Biden Ain’t Black
and Blacks aren’t Fascists and Fools
May 22nd 2020
Joe Biden got himself in hot water yesterday with one of his characteristic gaffes. He told a radio host, “[I]f you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
OK, it was tone deaf and more than a bit goofy. And old white guy trying to define “black” 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 that’s no excuse.
And he did apologize, because while he blurts things out, he isn’t stupid. According to the Guardian, he said, “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” on a call with the US Black Chambers, an African-American business group, which was added to his public schedule. “I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.” Biden also said he would never “take the African American community for granted”.
He isn’t 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 “That 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: “President 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.”
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? I’m curious.
Republicans don’t like African-Americans, don’t respect them, and don’t care about them. It’s not a secret, and I’m 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 aren’t 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 “You have to vote for me because you don’t have any real choice in the matter.” It’s the same mistake that allowed Hillary to lose, if technically, to the worst candidate any major party has ever offered in American history.
It isn’t 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 “You’re stuck with me, cheap dates” then people aren’t going to vote for Trump, but they are going to stay home and sit on their hands. He can’t 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 isn’t 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 can’t address the needs of the people in this era of plague—he must support universal health care. It isn’t 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 can’t do that, then the Dems need to consider another candidate and call for an open convention. If he can, he’ll win.
But the Dems and Biden don’t fully understand that it’s 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 can’t do that, people will turn off and just wait for the inevitable collapse and massive strife that GOP rule will bring.
Biden can’t say stupid shit like, “[I]f you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” He has to make people realize that if we don’t defeat Trumpism and defeat it thoroughly, then we ain’t nothing. It won’t matter if we were black, liberal, female, whatever; we’ll all be getting crushed in the wheels of Trump’s endless cruelty and malice.
If we can’t see the difference between Biden and Trump, then we ain’t human. But it’s up to Biden to make the difference between the two meaningful.