Biden’s survival plan: decry ‘elite’ critics, appeal to his base

Biden’s survival plan: decry ‘elite’ critics, appeal to his base

Jonathan Martin writes:

Sitting on a panel here at Essence Fest, an annual gathering of Black leaders, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) brought the crowd alive Saturday with a declaration: “It ain’t going to be no other Democratic candidate — it’s going to be Biden.”

More significant may have been the private forum Waters used to defend the president a day earlier. On a conference call Friday with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the 85-year-old House veteran urged the lawmakers to stand with Joe Biden, sending an implied but unmistakable message to her younger colleagues not to waver, a participant on the call told me.

As the president fights for his political life this week, and calls grow from party leaders that he withdraw his candidacy, he’s counting on the support of African American Democrats and his union allies as his last line of defense. It’s a playbook Biden has turned to in the past, portraying his detractors as mostly elite white liberals who are out of step with the more diverse and working-class grassroots of the party. That’s what propelled his nomination after a string of setbacks in 2020.

It’s his only path to survival now.

If Biden can retain his allies in labor and the Black community, he will have a chance to reframe the boiling debate about his candidacy along the lines of race and class that have animated every Democratic nomination fight for 40 years. Those clashes, of course, played out in primaries and caucuses. This battle is taking place in a more chaotic and truncated fashion, in the media and on group texts, conference calls and Zooms.

Yet Biden and his lieutenants are clearly counting on the result being the same in 2024 as it has been in every one of their modern races: The donor class may have their preference, but it’s older Black women in church pews who will decide the nominee, thank you very much. [Continue reading…]

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