Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson doesn’t have much faith in a possible Joe Biden presidency. In fact, he doesn’t see the Democratic Party as a good choice for African Americans, he told CNBC.
“I think black Americans get a little tired of casting big votes for the Democrats and seeing minimal return on economic prosperity and bridging the wealth gap, job creation and employment opportunities,” said Johnson, millionaire entertainment tycoon and philanthropist, CNBC’s Hadley Gamble said via video call.
“And Joe Biden was not an inspiring candidate for many black Americans. And some of them are staying at home. Some of them voted for Trump.”
The strong statements come amid a lengthy 2020 election census that reveals President Donald Trump and Democratic opponent Joe Biden neck to neck in multiple battlefield states. Among the many issues defining the pre-election cultural and political fault lines in America was the issue of racial equality, with movements like Black Lives Matter being supported by several Democratic candidates.
But Johnson, who became America’s first black billionaire in 2000, doubts Biden and the Democratic Party will meet the needs of African Americans, especially when it comes to the economy.
“Black people do not hug Biden because he has never formulated a policy that directly addresses the concerns of black Americans,” said the businessman. “I don’t think Biden has that leadership quotient that allows him to do what is vital to get the economy going again because of the tradeoff between restoring the economy and fighting the pandemic.”
Johnson spoke to CNBC during a separate interview in September, describing his view of Trump as business, but did not specifically endorse him. “Wherever I come out as a businessman, I’ll bring the devil I know over the devil I don’t know at any time of the week,” he said.
Biden was declared as such just hours after Johnson’s statements on Wednesday won the state of MichiganThis was largely thanks to the Democratic votes cast in Detroit, a largely black city that had a higher turnout this year than 2016. Biden and his run mate Kamala Harris, who was elected first black and would be the country’s first, fiercely campaigned female vice president in Michigan.
Anjali Sundaram | CNBC
Another focus of this election was the coronavirus pandemic, with Trump voters largely in favor of a full reopening of the economy, while Biden suggested putting the country back on lockdown if scientists recommended it. More than 12 million people remain unemployed, a significant proportion of whom are black.
Trump has campaigned for low undeclared unemployment during his tenure, monitoring the lowest pre-pandemic U.S. unemployment rate and his administration’s criminal justice reform policies.
“If you can’t bring the economy back for everyone, damn sure you can’t bring it back for black Americans,” he said. “Because we are at the bottom in terms of economic opportunity and economic access.” to wealth, capital and income. ”
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Black Caucus (CBC) of Congress, speaks next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a press event ahead of the vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 Die Steps of the East Front House on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, June 25, 2020.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters
According to economists, racial inequality has long marred America’s productive potential. ONE Brookings Institute study found that the average net worth of a white household in 2016 was almost 10 times higher than that of the average black household.
“So how can you make black Americans sane from an economic justice perspective or from a justice perspective,” continued Johnson, “if you don’t get the economy to drive the jobs and opportunities that affect black Americans have to be there Are you already, as I said, at the bottom? “
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment, but the campaign website has a detailed “Biden Black America Plan”. It lists priorities, including pledges to “promote economic mobility for African Americans and fill the racial wealth and income gaps,” “expand access to quality education and tackle racial inequality in our education system,” and “invest heavily in too engage in “ending racial health inequalities” among other things.