The major asset and central feature of the Joe Biden for President campaign is the overwhelming support he has in terms of enthusiasm and numbers from the African-American community. Any pundit or political journalist “wannabe” who fails to take notice of the Biden strength in the African-American community is guilty of journalistic and political malpractice in the extreme.
The forthcoming year of 2020 in the Democratic Party will be the year of the African-American-voter. The African-American vote presently constitutes approximately 25 percent of the Democratic Party primary electorate.
As long as Joe Biden continues to maintain above all other candidates the loyalty and support of the African-American community, he will win both the Democratic presidential nomination and the White House in November. For the African-American community, the reelection of Donald Trump constitutes a mortal danger to their civil rights and liberties. The reelection of Donald Trump will be an endangerment to the African-American community, relegating them to the status of second-class citizenship.
Donald Trump is the most virulent racist to occupy the Oval Office since Woodrow Wilson. His career is replete with examples of not only his adherence to white supremacist beliefs but also outright hatred of Americans of color. These include: his barring of rentals to African-Americans in his Brooklyn projects in the 1970s, his advocacy of the death penalty for the Central Park Five, even after they had been vindicated and conclusively cleared, and his leadership in the Birther Movement, which spread racist lies about the American citizenship of Barack Obama.
And it has been the focus of the Trump administration to translate his racist beliefs into official racist governmental policy. Two events last week ingrained Trump racism as official Republican Party doctrine and the policy of the US government, as long as Trump remains in the White House.
The first was the vote passed by the House of Representatives to reinstate and bolster the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an action absolutely necessary to prevent Republican efforts at voter suppression against African-Americans, such as that implemented by the GOP in the Georgia gubernatorial election of 2018. Only one Republican House member voted for passage of this measure. And Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to have this act called for a vote in the Senate.
Perhaps Mitch McConnell is not a racist. Perhaps the Republican members of the House are not racists. But they are all acquiescing in the racism of Donald Trump. And such acquiescence is as destructive to African-Americans as racist advocacy itself.
The second event of GOP acquiescence to Trump racism was the message of Attorney General Bill Barr to the African-American community that if they complained about police brutality, they risked losing police protection. The message to police practitioners of racist brutality is that Donald Trump and Bill Barr will always have your back.
Not a single GOP member of the House or Senate raised an objection to Trump/Barr racist support of police brutality. Acquiescence in Trump/Barr racism is the GOP order of the day.
As I have mentioned in previous columns, Joe Biden is not beloved in the African -American community in the sense that Robert Kennedy was. No contemporary white American politician is. But among all the white presidential candidates, Joe Biden is by far the most trusted by African-Americans.
And at a time when Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the civil rights and liberties of African-Americans, Biden is hardly likely to lose African-American support because of the kerfuffle over Hunter Biden, a controversy which does not have a scintilla of evidence of unlawful conduct on the part of Hunter or Joe Biden. The kerfuffle merely involves an appearance question as to whether it was wise politically for Hunter Biden to accept monies from Burisma at a time when Joe Biden was investigating corruption in Ukraine. There is no evidence that Joe Biden ever uttered a word of conversation with Ukraine or American officials on behalf of Burisma.
Nor does Donald Trump, a model of presidential mendacity have an iota of credibility when it comes to asserting a case of illicit foreign involvement on the part of a Biden family member, given 1) the welter of controversies regarding his son-in-law Jared Kushner, including his connections with Saudi prince MBS and the role Qatar played in the investment fund that bailed out the Kushner property at 666 Fifth Avenue; and 2) Trump’s violations of the Constitutional foreign emoluments clause, given the receipt by Trump hotels of monies paid by visiting foreign diplomats.
In fact, the credibility of Trump was eviscerated yesterday by release of the report of Department of Justice Inspector-General Michael Horowitz. Donald Trump had alleged for three years an FBI agent “deep state “conspiracy , claiming that 1) the FBI had no basis for investigating a possible connection between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 American election; 2) the FBI investigation was motivated by anti-Trump bias; and 3) the FBI had placed spies in the Trump campaign. The Horowitz report found all three of these allegations to be without merit.
Joe Biden is not a perfect individual, but he has been for five decades a public servant of unassailable integrity and ethics, especially as compared with Donald Trump, a failed businessman surrounded by a bodyguard of lies and corruption. The Trump smear of Hunter Biden will not impair the Joe Biden march to the White House.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.