Reparations hardliners press Biden to win votes with slavery payouts

Reparations activists want President Joe Biden to launch a commission on payouts for slavery-era abuses, saying it would drive the turnout of black voters in the swing states he needs to secure reelection in November.

Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a reparations stalwart, and others say Biden should bypass Congress and use his executive powers to create a slavery payouts panel to put him over the line against rival Donald Trump.

They point to polling, which shows that in toss-up Michigan, nearly 60 percent of black voters who don’t regularly vote would be more likely to show up for Biden if he created a reparations commission.

Lee and others did not address whether reparations would also lose the Democrat votes in November. Reparations, and their $14 trillion price tag, are unpopular among whites and other voters who would face an extra tax burden.

President Joe Biden needs to firm up support among black voters to defeat Donald Trump in November

Pollsters say a reparations panel would secure the president 150,000 votes in must-win Michigan

‘Simply put, reparations can drive black voter turnout to transformative levels,’ Lee said in a statement.

The White House did not answer’s request for comment.

Lee has for years pushed House lawmakers to support her resolution for a federal reparations commission, but failed to win enough votes, even amid the public outcry over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.

Earn the Black Vote Collaborative, a pro-reparations group, polled Michigan over whether the prospect of a slavery compensation package for African Americans would drive up support for Biden.

Their survey of 343 irregular Democratic black voters found that more than 58 percent would be more likely to vote for the president if he used his executive powers to launch a commission.

About a quarter said it would not make any difference, and 17 percent said they would be less likely to cast ballots for Biden.

That would add up to an extra 150,000 Biden voters in a must-win state, the group said.

Biden beat Trump in swing state Michigan in 2020 with a razor-thin margin of 154,000 votes.

Black voters are one of the president’s biggest constituencies, but voter apathy looks set to keep many of them away from polling stations this year, said the group.

Reparations stalwart Barbara Lee of Texas says a Biden executive order could 'drive black voter turnout to transformative levels'

A voter casts his ballot in the Democratic Presidential Primary in West Columbia, South Carolina in February

Researchers said a reparations commission could deliver Biden similar numbers of black voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other 2024 tossups.

Kamm Howard, a spokesman for the Earn the Black Vote Collaborative, called it a ‘unique opportunity to not only address historical injustices but also to mobilize black voters in key battleground states.’

‘President Biden stands to benefit significantly from prioritizing reparative justice, as evidenced by the overwhelming support among infrequent black voters surveyed,’ he added.

Reparations campaigners say it’s time for America to repay its black residents for the injustices of the historic Transatlantic slave trade, Jim Crow segregation and inequalities that persist to this day.

The sums are eye-watering — black lawmakers in Washington seek at least $14 trillion for a federal scheme to ‘eliminate the racial wealth gap’ between black and white Americans.

Critics say payouts to selected black people will inevitably stoke divisions between winners and losers, and raise questions about why American Indians and others don’t get their own handouts.

Reparations are popular among the black people who stand to benefit from them, but unpopular among the whites, Asians, and others who would foot the tax bill without themselves benefiting.

A survey last year of 6,000 registered California voters found that only 23 percent supported cash reparations, while 59 percent were opposed.

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