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Opinion: Trump's a disaster for black voters, but they also need to hold Biden accountable

May 27, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

David A. Love writes that while President Trump may be a disaster for the black community and people of color, presumptive Democratic nominee Vice President Joe Biden needs to do better for one of his most loyal voting demographics, especially following a recent radio appearance where he said black voters who supported Trump "ain't black." The interview showed that Biden must go beyond rhetoric and engage on the issues that matter most to black voters.

Up to this point in the interview, former Vice President Biden spoke about his campaign, institutional racism and the challenges facing the black community.

The interview showed that Biden must engage on the issues that matter to black voters, and demonstrated the importance of the black community to the Democratic Party and Biden the presidential candidate.

That Trump is an existential threat to black lives does not mean African Americans cannot and should not hold Biden accountable on race and force him to become a better and more thoughtful candidate who is responsive to their needs and issues.

Efforts to lobby Biden to choose a black woman as his running mate, and the insistence he not select a white centrist in the mold of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (reportedly also being vetted) reflect a desire among many black voters to demand more from those in leadership and power in exchange for their support.

One critique of Biden is that as a white person, he was speaking out of turn in that interview and had no right or authority to define blackness, even as many African Americans might agree that voting for Trump is a reckless pursuit.

Perhaps Biden became too familiar with black voters, acted too much like he was one of us.

Biden's latest incident isn't his first, and reminds me of former President Bill Clinton, who during the 2016 campaign was campaigning for his wife Hillary in Philadelphia and found himself in a heated exchange with Black Lives Matter activists over his -- and incidentally, Biden's -- 1994 crime bill.

A comparison between Clinton and Biden is particularly revealing because it demonstrates the history of bad policies that black voters have had to accept for the payoff of more diverse political representation and attention.

Biden, like Clinton, presents black voters with a conflicting picture; he served under the first black president in a White House -- one with a strong commitment to civil rights.

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