Biden courts crucial Black voting bloc in key state of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – (warsoor) – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday said Black turnout was the linchpin to his hopes of winning the White House in November and reversing economic and social inequities that have held back African-Americans.

Noting that the coronavirus pandemic has hit the minority community especially hard, Biden said Black Americans would only achieve equality once they were in a position to build wealth, and voting was the starting point.

“There’s only one way to do it. We gotta show up and vote,” he told a Black economic summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he vowed to boost Black home ownership and push other policies to help African-American workers and businesses.

Biden has targeted North Carolina, which Republican President Donald Trump won by about 4 percentage points in the 2016 election, as a state he might reclaim in the Nov. 3 vote.

Wednesday’s trip was Biden’s first to North Carolina since winning the Democratic nomination. Trump visited the state as recently as last weekend and plans to campaign just across the border in coastal Virginia on Saturday.

A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows Trump and Biden running neck and neck in the state, which also has a crucial U.S. Senate race, as Democrats seek to reclaim control of the Senate.

About one-fifth of the electorate in North Carolina in 2016 was Black, according to exit polls, and turnout among African-Americans could decide the result there. The first dip in Black turnout in 20 years contributed to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss to Trump in 2016.

Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama, the first African-American president, has detailed economic plans tailored to Black voters, including investing more than $70 billion in historically Black colleges and boosting investment and opportunities for Black-owned small businesses.

Some of Biden’s supporters worry he has waited too long to engage Black voters in North Carolina.

“I don’t think they are hollow observations. He could have been more aggressive early on,” said Dan Blue, the Democratic minority leader in North Carolina’s Senate and a Biden supporter. “That being said, things are really ramping up right now and people are feeling the urgency.”

SOURCE: Reuters