The Crusader Newspaper Group

President Biden, Talk to the Voters

President Joe Biden missed a great opportunity on June 27. Two days after the disastrous debacle, also known as a debate, tens of thousands of people thronged to the Washington, D.C., Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls. Biden wasn’t invited to speak at the March, but I bet if he’d asked Reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis to drop by, they would have been happy to have him.

Why? The co-chairs of the Assembly and Moral March are hoping to galvanize voters to participate in democracy and vote on November 5. They say there are tens of millions of registered voters who don’t plan to participate in our democracy! Why? They say nobody talks to them.

I don’t know if President Biden could have withstood the nearly 100-degree heat. I surely didn’t. I covered the March from my air-conditioned home, watching the live stream from my laptop, making occasional phone calls to people on the ground.

But that Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly is exactly the kind of event President Biden needs to attend. Further, when those assembled marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to present their demands, the President or his designee should have been there to meet them.

Even now, a couple of weeks after the event, the President can invite Reverends Barber and Theoharis, and some of the Poor People’s Campaign representatives to the White House. Vice President Kamala Harris ought to be there, too, emphasizing how important this constituency is, focusing on the least and the left out.

In both his ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos and his stern letter to “Fellow Democrats” on July 8, President Biden indicated that he doesn’t believe the polls and cast doubt on the lemming-like chattering class who have piled on their “analysis” of the June 27 “debate.”

Who does he believe, then? If he believes the people, then he needs to get out more and talk to them, especially in battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but also in other states. If he talks to the people, he may have more information and he may also be able to quiet some of the chatter that seems dangerously close to bullying.

Granted, time is short – just a few weeks until the Democratic National Convention. And granted the President has shown that he has limited energy. But he can counter all the chatter by just talking to the people. Town halls, church visits, appearances at any of the innumerable outdoor events that are synonymous with summer.

Vice President Kamala Harris has been “out there” doing her usual superlative job, at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, and in other places. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) showed out too, noting that at 85, she is older than the President.

All this focus on age makes me think of Dr. Dorothy Irene Height, who was 98 when she made her transition. Until nearly the end, she went to the National Council of Negro Women office daily, fashionably clad in business suits and her trademark matching hats. I wonder what she would say about President Biden and the chatter about his age. I’m sure she would point out that age never slowed her down (though it slowed down some of her younger aides).

President Biden is the only one who can remove himself from the top of the ticket, and he does not seem inclined to do so. But he cannot continue as he is, fending off countless attacks about his age. But he can certainly counter the attacks by talking to the people, not just the media, not just his wife and son.

President Biden must also focus on Project 2025, the Trump plan to limit our rights and to take over government. The former President says he does not know anything about the destructive Project 2025, but many of his closest allies contributed to the 900-page attack on decency and government that was organized by the Heritage Foundation. The 45th President can say anything he wants, but his fingerprints are all over the putrid document.

President Biden must focus on his predecessor’s plans to run our government, and the immunity the Supreme Court has given him in a recent decision.

President Biden, you have often described yourself as a man of the people. So talk to the people. Listen to them. There are millions of low-wage workers who may not vote for you unless you work for it. Get to work, Brother President, get to work!!

Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist and author based in Washington, D.C.

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