t care to spend time with the people he championed. They have nothing to offer him, other than their votes. That’s the sad part of this whole debacle: his base are nothing more to him than the vote they represent. There is no deep sympathy or understanding of them at the human level. They don’t interest him for any reason other than checking off his name on the ballot. Very utilitarian, very Trump.

    Dana (0feb77)

  18. I see nothing to be shocked about Biden’s condescending remark, it’s the exact same thing Democrats (of all colors) have been saying to blacks for decades.

    That it’s a completely racist statement rarely occurs to them, and when it does they know they’ll get a free pass.

    harkin (8f4a6f)

  19. Seems like young black voters are over Biden or never cared about him. Older black voters know Joe and will stick with him. They are the reason we’re talking about him and not Bernie. They know Trump is worse when it comes to race. Trump for instance plays footsie with White Nationalists. Biden doesn’t.

    JRH (52aed3)

  20. Objectively, that is a true statement, within statistical scientific certainty, p-value ≤ 0.05. How many black people are trying to decide between Trump or Biden?

    nk (1d9030)

  21. “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” – Joe Biden, 2020

    Political Piggy.

    “If you ain’t eatin’ Wham, you ain’t eatin’ ham.” – Black Maid Gussie [Louise Beavers] ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’ 1948

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  22. #16 — I’ll concede that you may be right.

    Radegunda (89f220)

  23. JRH,

    I agree with your observations. The chasm between older blacks supporting Biden, and younger voters not can be chocked up to an age gap, I think. They don’t know him, and aren’t interested in yet another old, white guy speaking on their behalf.

    Dana (0feb77)

  24. Everyone knows what they are getting with Biden, before, during, after the primaries. He’s an old white dude whose opinions parallel the mainstream white Catholic progressives of the 60s and 70s. He may have slapped some new paint on them to try to appeal to current progessives, but that’s what’s there. “Man” isn’t him doing a blaccent, it’s a speech pattern left over from being a cool cat in his youth. He’s an old style union Dem with old thought patterns. If you are fine with that (or have resigned yourself to it 😛 ) then you are fine with/ resigned to it. If ya ain’t, ya ain’t. But nothing he says should really surprise anybody.

    Nic (896fdf)

  25. Nic,

    While I also feel that at this point in time nothing Trump says should be surprising, I still find myself surprised all over again when he fires off one of his shocking comments. I go through the initial WHO SAYS THINGS LIKE THAT!!! shock, and then move to the Omg, I can’t believe he said that head-smack... Go figure.

    Dana (0feb77)

  26. Joe, what color is your lawn jockey?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  27. @25 Generally speaking, I don’t find much that Trump says shocks me any more. He’ll say anything. I am sometimes shocked at the other people who then move heaven and earth to support whatever ridiculous thing came out of his mouth, but Trump? He could come out in a clown suit and start yelling for naked fire dancers and then tell us he’d drunk arsenic for his headcold and plans to have a birthday party that’s an antibellum theme complete with slaves and I’d pretty much go, yep, seems like him.

    Nic (896fdf)

  28. If you don’t vote for trump you aint white! This will be next.

    asset (6845bb)

  29. Why did anger at condescension drive people toward someone who had spent his life trying to be recognized widely as one of the elitest of the elite?

    Well said and this blows my mind. But it feels unfair to deflect Biden’s bad behavior by referencing that I think Trump is worse. I wouldn’t let a Trump fan get away with the reverse.

    Biden’s shown how much he really respects the black voter’s decision making. He should instead simply ask for their support, say he doesn’t take them for granted, explain how he can do better than what’s clearly not worked in the past. But no. If you don’t support Biden you’re an Uncle Tom.

    Dustin (d59cff)

  30. I liked that Charlamagne put a stop to trying to bring Trump into the mix:

    It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact I want something for my community

    It speaks well of the radio host’s ability to cut through the crap and to not let Biden off the hook just because he is a Democrat and has a history of connecting with the black community. I would like to see other elected officials have to face that kind of honesty and refusal to play their PR games.

    Dana (0feb77)

  31. Democrats say they hate the old racist white guy currently occupying the Oval Office, but they sure seem intent on voting in their own old racist white guy.

    Hoi Polloi (dc4124)

  32. 31. LBJ was the original Old Racist White Guy(TM).

    We’ll have those [expletive deleted]s voting Democrat for 100 years!

    Gryph (08c844)

  33. “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” — George Bernard Shaw

    Clarence Thomas is the only black person I can think of who might be “trying to decide” between Trump or Biden.

    A couple of dozen of Ben Carson’s ilk have are not trying to decide anything — they’re voting for their orange rice bowl.

    So yeah, it’s a 95% and better certainty that people “trying to decide between Trump or Biden” are not black.

    nk (1d9030)

  34. But within the 85 to 90 % black and Not-Trump, its actually between Biden / leaving the top line unchecked / not voting.

    urbanleftbehind (0594f9)

  35. If Biden or his campaign advisors do not realize that this is one election where he must pander the least and stick to the center as much as possible, he deserves to lose. Because, speaking personally, I can hold my nose only so tightly. Not that I’ll vote for the putrid pile of orange putridity, but I ain’t putting no Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams a faltering heartbeat away from the Presidency nuther.

    nk (1d9030)

  36. In the post, I commented that, unless Biden’s “gaffe” blows over, he’d be pushed to choose a black woman to be his veep if he wants to keep the black voting bloc. (Not that they would go to Trump, but they might sit it out.) Now, after Friday’s radio debacle, host Charlamagne Tha God said that there is no way that Biden should choose a white veep:

    “I think that would be suicide for Joe Biden’s campaign,” he said. “If he did that, especially at this moment, after the comments that he made. . . . He would be a fool not to put a black woman as his running mate.”

    Amy Klobuchar, who is rumored to be someone Biden is considering for the slot, is facing renewed criticism against her by Democratic strategists and black activists, who are warning the Biden campaign not to select her as his running mate. Critics of Klobuchar are citing her record as record as a Minneapolis-area prosecutor, her lack of ties to the black community, and her poor showing with black voters in the primaries.

    Dana (0feb77)

  37. I’m also of the mind Black political nirvana is Trump – to keep me, Felipe and Nars and the other rival POC in check – plus whichever Congress keeps the federal largesse rolling into their communities and federal offices where they work. Demonstrative public support for Biden in the primaries just means they dont have catch crap for it from the rest of Demdom until Thanksgiving.

    urbanleftbehind (0594f9)

  38. Biden told Charlamagne Tha God that:

    Take a look at my record. I extended the Voting Rights Act for 25 years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP’s endorsed me every time I’ve run.

    The NAACP today:

    ‘We want to clarify that the NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office at any level,’ wrote Johnson.

    ‘Persons affiliated with the NAACP at the national, state, and local levels are free to make candidate endorsements in a personal capacity, but they do not reflect support by the NAACP as an organization.’

    Dana (0feb77)

  39. Stacy abrams will go bast sh*t crazy if biden doesn’t pick her and kamela harris was a controversial prosecutor with a lot of baggage in the black community with young militans and older black men.

    asset (8c634d)

  40. But if it blows over and is dismissed with an exasperated “Oh, that’s just Joe being Joe” eyeroll, then his options for a vice president remain open.

    But he;s still committed to a woman.

    This is not so bad if he has an actual person in mind, but he probably doesn’t.

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  41. Mr Finkelman wrote:

    But he;s still committed to a woman.

    This is not so bad if he has an actual person in mind, but he probably doesn’t.

    Given that Mr Biden is visibly losing his marbles, the vice presidential candidate is of utmost importance; if elected, Mr Biden might not finish his term.

    And that would leave Elizabeth Warren or Stacey Abrams or Kamala Harris as President; can we really risk that?

    The Dana in Kentucky (a88230)

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