The previous blog dealt with the funny side of Joe Biden – his long time, well-documented propensity for making verbal gaffes.
But his history of statements and political positions that, in today’s world, would be considered racist is no laughing matter for his candidacy.
A just-published article by Tony Lee, writing for breitbart.com, recounts a number of them…and notes that his well-publicized interest in making Georgia’s unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, his running mate is being seen by some as a cynical way of covering for his past.
A few excerpts:
In a BuzzFeed report that details the blowback from Abrams’ supporters that even surprised Abrams after various outlets reported that Biden was considering naming Abrams as his vice presidential pick when he announces his candidacy, an Abrams adviser told the outlet that the stories were “particularly exploitative” because “Biden couldn’t be bothered to endorse Stacey in the gubernatorial primary.”
“Now he wants her to save his ass. That’s some serious entitlement,” the adviser reportedly added
Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations” author, recently pointed out Biden’s “problematic” record on social justice issues, and some of Abrams’ allies worried that Biden would use her as his “human shield” during the campaign on race issues.
“Biden said, ‘My goal is to lock Willie Horton up.’ He’s literally on the record making the case for why his crime bill is tough. He wasn’t trying to compromise with the Republicans. This was actually an attempt to get to the right of Republicans,” Coates said. “On top of that, you have this piece in the [Washington Post] where he talks about his own rhetoric in the ’70s and ’80s, in terms of busing. I don’t know if the criminal-justice bit is going to be enough. But you start pulling all of it together, I think you start to get something that might actually be problematic.”
If Biden enters the race, he will also have to answer for his support of the Crime Bill and his comments to a local newspaper in 1975 in which he said school busing was “racist” and blasted “quota systems” for “blacks” and “Chicanos.”
“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with,” Biden said in 1975 to a Delaware-based newspaper. “What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist! Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?”
That, folks, is a lot of racial baggage.
Now, let’s think about how it would affect the 2020 election. Let’s start with whether, if Joe Biden were to win the Democrat nomination, Donald Trump could use this history against him?
The answer is that he probably could not. Democrats have lined up a good deal of racial ammunition against Trump – some real, some bogus – to counter any such strategy.
But that is only part of the equation. There are two other key components to consider:
In a 2020 campaign – assuming he runs for re-election (we still don’t know for 100% sure) – you can bet he will be talking about jobs – specifically the fact that, during his first term of office, Black unemployment has dropped to its lowest level in history.
Trump can remind Black voters that, in 2016, he pointed to the conditions of inner city Black neighborhoods in several major cities under essentially one-party Democrat governance, and said “what the hell do you have to lose” by voting for him.
Now he can say “this time around you DO have something to lose: record low unemployment”.
Will that resonate? Quite possibly it will.
2): Black voter turnout.
Even if Trump’s message about jobs does not resonate, or is no longer true by next year (i.e. a rise in Black unemployment), will Black voters come out to support Joe Biden?
How many Black voters will say “Trump would never get my vote. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to vote for Biden; not with his racist history.”
Low Black turnout for Biden has the capacity to change the results in a number of key states – states Biden must win to have a chance of being elected. States like Michigan, and North Carolina, and Florida, to name just three.
To sum up:
Does Joe Biden have a race problem? The answer is yes, he does.
Is it a serious enough problem to affect his prospects to win the presidency? The answer is yes, it is.
It will be more than a little interesting to see how this plays out over the ensuing months. I promise I’ll be watching…and assume you will be too.