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(Photo / Allison Joyce)

This coming week will likely make or break President Joe Biden’s re-election aspirations. With calls mounting for him to drop out of the race and the convention fast approaching, things must move fast; will he even be the Democratic Party’s nominee by the end of the week? If the “survival plan” his team leaked to the press is the best he’s got, then the answer is probably not.

Biden’s “survival plan,” reports Politico after piecing together the mood of key constituencies, is to flout his “elite critics” and lean back toward his “base.” His detractors are made up of prominent Democrats, the media, and donors, the mostly “elite white liberal” demographic calling him to step down. So he will fall back on “African American Democrats and union allies as his last line of defense.” These two groups make up the supposed “grassroots base.”

So what does this mean exactly?

First, Biden will demagogue black voters to drive turnout. Expect racially charged propaganda like we haven’t seen since the summer of 2020. Joe “They’ll Put Y’all Back In Chains” Biden is coming out to play.

Second, he will attempt to get the working class to vote against their own interests. Union leaders, the type of “working class” people Biden hobnobs with, often have more in common with their corporate bosses than they do with their members. Biden is counting on them to bully their rank-and-file into line.

Combined, this aims to deflect from Biden’s age concerns and reframe the debate “along the lines of race and class that have animated every Democratic nomination fight for 40 years.” But Biden’s age is showing in his strategy. This is the same old playbook Democrats have used for decades, and it’s long been tearing apart at the seams.

First, there’s nothing “grassroots” about any of this. It’s all an elite-led propaganda war against the American people. The black vote genuinely surged for Barack Obama, but only aligned behind Biden after Rep. James Clyburn threw down the full weight of his political capital. Black voters turned out massively for Biden, but again, only after a summer of racial hysteria that bordered the Salem Witch Trials. Even then, Trump was able to peel away small but notable margins of the real grassroots black vote.

But all of that feels dated, as a disillusionment with decades of Democrats’ racial propaganda has finally caught up with them. Biden came into office promising a pie-in-the-sky racial utopia. Instead, he delivered more silly virtue signaling, which to anyone besides the black politicians who ride it to power, see it for the nonsense it is.

Meanwhile, the grassroots movement in black America, to the extent it exists, is moving toward Donald Trump. Polls have shown Trump winning as much as a quarter of the black vote, a demographic shift that would make it all but impossible for Democrats to win a national election, and high profile Blacks for Trump rallies often seen throughout the country.

On the other hand, Biden’s “grassroots” black support really just amounts to a decrepit Rep. Maxine Waters screaming, “It ain’t going to be no other Democratic candidate — it’s going to be Biden,” while millions of other black voters simply toe the party line out tradition or inertia. Fear is the only option Biden has to drive turnout, but like his broken promises, all the hyperbolic rhetoric now feels, well, hyperbolic. Black voters know what they’re getting under Trump: lower prices and better jobs, not lynch mobs. None of this is going to offer the enthusiasm necessary to save a clearly failing, 81-year-old white man from himself.

But zooming out, we hit a bigger problem for Biden. Democrats, whether it’s the Biden campaign or the Politico writers, are blinded by their own propaganda. They can’t see that they’re making a fatal category error. The “elites” and the “base” are not who they think they are.

Democratic power donors are certainly part of the elite, and Politico admits they have “largely turned on the president.” But the people claiming to speak for the working class and black America are every bit as elite as the donors and Beltway media. Real grassroots turnout won’t come from union bullying anymore than it will come from self-appointed black leaders demanding allegiance to their chosen candidate. Both groups have far more in common with each other — and often overlap completely — than they do with their “leaders.” What they want is relief from the problems that elites ignore or actively sabotage: a good economy and safe streets. It’s the bare minimum. But it’s the only thing elites refuse to deliver on.

Focusing on real grassroots issues would require rejecting the elite consensus that all of these elite factions have bought into. A real grassroots movement thinks for itself, it will not toe the party line or accept conventional wisdom. And there’s only one candidate who bucks the status quo. In other words, only an America First agenda can save Biden now, but that’s the only option he’ll never take.

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