Some 2020 Democratic candidates – most notably Sen. Cory Booker – have pounced on former vice president Joe Biden’s recent comments about working with segregationist senators to get stuff done throughout his career.
But the most powerful African American lawmaker in the country said that while he wishes Biden would have been more artful in his comments, he knows “where his heart is.”
“Joe has a record,” Rep. James Clyburn said. “[South Carolina voters] will tell you in a minute, ‘I’m gonna watch your deeds. I don’t care about your words.’ And that means a lot to South Carolinians.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) June 22, 2019
The African American community knows Joe Biden has their back
While other 2020 Democrats and the political media have focused heavily on the controversy surrounding Joe Biden’s comments, there’s a reason why polling shows African American voters support the former VP.
They know that he will have their back as president, just as he did as a civil rights advocate in the U.S. Senate and when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president.
And while some folks will inevitably scoff at this, it is a big deal – not just to the African American community but to Americans from all backgrounds – that Biden always had the first black president’s back.
As The Daily Beast’s Adam Howard pointed out, “Biden never undermined Obama. He cheered him on … or nudged him in the right direction (it took his same sex marriage gaffe to push the president to get on the right side of history faster than he was planning to) but he was deferential in all the right ways to the first black president.”
The Daily Beast added that the endless theories about Biden’s support from the African American community “overlook something less tangible and quantifiable: how much the sincere, integrated friendship of Biden and Obama (and their families) was cathartic and inspirational.”
There is no question that Biden was inartful in his recent comments and should be more careful going forward. But as Rep. Jim Clyburn said on Saturday, voters care about deeds more than words, and Joe Biden has a strong record to stand on.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.