Sunday, April 14, 2024

Thoughts: What a person of color thinks Biden can do to help the White working folks

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As a Black academic who closely follows US politics, I often get asked why some Black voters seem to be leaning towards Donald Trump. But I think we’re asking the wrong question.

Sure, more Black Americans are thinking about voting Republican, which worries Democrats. But what’s really important is why so few white working-class folks are leaning towards the Democrats. For almost 50 years, Republicans have been winning the white vote.

President Biden talks about being friendly to workers, so could he win over the white working class and give the Democrats a boost? Issues like healthcare, education, and childcare have been big for the Democrats, so why aren’t they connecting with these voters?

If you’re white, even with just a high school education, you’re better off than many Black or brown folks. But many white working-class people still feel resentful.

Back in 1935, W.E.B. Du Bois talked about how racism gave white workers a sense of superiority. Democrats have been struggling to connect with working-class white voters ever since. Many felt left behind, especially after trade deals led to job losses.

During Trump’s rise, many poor whites felt like they were losing out. They saw Trump as someone who understood them, unlike politicians who seemed to look down on them.

There’s a big gap between how white and Black voters see things. Black Americans tend to be more optimistic despite facing challenges.

During Obama’s presidency, some white working-class folks hoped a Black leader would help them. But they didn’t feel the benefits.

Even though things got better after the 2008 financial crisis, many white working-class families didn’t feel it. They didn’t see Obamacare as helping them much either.

Some of them are drawn to Trump’s message, which plays on white grievances.

But both white and Black voters want similar things: security, respect, and a better future. Biden needs to show he’s on their side.

Democrats need to acknowledge that white working-class Americans have been left behind and come up with plans to help them. Biden has already made efforts, but there’s more to do.

The issue of inflation worries many Americans, especially those with limited incomes. Biden needs to address this more aggressively.

In his State of the Union address, Biden should promise to push for a higher minimum wage, tackle affordable housing, and support small businesses.

Many Americans still believe in the American Dream, but they need to see it as attainable again.

If Democrats can tap into this hope, they can bring together working people of all backgrounds. Martin Luther King, Jr. was working towards this before he was killed.

Biden needs to convince working-class Americans, regardless of race, that he can deliver for them. Otherwise, he might miss out on crucial votes in the upcoming election.

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