“Apathy,” “disaffected,” “disconnected,” “neglected.”

The words from some of Michigan’s top elected Democrats describe how many black and minority voters in the state are feeling about President Joe Biden’s campaign less than seven months from Election Day.

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“If Biden’s going to win this election, then disaffected and disconnected people are going to have to come out and vote,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans told The Detroit News. “Give me something tangible that I can sell people to come out and vote. I mean, I would always say in the worst case scenario, Joe Biden is the lesser of two evils. But I don’t know that’s the decision people want to make in elections.”

Evans and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley told the news site the problem stems in large part from a disinterested state Democratic Party that has made no effort to connect with constituents they’ll need in November.

Neither have any kind of working relationship with Lavora Barnes, the first Black woman to lead the party, or the designated official responsible for what Barnes describes as an “aggressive” outreach program for black voters.

“Nationally, policy wise, there are a number of things that Joe Biden has attempted to do that would be reasonably helpful for people of color, but they don’t know what it is,” Evans said. “Hell, I don’t know what it is half the time. There’s just not any communication from the national party to the Michigan Democratic Party. And certainly the Michigan Democratic Party isn’t talking to us.”

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“There’s a definite disconnect with communities of color,” said Neeley. “We can help. But we have not been engaged enough to be able to provide that level of help or to overcome that level of apathy that’s in the communities.”

That could pose a problem for the Biden’s efforts to secure the Michigan’s 15 electoral college votes this year, as the majority of the state’s 1 million black voters reside in Detroit, Flint and surrounding communities.

Barnes told the Free Press Evans and other black leaders “know how to be involved,” while other Democratic officials insinuated Evans and Neeley have little to offer.

“I believe if he had something valuable to add to the Biden campaign, they’d love to hear from him,” Kevin Tolbert, chair of the 12th Congressional district covering areas of Wayne and Oakland counties, told the Free Press of Evans. “I don’t think they’re going to pick up the phone and call him.”

“If it’s one of those things where the expectation is I’ll call and beg them to sit down and talk – that ain’t gonna happen,” Evans said. “But I’m available to talk and to give input anytime somebody asks.”

The apparent disconnect with black voters comes as the Michigan Democratic Party has shifted focus to court suburban voters, who elected a Democratic trifecta in 2022 for the first time nearly four decades.

It also fits into a much broader dynamic of minority voters shifting to the right nationally.

“Last month, Gallup released data showing how the two-party margin between Black and Hispanic Americans had shifted dramatically since 2020,” the Washington Post reports. “In 2020, Black Americans were 66 points more likely to identify as Democrats than Republicans and Hispanic Americans were 28 points more likely to do so.

“Last year, those numbers were 47 points and 12 points, respectively. That’s a shift to the right of 19 points among Black Americans and 16 points among Hispanics.”

Elections experts pointed out the trend is fueled in part by black conservatives shifting their voting preferences to match their ideology, instead of simply voting for the party.

But there’s other elements at play, as well.

Evans was among roughly 100,000 Michigan Democrats who voted “uncommitted” during the primary as a means of registering their disappointment with the Biden administration, particularly with how the president is handling the ongoing war in Gaza. Neeley didn’t want to discuss his vote.

Michigan’s “Abandon Biden” movement, led by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, is predicting the uncommitted number to swell in the coming months, pushing it closer to Biden’s 154,000 vote margin of victory in Michigan in 2020.

Arab voters from places like Hamtramck and Dearborn recently told CBS News Biden either calls for a ceasefire or it’s no vote come November. They’re not interested in the rhetoric.

Evans told the Free Press it’s a similar situation with black voters, who are struggling to square the president’s comments on things like education with reality.

“It’s nice to say, ‘I’m big on education.’ But lots of folks in the inner city aren’t feeling it,” Evans said. “And that’s why they’re not motivated. In fact, sometimes they are offended because they hear about programs that are investing money in education, and they don’t see any tangible result.”

“They want to be pro-somebody and have a reason for being that way,” Evans said. “For my constituents, for African Americans that I talk to, there’s just a real disconnect. They don’t really know or feel like the party is doing anything to bring them in the tent. Nobody likes to be neglected. And I think a lot of people feel that way.”