J. Pharoah Doss, for the New Pittsburgh Courier
Last week, Terrence Woodbury, CEO of HIT Strategies, a minority-owned millennial research firm, acknowledged that President Biden’s approval rating among black voters had fallen from 86 percent to 78 percent, with 72 percent of black voters saying their lives has not improved since Biden took office.
Woodbury suggested that the Democratic Party needed to demonstrate to black voters that progress had already been made on their top issues. This is the only way to get the high black voter turnout that is so desperately needed to defeat the Republicans in the midterm elections.
HIT Strategies conducted a survey to report on progress. The “top four” issues surveyed were racial justice, climate justice, economic justice, and criminal justice reform.
As for the first three, it’s important to remember that when a question ends in “fairness,” that means it’s a subcategory of “social justice,” but “social justice” is a progressive priority, not necessarily a priority for the average black voter.
When it comes to racial justice, 88 percent of those polled believe that progress has been made in this area because the Biden administration declared white supremacy a national threat and Congress passed an anti-lynching bill.
The average person doesn’t associate the terms “climate” with “justice,” but according to HIT Strategies, 80 percent of black voters surveyed believe “significant progress” has been made in cleaning up existing hazardous waste, holding corporations accountable for waste, and ensuring full compensation victims of environmental injustice.
Since economic justice is at the core of “social justice,” it is important to clarify that “justice” means “correcting unequal outcomes” caused by “the system.”
This time, only 13 percent of black voters polled said there had been “significant progress.” Still, 62 percent said there was “some progress” because the Biden administration raised the minimum wage for federal civilian employees, canceled $50,000 in student loan debt for each borrower and extended supplemental unemployment benefits for six months.
The fourth issue was criminal justice reform.
80 percent of black voters polled say “some progress” has been made by Biden’s executive orders, which created a national database to track officers with allegations of misconduct, limited federal officers’ use of restraining orders and banned federal officers from using chokeholds.
HIT Strategies said their poll found the Biden administration has made progress on “key issues” for black voters, but black voters are largely unaware of progress on their key issues, leading to cynicism, apathy and a lack of morale for voting.
Armed with data from HIT Strategies, the Democratic Party launched an ad campaign to boost black voter morale by promoting its progress report on four top issues for black voters. This advertising campaign also encouraged black voters to vote the Democratic ticket so that the party could continue to advance.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but for the desperate measure to succeed, the Democratic Party cannot be so disconnected from the average black voter.
Racial justice, climate justice, economic justice, and criminal justice reform are not top issues for the average black voter. The subcategories of social justice and criminal justice reform are issues that progressives insist black voters should prioritize the “marginalized” community, but the average black voter doesn’t care about “marginalized” choices in this midterm election. He or she, like all other Americans, is deeply concerned about the rising cost of living and how the poor American economy will recover.
If black voters lacked morale about voting in the midterm elections, it wasn’t because they weren’t aware of the progress the Biden administration was making on “marginalized issues,” but because they were fully aware that they voted for the Democratic ticket in 2020 and did not want to make the same mistake in 2022.