Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Harris Promotes Biden to Sorority Sisters, Tapping Black Women’s Network

By meerna Jul11,2024
Harris Promotes Biden to Sorority Sisters, Tapping Black Women’s Network

Vice President Harris, at a key moment in President Biden’s fight to save his candidacy, on Tuesday called on an influential group of black women to rally behind Biden-Harris, but she made no mention of the turmoil that has engulfed the president since his disastrous debate performance two weeks ago.

“We know that when we organize, mountains move,” Harris admonished members of the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, which gathered in Dallas. “When we mobilize, nations change. And when we vote, we make history.”

She added: “Our nation is counting on the leaders in this room to lead us forward.”

The 19,000 black women in the audience, who often cheered Harris, were a central pillar of Biden’s political coalition, one he must maintain to have any hope of reelection. In 2020, exit polls showed that 90 percent of black women voted for Biden, by far the highest of any voting group, although recent polls suggest his support among voters of color is declining.

The group would also be key to Harris’ prospects if she decides to run for president in the future — or if she succeeds Biden in the 2024 Democratic primary, as some in the party want.

“For 116 years, our members have been on the front lines of the fight to fulfill the promise of America,” said Harris, wearing a pink pantsuit in homage to the pink and green colors of the sorority. “This year, let’s continue that work.”

Since Biden stuttered and often struggled to finish sentences during his June 27 debate with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, a growing number of Democratic leaders have suggested that the president should seriously consider whether to continue seeking reelection or end his candidacy and make way for another Democrat to become the nominee.

Biden has flatly rejected that message, leaving Harris in a difficult position as she changes campaign course this week to appeal to Democratic majorities: Her primary mission is to boost Biden, but it will not escape her listeners’ attention that if she were to lead the campaign, she would also demonstrate her own political skills.

Speaking before the nation’s oldest black student body, Harris made no mention of Biden’s ongoing struggles in Washington, instead focusing on the administration’s accomplishments and the stakes of battling Trump.

Harris, who graduated from Howard University in 1986, has long used her status as an AKA member. Since taking office in the Divine Nine, a group of historically black sororities and fraternities, she has participated in several events.

Later this month, she will meet in Indianapolis with members of Zeta Phi Beta, another historically black student sorority that has focused on social justice for years.

In her remarks, Harris referred to her relationship with the audience as her “sorors,” thanking them for helping elect Biden president and her as the first woman vice president — and she turned to fellow AKA member Shalanda Young, who serves as Biden’s budget director.

Harris ticked off the administration’s work to address health care costs, lower maternal mortality rates, reduce student loan debt and remove medical debt from credit reports. She also focused on abortion rights, citing them as one of the freedoms currently under attack in the United States.

“All of us here know that while we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go. Across our country, we’re witnessing a full-blown assault on hard-won freedoms and rights,” she said, citing attacks on voting, LGBTQ+ and abortion rights.

The trip was part of what the White House has called a “Summer of Engagement” for the vice president. While Biden is back in Washington this week to host the NATO summit, Harris has been on the road, acting as a chief cheerleader for Biden and his administration.

On Tuesday, she offered a forceful defense of Biden, calling him a “warrior” at a campaign event in Las Vegas focused on Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander voters. Harris travels to Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday, her sixth trip to the state Democrats are trying to flip blue this election.

Last Saturday, she was a guest at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where she spoke to a group of mostly black women, a discussion that centered on the stakes of the election, moderated by a female moderator.

The choice of recipients is no accident. In 2020, Biden’s support among black voters catapulted him to the Democratic nomination and then to the presidency, and ensuring that these voters continue to enthusiastically support him in 2024 is a key task for his campaign.

Harris has played a key role in these efforts and regularly serves as an ambassador to mobilize key segments of the Democratic electorate, including Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander and younger voters.

By meerna

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