Joe Biden got himself in hot water yesterday with one of his characteristic gaffes. He told a radio host, ď[I]f you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black.Ē
OK, it was tone deaf and more than a bit goofy. And old white guy trying to define ďblackĒ for African Americans is never going to go over well, and the best thing Biden could do is apologize and retract promptly and whole-heartedly. Yeah, he was annoyed at the questioner, but thatís no excuse.
And he did apologize, because while he blurts things out, he isnít stupid. According to the Guardian, he said, ďI shouldnít have been such a wise guy,Ē on a call with the US Black Chambers, an African-American business group, which was added to his public schedule. ďI shouldnít have been so cavalier.Ē Biden also said he would never ďtake the African American community for grantedĒ.
He isnít likely to lose many African-American votes over this, because about 95% of all African Americans know they would have to be out of their goddamned minds to support Trump and his racist party. But the Republicans will howl in their usual ersatz moral outrage. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina (R-Lawn Jockeys) huffed that ďThat is the most condescending and arrogant comment I've heard in a very long time."
Really, Scotty? Try this one on for size, from David Drucker of the Washington Examiner last month: ďPresident Trump earned a 19% job approval rating from black voters in the latest Fox News poll as the Trump reelection campaign works to double the 8% support he received from this cohort four years ago.Ē
Cohort? Really? Yes the word was used correctly, if unfortunately. In modern American usage, it has a rather unsavory connotation, suggesting criminality. Or at least disrepute. The use of the term dripped with condensation and arrogance. Scotty, do you think you can get permission from Trump to criticize that remark? Iím curious.
Republicans donít like African-Americans, donít respect them, and donít care about them. Itís not a secret, and Iím surprised that as many as 19% of African-Americans would support Trump in any way, shape or form. Indeed, most non-Faux polls show his support around 5-8%. At this point, only fascists or fools support Trump, and the worst of his supporters support him precisely because he wants to remove African-Americans from the national equation.
Biden has a chance to learn a valuable lesson here. He may well have meant nothing more than to state a belief that African-Americans as a whole arenít fascists or fools but by saying it the way he said, he has taken the support of African-Americans for granted, with a tone of ďYou have to vote for me because you donít have any real choice in the matter.Ē Itís the same mistake that allowed Hillary to lose, if technically, to the worst candidate any major party has ever offered in American history.
It isnít enough to inspire people to vote against Trump and his filthy party. Trump and the Republicans are doing a fine job of that. Biden has to give people something to vote FOR. If he campaigns with a tone of ďYouíre stuck with me, cheap datesĒ then people arenít going to vote for Trump, but they are going to stay home and sit on their hands. He canít blow off labor, the poor, scientists, intellectuals, minorities, women and the left and hope to beat Trump. Trump will get 55 million votes because America has a lot of fools and and relatively few, but very powerful fascists. Biden has to stand strong for policies that will directly affect the groups whose votes he needs to overcome the vicious cult of the Republican party. It isnít enough that he supported the Voting Right Act over the past 25 years; Republicans have gutted that, and he has to promise to restore it. Obamacare canít address the needs of the people in this era of plagueóhe must support universal health care. It isnít enough to support minimum wage increases and Social Security: he has to fight for a guaranteed universal income that will give everyone home and food security, especially in these times.
If he canít do that, then the Dems need to consider another candidate and call for an open convention. If he can, heíll win.
But the Dems and Biden donít fully understand that itís not enough to weakly oppose the vicious authoritarianism of the GOP. They must be prepared to fight it, with every tool at their disposal. If the Dems canít do that, people will turn off and just wait for the inevitable collapse and massive strife that GOP rule will bring.
Biden canít say stupid shit like, ď[I]f you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black.Ē He has to make people realize that if we donít defeat Trumpism and defeat it thoroughly, then we ainít nothing. It wonít matter if we were black, liberal, female, whatever; weíll all be getting crushed in the wheels of Trumpís endless cruelty and malice.
If we canít see the difference between Biden and Trump, then we ainít human. But itís up to Biden to make the difference between the two meaningful.
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Posted: June 19, 2020