Black voters have reason for disappointment with Joe Biden. What will they do in 2024?


Right-wing militias

Police White supremacist gangs

Fig. 1. Photograph by Lorie Shaull, April 1, 2021, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Y’all know how I feel about survey research, that with response rate declines, the methodology has ceased even to be a methodology and should be discounted entirely. This problem will be exacerbated with hard-to-reach groups, often overlapping with subaltern groups.

So I would urge caution with the Washington Post story by Toluse Olorunnipa, Scott Clement, and Emily Guskin, which is based entirely on survey results. That said, the upshot seems to be the Black voters don’t have a lot of choice: Joe Biden failed to get police reform passed and, if we accept these results, has disappointed a lot of Black voters. But the alternative is a clearly worse Republican, probably Donald Trump.[1] I didn’t see any analysis relevant to Tim Scott’s candidacy.[2] Scott

has presented his success as evidence that Black Americans are no longer marginalized, telling Iowans in February that he was “living proof” that “we are indeed a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression.”[3]

I think most Black people, certainly around Pittsburgh, know in their bones that they are still marginalized. And at some point—certainly I’ve been there—you wonder that the point of voting is when what you get is the same neoconservative policy regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power, which is really what all this is about: Will Black voters still see a reason to turn out in 2024?

My guess is that they will. But if Republicans ever learn from their mistakes, they’re going to stop frightening the Black folks.

Joyce Sohyun Lee, Sarah Cahlan, and Arelis R. Hernández, “A year after Uvalde, officers who botched response face few consequences,” Washington Post, May 24, 2023,

Toluse Olorunnipa, Scott Clement, and Emily Guskin, “Three years after Floyd’s death, a reckoning for Biden’s agenda on race,” Washington Post, May 25, 2023,


Fig. 2. Sign at demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, May 3, 2022. Janni Rye, via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Rebekah Riess and Sydney Kashiwagi, “South Carolina governor signs 6-week abortion bill into law,” CNN, May 25, 2023,

Pennsylvania and surrounding areas

Pittsburgh, the Ohio Valley, and surrounding areas


Fig. 3. Photographer unknown, circa 1940-1950, from Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection, ca. 1940-1950, AIS.1978.22, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh, via Bloomberg,[4] fair use.

Patrick Varine, “Shell Appalachia fined $10 million for air quality violations from Beaver County ‘cracker’ plant,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 24, 2023,




Fig. 4. Most of the homeless encampments I’ve seen around Pittsburgh have been on the North Side. This one is downtown, right by a Parkway (Interstate 376) onramp. Photograph by author, May 22, 2023.

Eric Jankiewicz, “Pittsburgh’s mayor asked for expert advice on homelessness. Here’s what the mayor — and you — should know,” Public Source, May 23, 2023,




Fig. 5. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[5] fair use.

Explaining his claim that a Kremlin power struggle has already begun, Roman Anin argues that those who contend

want to save their lives, assets, the lives of their relatives. They understand that after Russia loses the war — because nobody among them believes in the victory anymore — they understand that it will be the starting point of this battle for the throne. And the one who loses the battle will lose everything — power, assets. . . .

Imagine that the next president of Russia is somebody from [Nikolai] Patrushev’s clan, who is the head of the National Security Council of Russia, one of the major governmental bodies of the country. That means that people who were fighting against him during all these years will not be able to save their assets, and even [their] lives or maybe freedom, and they understand that. And that’s what I believe will make a war really be fought. They will be fighting for their lives.

Because the other problem is that they’re stuck on this boat — because of the sanctions, because of their involvement in various crimes. They can’t leave the country. They can’t just say, “OK, let’s betray Putin and go somewhere.” They’re stuck there. And imagine snakes stuck in the same bottle and they just hate each other. . . .

And what is also really important and interesting in the framework of this war of clans and Prigozhin himself was his public statement [in the same video]…that they are going to leave Bakhmut on the 10th of May. And everyone paid attention only to the first part of this statement. But, in my opinion, the last part was more important. What he said was that “we will leave on the 10th of May, and we will wait until the Russian people need us, which we believe is going to happen really soon if you look at how our leaders are acting.”

It was obvious that he was referring to some kind of revolution, coup, or whatever. So he sees Wagner as this kind of military group that represents the interests of the majority of Russians, and if Russians need it, they will be ready there. That’s a very dangerous statement and nobody noticed. But I believe that Putin and his people in the Kremlin really read between the lines.[6]

This sounds like it will be uglier than I thought.

Philip Breedlove, Wesley Clark, and Ben Hodges, “Why Isn’t the Pentagon Helping the International Court Prosecute Putin?” Defense One, May 23, 2023,

Julian Borger, “Wagner chief warns of revolution and says 20,000 fighters killed in Bakhmut,” Guardian, May 24, 2023,

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Wagner Chief Prigozhin Says Russia’s Plan To ‘Demilitarize’ Ukraine Has Failed,” May 24, 2023,

Vazha Tavberidze, “Interview: The ‘War Of Clans For Putin’s Throne Has Begun,’” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 24, 2023,

  1. [1]Toluse Olorunnipa, Scott Clement, and Emily Guskin, “Three years after Floyd’s death, a reckoning for Biden’s agenda on race,” Washington Post, May 25, 2023,
  2. [2]Maggie Astor, “5 Things to Know About Tim Scott,” New York Times, May 22, 2023,
  3. [3]Maggie Astor, “5 Things to Know About Tim Scott,” New York Times, May 22, 2023,
  4. [4]Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” Bloomberg, June 5, 2012,
  5. [5]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022,
  6. [6]Roman Anin, quoted in Vazha Tavberidze, “Interview: The ‘War Of Clans For Putin’s Throne Has Begun,’” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, May 24, 2023,

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