Biden campaign enlists Black mayors in get-out-the-vote ad push

Brittany Shepherd
·National Politics Reporter
·3 min read

WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced Saturday a seven-figure multimedia advertising buy featuring over a dozen Black mayors of major cities urging Black Americans to vote — for Biden and Kamala Harris, naturally.

“Black women have always been on the frontlines of social justice,” says Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms in the opening seconds of the ad. She’s joined by other prominent Black mayors, standing in their respective cities, some of whom have gained national attention by battling the White House on its coronavirus pandemic response: Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot; New Orleans’s LaToya Cantrell; Vi Lyles of Charlotte, N.C.; Coral Evans of Flagstaff, Ariz.; San Francisco’s London Breed; and D.C.’s Muriel Bowser.

Black mayors from major U.S. cities urge black voters to turn out in new Biden ad.
Black mayors of major U.S. cities urge Black voters to turn out in a new Joe Biden ad. (Screengrab from ad)

The text is straightforward: “We organize, make phone calls, and yes, we run for office, all while being fly. We stand up to systemic racism, fight for health care and justice for all our citizens. And use our power, our right, our responsibility. Black women, let’s vote.”

Black women have historically been some of the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters. They were the strongest identifiable group of Hillary Clinton’s supporters in 2016, backing her, according to exit polls, by 94 percent. Biden’s historic choice of a Black woman as his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, was widely viewed as an effort to make sure that support carries over into this year’s presidential election.

But Black voter turnout is not guaranteed. Indeed, Black voter turnout overall decreased by a little over 7 percent from 2012 (when Barack Obama was on the ballot) to 2016, and in critical swing states like Wisconsin, the decline was triple that. Eighty percent of Black men voted for Clinton, a 7-point drop in the Democratic vote from 2012, and 13 percent voted for Trump.

The latest Biden campaign ad looks to reverse that trajectory.

“Fellas, brothers, we’ve heard our sisters, our mothers, our wives and daughters cry out for equality all across this country. And now it’s our turn, our responsibility to take our power back. Black women vote more than Black men. And it’s time we change that. Don’t give your power away. Every single vote counts in this election — show up, show out, and vote,” said a contingent of male mayors, including Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Ala.; Stephen Benjamin of Columbia, S.C.; Denver’s Michael Hancock; Houston’s Sylvester Turner; Levar Stoney of Richmond, Va.; Michael Tubbs of Stockton, Calif.; and Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minn.

The one-minute ad, simply titled “Mayors,” will run nationally on television, radio and digital outlets in what the campaign has identified as battleground states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. The ad is part of the campaign’s push to engage the Black electorate, which was a major contributor to Biden’s victory in the primary.

“We are proud to bring together this incredible group of Black leaders to deliver a powerful call to action for Black Americans to stand in support of Vice President Biden and Sen. Harris,” said Kamau Marshall, director of strategic communications for the campaign. “Their call to action is clear: Vote this fall to move our country forward.”

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