Former President Barack Obama endorsed his former vice president, Joe Biden, on Tuesday, throwing his full support at Biden’s bid for the White House.
“I’m proud to endorse my friend Joe Biden for President of the United States. Let’s go,” Obama captioned on Twitter along with a video message.
Addressing the global coronavirus pandemic that has brought the country to a standstill, Obama expressed the need for leadership “that is guided by knowledge and experience, honesty and humility; empathy and grace” during such a national crisis.
“That kind of leadership doesn’t just belong in our state capitols and mayors offices, it belongs in the White House,” Obama said. “And that’s why I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States.”
Obama’s endorsement comes after Biden’s opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, suspended his presidential campaign, making Biden the de facto Democratic presidential nominee.
Showing party unity on Monday, Sanders also publicly endorsed Biden during a joint virtual message to voters.
“I am asking all Americans, I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse,” Sanders said.
-Biden and the Black Vote-
Black voters are playing a key role in this Democratic primary season; carrying Joe Biden to huge victories during Super Tuesday. Joe Biden’s campaign was struggling until he secured a crucial victory in South Carolina, where there was a big African American turnout. Biden won 63% of Black voters in Virginia, 72% in Alabama, and about 60% in Texas and North Carolina, according to exit polling. The former vice president won 61% of Black voters in the South Carolina primary.
Theodore R. Johnson, senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice told NPR in March: “Most of America knows Joe Biden as the vice president to the first Black president in history. And Black voters especially look at President Obama and say if Biden is good enough for Obama to trust, then who am I to sort of question that? The other thing is Biden presents as the most electable. He’s certainly had some dips but has sort of recaptured that, largely thanks to Black voters. And so for an electorate where the most important thing is beating Donald Trump in November – and Trump’s disapproval rates among African Americans is exceptionally high – Biden presents as the person that can do that not just because of his ability to win the African American vote.”
-Not Without Controversy-
Biden’s record on racial justice was re-examined when he entered the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination. It will more than likely resurface again during the upcoming presidential election. Biden has since addressed and expressed regret for some of his actions as a young senator. Although a supporter of civil rights in other arenas, he sponsored a bill that would limit the power of courts to order school desegregation with busing more than four decades ago. He has since taken responsibility and offered an apology for his role as chairman of the committee handling Anita Hill’s sexual harassment testimony against Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. And Biden drafted the infamous 1994 crime bill, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, that many have cited as one of the driving factors behind mass incarceration and the disproportionate imprisonment of people of color.
Explaining Blacks current support for Biden despite past events, Johnson told NPR:
“In the last 10 years, Biden has been Obama’s vice president. And so that tends to override whatever policy decisions he made four decades ago.”
(Source: The Griot & NPR)