Former Vice President Joe Biden scored several important victories on Super Tuesday, and exit polls show they were powered by strong support among black voters.
This comes despite the fact that Biden in the past was an opponent of busing initiatives designed to make schools more racially integrated, and was also an author of the 1994 crime bill that criminal justice advocates say played a role in exacerbating the mass incarceration of black Americans.
Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham argues that black Biden supporters know full well about his less-than-stellar past on racial justice issues, but he says they still have good reasons to support him in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Among other things, Graham says that black voters believe that Biden is their best bet to defeat President Donald Trump, and they don't trust white voters to actually back a more progressive candidate such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
"I like [Warren and Sanders], but I don’t see them winning, because I think they’re too progressive for a lot of white people in his country," one South Carolina voter tells Graham. "I don’t think white people generally vote in a way that will benefit them if it also benefits Black people."
Graham said that this sentiment was very common among the voters he recently spoke with in South Carolina, and he didn't blame anyone who believed Sanders or Warren was too risky.
"I don’t believe Biden is the strongest candidate," he writes toward the end of his column. "He was not the person I voted for to rectify the unchecked injustices that paved the way for Trump. His record on racial issues is profoundly flawed. Yet I certainly understand, especially among older Black people (76 percent over 60 voted for Biden), those who see the former vice president as the best hope to reclaim the White House."