A ‘Laundry List’ or a ‘Feel’: Biden and Trump’s Clashing Appeals to Black Voters

As President Biden took the stage in Philadelphia on Wednesday to kick off his Black voter outreach program, he methodically ticked through more than a dozen accomplishments, executive orders, appointments, investments and economic statistics.

“The bottom line,” Mr. Biden said in summing up his pitch, “is we’ve invested more in Black America than any previous administration in history has.”

It was a compelling catalog that stood in contrast to the blunt appeal that his rival, former President Donald J. Trump, had made a week earlier about the economy at a rally in the Bronx designed to highlight his appeal to nonwhite voters.

“African Americans,” Mr. Trump had said, “are getting slaughtered.”

The two events captured a fundamental difference between the Black outreach that both camps see as crucial to winning in 2024.

Mr. Biden has a list. Mr. Trump has a vibe.

Black voters are at the very foundation of the Democratic coalition, pivotal electoral building blocks in cities across the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and beyond. And while polls consistently show Mr. Biden winning strong majorities of Black voters, he is underperforming on past Democratic benchmarks to the deepening alarm of party loyalists and to the delight of G.O.P. operatives.

Mr. Trump has tried to brand his four years in the White House as a period of peace and prosperity, hoping voters — and Black voters in particular — will recall those pre-inflationary days fondly and look past the disruptions of a pandemic that ground American life to a halt for much of 2020.

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