WASHINGTON—After one year in office, President Joe Biden is now busy conspicuously performing, so that he appears to be working on behalf of Black voters, the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency, while he has failed to deliver on his promises concerning voter protection, and police reform.
Mr. Biden is in fact the second, consecutive weak Democrat in the Oval Office—President Barack Obama being the first—and he owes both winning the party nomination and his general election victory to strong support from Black voters, voters whose political leaders now appear to be settling in to roles of responsibility for the increasing chaos, rather than rocking the boat, or abandoning the sinking U.S. ship.
“I think what he’s been doing in the past week or two about the voting rights legislation is performance,” Dr. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, said in an interview. “Because Black folk are his base. I think he’s saying, ‘Look, I just want you all to know publicly that I really tried to do this, but I can’t get it passed.’ And that’s politics as usual.”
White nationalism has drawn the country apart at its tender racial seam. The neo-liberal Democratic Party establishment, including its Black elite, don’t want to believe that a new “Cold Civil War (a war without shooting)” is already underway. White people, however, are clear, and they’ve used their church in the effort.
White, Christian nationalists mobilized a broad social base for Donald Trump and the Republicans. Soon, through control over levers of state and federal power, as well as key cultural and religious institutions, Christian nationalists could find themselves well positioned to shape the nation for a long time to come, according to a prominent White Christian theologian.
“Christian nationalism has influenced the course of American politics and policy since the founding of this country,” said the Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of The Poor Peoples Campaign/Repairers of the Breach, in an interview. There is a “threat of a modern form of Christian nationalism that has carefully built political power in government, the media, the academy, and the military over the past half-century. Today, the social forces committed to it are growing bolder and increasingly able to win mainstream support.”
Whether it’s the national movement clamoring to refuse to permit the history of racist repression in this country to be taught in classrooms, even in classrooms where it is not already taught, as if hiding the truth makes it any less ugly; or whether its 400 laws proposed since Mr. Biden took office which would make it less likely for Black people to vote in coming elections; whatever it is, spoken or unspoken, White voters in this country are increasingly choosing the message which favors White people. Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris seem to be deaf to the cry.
The 2020 post-election, attempted coup d’état was a dress rehearsal. The armed White nationalists are and have been locked and loaded, with plans already in place to guarantee that future elections in this country are decided in favor of the candidates they prefer, regardless of the vote count.
“If you listen to that speech that Trump made last Saturday in Arizona,” Dr. Winbush continued, “where he said, ‘They’re trying to take the vote away from White people. They’re making you wait in line behind Black and Latinos for medicine.’ He actually said that. His followers, are preparing for war.” The former president spoke at a GOP rally in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15.
White vigilantes have long been prepared all over the country, now local governments are getting into the act. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed forming voting police forces, which would help guarantee the outcomes which Republicans prefer in the 2022 and 2024 elections, and there’s not much Mr. Biden can do about that.
“I’m not kidding, I really believe there’s going to be a race war that Carl Rowan predicted almost 30 years ago, in this country,” Dr. Winbush continued. “I think that we, as Black people just don’t think it will happen. We used to, could rely on the Supreme Court. We cannot, they (Supreme Court) eviscerated the Voting Rights Act.”
Now, with the failure of federal voting rights protection in the Senate, and Mr. Biden’s efforts to deliver on a Black Agenda purely performative and not productive, there are no remaining federal protectors—executive, legislative, or judicial—in the face of an increasingly hostile White population.
“We’ve had two fairly weak Democratic presidents in a row, Obama and Biden,” said Dr. Winbush. “And we’ve had one bully president, Trump, who forced things. Biden thinks if he plays Mr. Nice Guy, things are going to change. The Republicans aren’t going to do anything. And he should have realized that a long time ago.”
So, when it comes to assigning a letter grade to the president’s performance, Professor Winbush may have been generous. “I don’t know, he says he’s going to act more presidential than senatorial. We’ll see, but as a Black voter, I would give this dude a C, perhaps a C-.”