Here's why Joe Biden is ahead right now: white Democratic voters are almost solely concerned with health care and climate change, but for black and Hispanic Dems, it's health care and jobs as the Great Recession wiped out black and Hispanic wealth in 2007 and we're still dealing with that 12 years later.
A key base of support for the Democratic Party, black America, is lagging in its recovery from the recession and demanding more attention to economic issues than white voters. That divide could complicate presidential contenders’ attempts to woo African-American votes in 2020.
A decade after the financial crisis, with national employment below 4 percent and wage gains slowly accelerating for typical workers, white Democrats largely see economic issues as a lower priority, according to polling conducted for The New York Times by the online research firm SurveyMonkey. The opposite is true for African-Americans, who are struggling even as the economy is growing relatively fast, and who want candidates to focus on job creation above all else.
Black Democrats are more likely than white Democrats to say they benefit “less than most others” from the current economy. They are significantly more likely than whites to call jobs and the economy the most important issue facing the nation. White Democrats are significantly more likely to cite health care as the top issue, followed by the environment, with jobs a distant third.
The difference holds even when controlling for age, education, employment status and other voter traits that are not related to race.
“There has been an economic boom for some people but not enough people, and certainly not enough people who look like me,” said Joyce Wilson Harley, a survey respondent and former Democratic elected official in South Orange, N.J.
Ms. Harley, who is black, said she was doing fine financially. But she said she didn’t have to look far to see people who were struggling. And she said mainstream Democrats, including many presidential candidates, had focused too little on jobs, wages and other core economic issues. If Democrats were listening to black voters, she said, “you’d be hearing more about economic opportunities.”
“It’s almost like they don’t get it,” Ms. Harley, 68, said. “The black women who carry the party, we were ignored and really highly disrespected, and our issues weren’t as important to the Democrats as they should be given that we’re the base of the Democratic Party.”
And the guy whose stump speeches every time are about how Trump is wrecking jobs and how he wants to bring back the good things Obama did is winning because that's what black and Hispanic voters want to get fixed.
Yes, Joe Biden is bullshit on Anita Hill, he's bullshit on the Clinton Crime Bill, he's bullshit on the Hyde Amendment. But he's got a lot of juice with black folk especially for being Obama's veep, and he's talking jobs that are passing us by in the era of Trump's white supremacist bullshit.
Next week Trump's Mexico tariffs go into effect. That's going to be a direct tax on American consumers and the folks who can afford it the least are gonna be black and Hispanic. I want to hear Democrats shouting this fact from the mountaintops.
Everyone says the economy is "good". It's not. It's getting worse, and quickly, for those of us on the margins. Joe Biden, for all his patriarchal Good Catholic space-invading carcerial state garbage, actually seems to understand that the most.
The point is, if other Dems hit this same message? Other Dems who were, you know, better candidates overall than Biden, without sliding into "we've got to win back white working class America!" territory?
There's your path.