When His Poll Numbers Go Low, So Does Biden

COMMENTARY Progressivism

When His Poll Numbers Go Low, So Does Biden

May 28, 2024 4 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez

Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Senior Fellow

Mike is the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks onstage during the 2024 140th Morehouse College Commencement Ceremony at Morehouse College on May 19, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. Paras Griffin / WireImage

Key Takeaways

Biden told Morehouse’s graduating students that black men are being killed in the streets by “white supremacy,” and that America does not love them.

The president could have had a more impactful, if tougher, conversation about why black males are so overrepresented in murder statistics.

Biden may not get that he can endear himself to an audience without making them out to be aggrieved victims and himself the savior.

This past Sunday, the president of the United States addressed the graduating class of Morehouse College and proceeded to pour venom into their hearts—malice against the society they now join as working adults ready to make lifelong contributions.

We still have almost six months to go before the 2024 election finally has its day of reckoning, so sadly we can expect more of this grievance-stoking in the months to come. 

Morehouse is a men-only, historically black college or university, and in Atlanta, no less. Black men are a key constituency and Georgia a prized battleground state.

And Joe Biden is not just our head of state and head of government—positions of such symbolic and political power that nearly all of our allies split these roles. He’s also a candidate for reelection, and his support among black men is ebbing. A recent Wall Street Journal poll shows him winning them 57%-30% to former President Donald Trump, far behind his 2020 numbers of 87%-12%.

As Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears said to WMAL host Vince Coglianese on Monday, “When his poll numbers go low, he goes low.”

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That explains why Biden told Morehouse’s graduating students that black men are being killed in the streets by “white supremacy,” and that America does not love them.

“It’s natural to wonder if democracy you hear about actually works for you,” the president said to the young, impressionable minds he faced, employing the garrulous tones he’s exhibited on the campaign trail. “What is democracy if black men are being killed in the street? What is democracy if a trail of broken promises still leave black communities behind? What is democracy if you have to be 10 times better than anyone else to get a fair shot?”

“And most of all,” Biden added, “what does it mean, as we’ve heard before, to be a black man who loves his country even if it doesn’t love him back in equal measure?”

Republicans, continued Biden, seek “to erase history. They don’t see you in the future of America.” But not Biden. “If black men are being killed on the streets, we bear witness. For me, that means to call out the poison of white supremacy, to root out systemic racism.”

A quick Google search for “Biden,” “Morehouse,” and “fact check,” reveals that the stalwart defenders of truth, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have not yet bothered to fact-check Biden (though Reuters headlined its story, “Biden reaches out to Morehouse grads on Gaza, warns of risk to democracy”).

Biden wasn’t wrong that far too many black men are victims of homicide. FBI figures show that in 2019, black Americans made up 53.7% of murder victims for whom the race was known, despite being around 12% of the population, compared to the 42% of murder victims who were white. And men comprise by far the largest percentage of murder victims of all races: 88%.

But it is hard if not well-nigh impossible to claim that these are victims of “white supremacy” or “systemic racism.” In fact, 89% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, the data show. Most murder is intraracial: 79% of white murder victims were killed by other white people.

That, of course, does not fit Biden’s message that the America that now beckons these young men does not love them, and in fact kills them, with only Biden standing in the way. The president could have had a more impactful, if tougher, conversation about why black males are so overrepresented in murder statistics. But apparently that’s not Biden.

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As to the claim that the men he faced have to work 10 times harder “than anyone else to get a fair shot,” as Coglianese pointed out to Sears, Morehouse itself boasts that the mean starting salary of a graduate is $76,543 a year. What is it for other colleges? Indeed.com tells us it’s $55,260.

The president is a late bloomer in the business of social-justice warrioring, so he may not get that he can endear himself to an audience without making them out to be aggrieved victims and himself the savior.

In fact, he’s better known for having opposed busing in the 1970s, not because it didn’t work, but because otherwise, “my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle.” Or, how about when he complained in 2006 about people moving to Delaware from India, saying, “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”

A year later, when he ran against former President Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, he quipped that the then-Illinois senator was “the first sort of mainstream African American … who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

Maybe Biden never studied Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, economist Thomas Sowell, or author Shelby Steele—all not just articulate, bright, and “clean,” but consummately refined and erudite scholars. Or Martin Luther King Jr. and W.E.B. Du Bois, for that matter, who were also all those things.

Biden could have talked to the Morehouse men of these shining examples, or said anything uplifting. The first thing on a graduate’s mind is getting a job, and the last thing they need to hear is how uphill the terrain will be in a country that has no love for them.

But maybe Biden, who graduated college in 1965, when Lyndon B. Johnson was president, has forgotten that.

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner

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