Biden to Visit Charleston to Boost Support Among Black Voters

Biden to Visit Charleston to Boost Support Among Black Voters

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Recent polls showed that President Biden is struggling to connect with Black, Hispanic, and young voters.

CHARLESTON, S.C.—President Joe Biden is set to visit Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday to deliver a speech at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church as part of his 2024 campaign push. He’s expected to call out “political violence” and emphasize what is at stake in the upcoming election.

The president’s visit to South Carolina is also seen as an effort to boost his standing with Black voters, especially given recent declines in his approval ratings among this group.

Established in 1816, Mother Emanuel is one of the South’s oldest black congregations, bearing immense cultural significance. On June 17, 2015, the church witnessed a tragic event in which nine black parishioners were shot and killed by a white man.

President Biden’s decision to speak at this symbolic location is viewed as a deliberate choice, aimed at targeting “white supremacy.”

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after the mass shooting that killed nine people on June 19, 2015. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after the mass shooting that killed nine people on June 19, 2015. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Recent polls showed that President Biden is struggling to connect with Black, Hispanic, and young voters who traditionally lean Democrat.

According to a December poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, only 50 percent of Black adults approve of President Biden, down from 86 percent in July 2021.

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Another poll by USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll showed that former President Donald Trump, who is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, is leading among Hispanic voters and young people. According to the poll, one in every five Black voters now plans to vote for a third-party candidate in the 2024 election.

These results fuel concerns about President Biden’s reelection prospects.

Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, stated on Jan. 7 that he was “very concerned” about the president’s declining support among black voters and that he had discussed his concerns with the president. He said that President Biden’s legislative victories are not boosting voter sentiment.

“I have no problem with the Biden administration and what he has done,” Mr. Clyburn told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“My problem is we have not been able to break through that MAGA wall in order to get to people exactly what this president has done.”

Monday is poised to be an eventful day in Charleston. Alongside Biden’s campaign event, the inauguration of mayor-elect William Cogswell will take place, heightening the political activity in the historic city. Mr. Cogswell will be the first Republican mayor since 1877.

‘Sacred Cause’

To consolidate support among critical Democratic voters, President Biden has recently adjusted his approach, firmly focusing on what he sees as the threat to democracy posed by former President Trump.

Before his South Carolina visit, President Biden delivered a searing address near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, which served as George Washington’s headquarters for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

During his speech, President Biden drew a parallel between what he called his fight for the “preservation of American democracy” and George Washington’s “sacred cause” during the struggle for American independence nearly 250 years ago.

He claimed that the re-election of former President Trump posed a grave threat to democracy and fundamental freedoms.

“Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time,” President Biden said. “And it’s what the 2024 election is all about.”

In his Valley Forge speech, marking the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, President Biden also condemned his predecessor for encouraging a “violent mob” to storm the U.S. Capitol.

Trump campaign advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles pushed back in a memo issued last week, claiming that the current president is the greater threat to American democracy.

“Please make no mistake: Joe Biden and his allies are a real and compelling threat to our Democracy,” they said. “In fact, in a way never seen before in our history, they are waging a war against it.”

They cited “unprecedented indictments by the political opposition” against the former president as well as recent “unconstitutional efforts” to remove him from the ballot as examples of threats to American democracy.

President Trump, on Jan. 5, during a campaign rally in Sioux Center, Iowa, accused the president of “abusing Washington’s legacy.”

“Biden’s record is an unbroken streak of weakness, incompetence, corruption, and failure,” he said, calling the president’s campaign speech “fear-mongering” and “pathetic.”

During a campaign stop in Clinton, Iowa, on Jan. 6, President Trump also called individuals imprisoned for their roles in the January 6 riot “hostages.”

“They’ve suffered enough,” President Trump said. “I call them hostages. Some people call them prisoners.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the House Republican conference chairwoman, expressed similar concerns on Jan. 7 during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I have concerns about the treatment of January 6 hostages,“ she said. ”We have a role in Congress of oversight over our treatment of prisoners, and I believe we’re seeing the weaponization of the federal government against not just President Trump, but we’re seeing it against conservatives.”

According to a recent Washington Post-University of Maryland survey, 34 percent of Republicans believe the FBI coordinated and encouraged the Capitol breach, compared to 30 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats.

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