In an urgent bid to salvage Democrats’ hopes in Tuesday’s midterm elections, President Biden spent the final hours of the 2022 campaign urging Black voters to mobilize for his party’s candidates.
Mr. Biden on Monday conducted interviews with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Willie Moore Jr., two national radio show hosts with large Black audiences. Later Monday, Mr. Biden was traveling to Bowie State University in Maryland, a historically Black university, to campaign with gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore, a Democrat who has a large lead against Republican Dan Cox.
During his interview with Mr. Sharpton, the president touted his administration’s accomplishments on issues important to the Black community. He talked about his actions to support historically Black colleges and universities, student loan forgiveness, police accountability, and diversity.
In what was billed as his final pitch before voters go to the polls Tuesday, Mr. Biden reminded students at Bowie State Univesity, a historically black college, about the falling unemployment rate for Black Americans and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“In 2020, many of you voted for the first time,” he said to a room full of young voters at Bowie State. “Look what you did when you exercised your power. Your vote allowed me to put the first Black woman in history on the United States Supreme Court.”
“Remember, the power is in your hands,” he said.
Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said the outreach to Black voters is “a smart, strategic move.”
“Democrats are feeling the brunt of less enthusiasm among the African American community,” he said. “You need intensity to ensure victory. You can’t just rely on turnout, but you also need some intensity.”
Jimmy Keady, a Republican strategist, said the pitch to Black voters is a sign that Democrats know they are in trouble in Tuesday’s election.
That’s why, he said, Mr. Biden is campaigning with Mr. Moore, who is projected to win his race more easily than other Democratic candidates.
“The Democrats are playing defense in states where they shouldn’t be playing defense,” he said. “You can’t fix a turnout problem in 24 hours by going on radio shows.”
In the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Biden carried Black support with a whopping 92% of the vote.
However, recent polling suggests that Democrats might not be able to count on support from Black voters the way they did in 2020.
A Wall Street Journal poll in late October found that 17% of Black voters said they would choose a Republican candidate for Congress rather than a Democrat, more than double the 8% who backed former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Recent polls show that they’ve soured on the Democratic Party because of economic woes and rising crime.
Roughly 81% of Black registered voters — including 82% registered as Democrats — say violent crime is very important to their midterm vote, compared with 65% of Hispanic voters and 56% of White voters, according to data from Pew Research Center.
A recent survey from TheGrio TV network and website and KFF (the Kaiser Family Foundation) found that 73% of Black voters pointed to economic concerns as the biggest issue in this year’s election.
• Joseph Clark contributed to this article.