New Biden-Harris campaign ad highlights economy and Black men

“President Joe Biden's got our backs because he's not only thinking about our present but also our future," says Darren Riley, a Black male entrepreneur, in the ad titled "List."

A new ad from the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign first obtained by theGrio continues to court Black voters in the early stages of the next year’s presidential election. 

The ad titled “List” highlights President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ economic investments and how the administration’s agenda seeks to create more pathways to economic prosperity in Black communities. 

The spot, which was released Wednesday, features Darren Riley, a Black man who is a small-business owner and entrepreneur from Detroit. Riley highlights how the Biden-Harris agenda is making a difference in communities like his throughout the country. 

Darren Riley, an entrepreneur in Detroit, is featured in a new Biden-Harris campaign ad. (Photo: Biden for President)

“My community is usually last on the list to receive any type of funding,” says Riley, who names Biden’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and multibillion-dollar Inflation Reduction Act as “really huge for us.”

“The policies and things that he puts in place are striving to make a difference for these matters. How to put food on the table for our kids and families, how to get the next job, how to skill up,” says Riley.

“Joe Biden is actually doing stuff that helps everyday people,” he says, adding, “President Joe Biden’s got our backs because he’s not only thinking about our present but also our future.”

The new ad will run on programming that over-indexes among Black audiences in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee – major urban cities in battleground states – and on targeted digital platforms. It also follows a series of ads as part of an early investment strategy by the campaign to shore up Black voter support in 2024.

In a statement exclusively provided to theGrio, Quentin Fulks, Biden-Harris principal deputy campaign manager, said, “While MAGA Republicans push an extreme agenda that would harm Black Americans and take our country backward, President Biden and Vice President Harris have been fighting for and delivering on policies that make a real difference in our communities by providing access to capital and creating generational wealth.”

The president “took on Big Pharma to lower prescription drug costs, including the price of insulin, he’s defending the fundamental right to vote, and meaningfully investing in our community’s economic well-being,” Fulks added. 

President Joe Biden applauds as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a September event in the Rose Garden announcing the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. (Photo by Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images)

“We’re not taking a single voter for granted, and this ad will make sure voters know how President Biden and Vice President Harris have their backs in office.”

Joel Payne, a Democratic strategist, said the new Biden-Harris ad and its focus on a young Black male entrepreneur was “significant” this early in the election cycle.

“[It] reflects the political reality that the president and the Democrats know that Black voters are not just a turnout universe, they’re a persuasion universe,” Payne told theGrio. 

As a former campaign director in charge of African-American paid media for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run in 2016, Payne said, “I know historically what the timing is on this type of work.” 

“I think we know the president’s coalition with Black voters that is softest is younger Black men,” he explained. “This approach demonstrates that the president and his team understand that this group of voters is up for grabs.”

The ad’s focus on the economy also demonstrates that the Biden-Harris campaign understands that Black “issues” aren’t simply “democracy” issues such as voting rights and racial justice, said Payne.

President Joe Biden (center), crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in March — joined by a crowd that included (from right) the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King III, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., to mark the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)

“When you’re treating Black voters as a persuasion universe, you’re talking to them about kitchen table issues like community investment, job creation, economic opportunity agenda,” he explained.

Payne acknowledged that there is a “conventional wisdom” among many, including Black voters, that they were better off economically during the administration of former President Donald Trump, who will likely be Biden’s Republican opponent in the 2024 race.

“This is the type of advertisement that can be a part of a contrasting message to demonstrate [the Biden-Harris administration] prioritized this population,” said Payne. “[They] can do a comparison and show that actually Black unemployment is historically low under the Biden administration.”

By contrast, the Democratic strategist said, “Is [Trump] talking about making things more affordable for African-Americans? Not really.”

He continued, “He’s talking about a kind of totalitarian takeover of government. He’s talking about deporting people. He’s talking about retribution.”

A lot of persuasion and engagement by the Biden-Harris campaign will be needed to secure Black voter support, particularly among Black men and young Black men in particular.

However, Payne cautioned, “No one message in this environment is going to be enough.” He added, “This is strategically, I think, part of a longer conversation.”

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Gerren Keith Gaynor

Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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