Will Biden Back Black Voters or Wall Street?
The president made lots of social justice–related campaign promises. We plan to track the progress of each one.
By Tia Oso and Morgan Harper. Published from the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE).
During his victory speech last November, incoming President Joe Biden told Black voters, “You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.” But as the first full week of the Biden-Harris administration gets underway and the president and his team begin the complicated business of addressing our nation’s multiple crises, this promise to have the backs of Black voters remains to be seen. While many are celebrating Kamala Harrris’ Black girl magic and welcoming a return to competent government after four years of Donald Trump, it is important that we assess the substance of the policy agenda as it pertains to Black people. Black voters helped deliver the White House to President Biden, and Vice President Harris holds the tie-breaking Senate vote in favor of Dems thanks to Black women organizers and record turnout from our community. Our question is how will this administration now commit to deliver robust policy that will serve Black communities? If the first few days are any indication, the answer is troubling.
Already, Biden has made comments walking back necessary economic stimulus amounts he said he would champion and passing off student debt cancellation to a congressional vote when his large stack of executive orders could support even greater economic recovery and help close the racial wealth gap. And while his appointment process is called the most diverse of any presidency and he has specifically made efforts toward Black representation by installing Lloyd J. Austin III as the new secretary of defense, Marcia Fudge as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Jaime Harrison as the head of the Democratic National Committee, there is more work to do.
It’s troubling to see several Wall Street establishment selections being named to Biden’s cabinet. Tom Vilsack, named USDA secretary, for example, has deep ties to Monsanto and other agribusiness companies, as does Avril Haines, named director of national intelligence and has associations with Palantir and other defense contractors. They and…