Black men in Georgia were key for Biden in 2020. Can he keep their support?

James Butler, a Black, 42-year-old Atlanta-based Democrat, is planning on casting his ballot for President BIden in November —  but he isn’t so enthusiastic this time around. 

“I guess it’s the best we got,” he said about the 2024 election.

Butler’s not alone among Black voters in Georgia in his lack of enthusiasm in voting for Mr. Biden for a second time. 

A CBS News poll in late February showed 76% of likely Black voters said they backed his reelection bid, down from 87% who voted for him in 2020. In 2020, Georgia was one of Mr. Biden’s closest victories, with fewer than 12,000 voters making the difference — and Black voters were a key part of Mr. Biden’s winning coalition there.

The Biden-Harris campaign appears to have taken notice. Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday kicked off a multistate tour in Atlanta, to talk about investments in Black communities and opportunities for minority families to build wealth under the Biden administration.

Democrat Raphael Warnock Campaigns In Final Days Before Runoff Election
A member of the audience wearing a ‘Black Voters Still Matter’ t-shirt from Georgia NAACP as Georgia Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally December 3, 2022 in Hephzibah, Georgia. 

Win McNamee / Getty Images

“We’re going to keep talking about the record and the work that is being done to advance the economic opportunity for young Black men across this country,” said Michael Tyler, a campaign spokesperson.

Organizers with the New Georgia Project, a Black voter advocacy group based in Atlanta, believe younger males have been particularly slow to return to Mr. Biden’s fold.

“Young Black men are more likely to say that they will vote for Trump,” said Ranada Robinson, a researcher for the New Georgia Project. “But, what I am most concerned about this year is that about 30% was undecided at the time of our poll.”

Robinson says misinformation is playing a large role in the waning interest of some Black men in Mr. Biden.

“Particularly online, there are some narratives that misplace the credit for some of the wins that we’ve seen in America,” she said. “There’s also some misplacement of blame. When you see certain Supreme Court decisions or some of the things that have long term impacts of past administrations, this administration is suffering the consequences of it.”

But other supporters of the president say they just aren’t excited about a 2020 rematch.

“I think my vote’s the same, but I’m less enthusiastic,” said Phillip Dunwood, 21, a student at Georgia State University. “It’s more like, ‘alright, let’s get it over with’.”

Meanwhile, Republicans are looking to peel Black men off Mr. Biden’s base, but they don’t have the resources they had in previous cycles. The RNC’s Black American Community Center in College Park, Georgia was one of many minority outreach centers that opened ahead of the 2022 midterms that are now shuttered. 

“We can do a better job [at outreach],” said Azad Ahmadi, a member of the Georgia Black Republican Council (GABRC).

In lieu of national infrastructure, the party is relying on local ancillary groups like the GABRC to make inroads with the Black community. Darryl Wilson, another member, says the group is using mentorship as a way to court Black men into considering voting for Republicans in November.

“We’ve done Black conservative summits. We’ve done ‘barbershop-political forums.’ We bring government to the people in the local communities, wherever they can ask direct questions and get direct answers,” Wilson said.

The Black Conservative Federation (BCF), a network of African American GOP activists, rolled out its 2024 get out the vote policy plan in April titled “Black Men Matter.” The plan will see the group’s outreach organizers targeting Black men in six battleground states – Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania – through grassroots outreach and programming.

But Democrats say Republicans are still far away from proving their investment in Black communities.

To come around in an election period and suggest that they’re courting Black voters, except to say ‘Democrats aren’t doing enough’ or to say ‘you should stay out of this because this election isn’t worth getting involved in and Trump was a little bit better for you are the National Party was a little bit better for you,’ I just don’t buy it,” said Anre Washington, a Georgia voter. “It’s not ever been in my voting lifetime, a good faith effort on the part of the Republican Party.”

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