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Biden takes aim at wealth inequality as he woos Black voters in battleground North Carolina

  • September 24, 2020

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden traveled to the battleground state of North Carolina on Wednesday for a Black Economic Summit, part of a broader effort his campaign has launched to woo entrepreneurs and Black voters.

It was Biden’s first trip to this key state since the coronavirus pandemic forced him to cancel campaign travel this spring. In 2016, President Donald Trump won North Carolina by nearly four points, and this year it is again considered a must-win for the Republican.

As of Wednesday, state polling averages showed Trump and Biden running neck and neck in the Tar Heel State, with Biden leading by a statistically insignificant 0.5 points. This week’s CNBC/Change Research poll showed Biden with a 2-point lead in the state.

Adding to the urgency of the contest is that voting in North Carolina has already begun. The first absentee ballots were mailed out on Sept. 4.

On Wednesday, Biden’s campaign hosted the summit in Charlotte, where the former vice president delivered remarks and then took questions from a socially distanced audience of Black local business owners and community leaders. 

Biden drew attention to several of his previously announced economic proposals, including his plan to provide an additional $70 billion to historically black colleges and universities.

He called for a national coronavirus business reopening standard backed by a multibillion-dollar federal testing and PPE supply chain, so that small business owners would not only have consistent health guidance, but the means to carry out those recommendations.

Biden also addressed the racial wealth gap and the reality that the pandemic’s ongoing economic shock has only served to widen economic racial disparities. 

“We have to break a cycle, and the cycle is that the African-American community, by and large, finds itself at the bottom of the economic heap when businesses are doing better and when things are good,” said Biden. “Then when things get bad, they’re the first ones in the hole. And when things get better again, they’re the last ones out.” 

Federal unemployment data backs up Biden’s argument. In August, the unemployment rate among Black Americans was 13%, while among White Americans it was only 7.2%. 

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