Photo: Marc Nozell @ Flickr

Joe Biden should keep his hands off the presidential race

On 25th April 2019, Biden announced his third Presidential run with the Democratic Party, having never made it beyond the primaries. His first, in 1988, ended in scandal, getting caught plagiarising speeches and lying about his academic record. In his second, he described Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean”. His latest announcement aimed to unite the nation’s “core values” – but do Biden’s values match with Democratic voters today?

His voting record says no. Biden has a lifetime of indefensible politics to defend, and he’s been proven wrong more times than your average friendly climate denier.

In the 1970s, Biden fiercely opposed racial desegregation measures, voting against school bussing aimed at integration. In the 1980s, he voted against abortion rights, allowing states to effectively overturn Roe v Wade, refusing the idea a woman should have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body”.

In the 1990s, Biden authored the Violent Crime Control Act encouraging capital punishment and mass incarceration disproportionately impacting minorities, voted against same-sex marriage, and dismissed Anita Hill’s sexual assault claims against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “he said, she said” and “character assassination”. In the 2000s, he voted for the Secure Fence Act constructing 700 miles of Mexican border fencing, sponsored bankruptcy legislation as “the senator from MBNA” to defeat amendments protecting veterans and students from debt, and then voted to invade Iraq for good measure.

Of course, past and present can be separated. Biden has since changed his mind on some of these measures, including gay marriage. Sure, people can realise they were wrong and change, but do those people really need to be elected as president? It’s difficult to ignore the millions who have suffered from the acts Biden has authored, advocated, and loudly voted for.

Not only do Biden’s policies make him a terrible 2020 candidate; the announcement of a Biden candidacy completely ignores the advances against sexual assault the #metoo movement has made. Accusations such as those made by State Legislator Lucy Flores, display Biden as someone intrusive towards women and their space. The internet is awash with accusations of him being far too ‘touchy-feely’, far surpassing the supposed excuse of generational difference.

Biden, who famously said he has “no empathy for millennials”, is contesting for nomination in a party increasingly dependent on younger voters. Does he even understand what is at stake in 2020? If the Democrats fail again, the consequences are mortal; another four years of Trump and the Republicans.

All of this totals a campaign reeking of ego. What else can explain it? There is no policy rationale; the Democratic base today is more on board with the policies of Sanders and Warren. Voters rejected the candidate of war, incarceration, and corporatism in 2016. Just like Clinton, Biden is running for president for no one but himself.

People are done with empty talk that ‘America’s an idea’. They want some new ideas for America. And Status Quo Joe isn’t it.

Tags: democratic party, Joe Biden, Opinion, president, us politics

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