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Is Biden losing the support of black voters?

The Democratic primaries officially begin in South Carolina. In 2020, Biden came in first place in the US state – thanks to the votes of the black population. But their support for the US president is waning.

Nina Barth

The Democratic election bus is touring across South Carolina until Election Day. “People go vote” – that is also the message here in Kingstree in the parking lot in front of a coffee shop. In the small town of Kingstree in Williamsburg County, almost two thirds of the population are black. They need to be mobilized.

Adrielle also came and says that Joe Biden can count on the black people. African Americans did not always have the right to vote – and did not take that lightly. In fact, the polls show that many black voters do not necessarily want to switch to the Republican camp, but could stay at home. An alarming signal for the Democrats.

Many are still undecided

On the campus of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, a historically black university, Ken says many of his friends won't vote. Many people feel like they can't change anything anyway.

Nyla and Camille will also not vote in the primaries. The two 20-year-old students don't yet know whether they want to support Biden or former President Donald Trump in the presidential election. They want to wait and see how everything develops – and then decide whether they will vote in the presidential election in November and, if so, who.

The two young women are standing in front of a university auditorium. Inside, Kamala Harris is speaking. The vice president came to specifically address young people again on the day before the first Democratic primary in South Carolina. “Make sure your voice is heard,” Harris said into the microphone to cheers. Many of the students said afterwards that they were enthusiastic about Harris' speech. It was great to see them live.

US Vice President Kamala Harris during her speech at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. She is the first woman to serve as vice president, as well as the first black American and the first with roots in Southeast Asia to hold this position.

Harris is important for Biden

Harris is not so popular everywhere – on the contrary. In polls, she is even more unpopular than Biden, who has approval ratings below 40 percent. But Harris is important for Biden, especially with regard to the black population. This is also emphasized by Rickey Dennis, who works for a nonprofit organization in the city of Charleston that promotes social justice. Harris is extremely important for the black population, he says. Because Harris is a strong symbol of what is possible.

The winner of the Democratic primary in South Carolina has already been determined: Biden. But a good result and high voter turnout would be important for Biden and Harris given the poor poll numbers.

South Carolina was already the turning point for Biden. After previously disappointing primaries, he came in first place in South Carolina in 2020 – largely thanks to votes from the black population. This is also one reason why the first Democratic primary is taking place in South Carolina for the first time.

Nina Barth, ARD Washington, currently Orangeburg/South Carolina, tagesschau, February 3, 2024 7:59 a.m

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