Diamond Joe: Centrist or Conservative?
June 20, 2019 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Joe Biden Keeps Shooting Past Centrism and Into Conservatism. While some of Biden's proposed policies are in line with the left-wards turn the Dem candidates have been taking, (15$ minimum wage, he now supports the repeal of Hyde), he continues to cozy up to wall street and he wont stop waxing nostalgic about two notorious segregationist senators. This has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, including fellow Dem candidate Cory Booker who heavily criticized Biden for painting noted racists James Eastland and Herman Talmadge in a positive light. Biden's response? To demand an apology from Booker.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (197 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sigh, even though Biden aligns with a lot of my political attitudes the only thing I like about a Biden candidacy is the possibility of more Onion articles.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:51 AM on June 20 [10 favorites]


Oh Joe Biden no
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:01 AM on June 20 [39 favorites]


A few notes about the strange career of Joe Biden

Jon Chait: Joe Biden’s Segregationist Nostalgia Is Even More Ignorant Than It Sounds
For another, by citing segregationists, he is revealing the very reason the bipartisanship he longs for can’t return. The era of bipartisanship was built on suppressing racial conflict. The white South could only be cajoled into a coalition that supported bigger government by preventing African Americans from voting and, at times, outright denying them the benefits of government altogether. He’s invoking the most unappealing aspect of the bipartisanship era. You can argue that forging American consensus was worth the cost of suppressing racial conflict, but actually highlighting the grotesque moral costs of that era is a bizarre way to advertise it.
When your appeals to centrism lost Jon Chait .....
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:01 AM on June 20 [47 favorites]


Biden is everything that was wrong with the Clintons plus an added dose of mid-70s sexism thrown in for good measure.

His kind are what got us here. We need better democrats.

No, Joe. Go.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:01 AM on June 20 [99 favorites]


I do think he was one of our better VPs. I wish he'd concluded that was how he should be remembered.
posted by feckless at 10:05 AM on June 20 [18 favorites]


Joe Biden's inability to see that he is not the leader America needs right now is in itself proof of his unfitness for the presidency.
posted by orange swan at 10:08 AM on June 20 [106 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this is deliberate strategy, and it will work. He might as well print blue hats that say MAKE THE STATUS QUO AGAIN.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:09 AM on June 20 [22 favorites]


Abolish Delaware.

I’m serious, you get rid of Biden and the state’s host of creepy tax havens and corporate shelters. You can’t read a story about the crimes of American capitalism before hitting Delaware and its “pro business” legislature. Absorb it into Maryland and bits of PA and actually make businesses “headquartered” there pay taxes.

Merge North and South Dakota and offer statehood to DC and PR, there you don’t even have to change the flag.

I am not a crank.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 AM on June 20 [177 favorites]


The wild thing about Biden is that almost no matter what policies and traits you value in a Democrat, he's among the worst of the approx. 4 trillion declared candidates. He's in the worst demographic bucket, he's got barely any policies other than playing nice with Republicans, he's got a history of doing racist stuff, he continues to do sexist stuff, he has no history of winning competitive elections, and his core base of support is one of the smallest states in the country. The only positive reason I've heard anyone give for supporting him is that other, imagined voters must surely like him better than Donald Trump, with basically no evidence ever given that he's particularly more likely to win swing voters than any other of the aforementioned 4 trillion. He was a funny meme during an otherwise placid time in American politics, but we can do so, so much better than him on almost any axis that any Democratic primary voter cares about.
posted by Copronymus at 10:13 AM on June 20 [39 favorites]


Biden's response? To demand an apology from Booker.

Looks like Biden's running on the "Not the Trump we have but the Trump we need" platform. Denial and disingenuousness in the face of disapproval of his dumbfuckery by those who know better.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:14 AM on June 20 [10 favorites]


JOE BIDEN GAVE A SPEECH AT STROM THURMOND'S FUNERAL. AND THE TOPIC WAS NOT, "err hey this guy here was a really awful, irredeemable slug" but rather, "My buddy Strom!". And so if you're looking for evidence of a pattern, well. There it is.
posted by GilloD at 10:25 AM on June 20 [42 favorites]


The only good thing that could possibly result from Joe Biden winning the nomination would be if he and trump were to get into a knock-down, drag-out fistfight onstage during a debate. One last little morsel of brainless entertainment to usher in the final end of U.S. democracy.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:29 AM on June 20 [14 favorites]


I want to trust the country's dems not to pick racist sexist grandpa as the party's presidential candidate, but I also trusted the repubs not to pick literally-the-shittiest-human-alive as theirs, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Mayor West at 10:29 AM on June 20 [35 favorites]


Abolish Delaware.

I’m serious, you get rid of Biden and the state’s host of creepy tax havens and corporate shelters. You can’t read a story about the crimes of American capitalism before hitting Delaware and its “pro business” legislature. Absorb it into Maryland and bits of PA and actually make businesses “headquartered” there pay taxes.


lol no. Delaware existed for decades and decades before its current economic climate. Slap a sales tax on people and raise property taxes and all the corporate haven nonsense could be gotten rid of.

Signed, a native Delawarean
posted by Automocar at 10:29 AM on June 20 [17 favorites]


I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for another of these great historical moments when everybody goes, "Well, the Democrat wasn't very exciting." The alternative is a bona fide nightmare dystopia, but the Democrat wasn't very exciting. "We decided to set ourselves on fire and jump into a wood chipper, because the Democrat wasn't very exciting."

But yeah, that being said, Biden is Not Very Exciting. I thought he might be an okay guy because he hung out with Obama a lot, but apparently he's a total jackass. This would be a really great time to NOT snatch defeat from the jaws of victory if we can possibly manage it.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:30 AM on June 20 [31 favorites]


Because there are like 20 Democrats running, and at least 8 or 9 of them have the funding to plausibly sustain a campaign deep into the primaries given modern campaign finance laws, it is conceivable Biden could win with between 30 and 40 percent of the vote in each state. That is about where the polling is now.

It's a similar situation to the one in which Republicans found themselves in 2016. For most of the primary, most Republicans voted for a candidate other than Trump. However, because of the number of candidates, Trump still won because most of the time he got the most votes, even if he never got a majority. Trump himself compared Biden's entrance into the Democratic primary to his own in 2016.

A big difference, however, is Trump's popularity with Republicans. As President, Trump enjoys high approval ratings among Republican voters. I doubt Biden will replicate this feat, especially among Democratic voters younger than 45. I think Biden will run into even greater problems with those voters than Hillary did.

In other words, Biden getting the nomination would result in either a second Trump Presidential term or a Republican president in 2024. President Cotton anyone?

Also, as a last point, as a resident of Pennsylvania, I want no part of Delaware, thank you. It is however remarkable how Biden manages to encapsulate the worst parts of the Delaware Valley culture. He's like a WIP host who decided to run for President.
posted by eagles123 at 10:35 AM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Joseph R. Biden, Will You Please Go Now!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:36 AM on June 20 [16 favorites]


Something that I haven’t seen talked about so much - if you’re measuring on a sliding scale of bigots in the last half of the last century, James Eastland was not merely the typical segregationist bigot. He was an ardent racist. He openly and proudly said black Americans were inferior. He took to the floor of the Senate to insult the black soldiers fighting in World War II, saying they didn’t belong in our military. When Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman went missing during Freedom Summer, Eastland tried to talk LBJ out of doing anything about it and said the whole thing was a hoax. After the Brown decision, he again spoke on the record in the Senate to call segregation the law of God. He was not a Byrd or even a Strom Thurmond.
posted by sallybrown at 10:45 AM on June 20 [44 favorites]


It's depressing that in US politics, our definition of "conservative" includes painting career segregationists as very fine people. It is bizarre that such behavior is STILL seen as an admissible point on a liberal-conservative spectrum, as opposed to just straight up assholery.

I don't even disagree with Biden that it's good to be civil with people you oppose politically. But there is a limit to who is entitled to that civility, and people like Eastland, who called black people an "inferior race," are obviously well past that limit. It speaks very poorly of Biden's character that he can't see that.
posted by andrewpcone at 10:46 AM on June 20 [16 favorites]


Between this thread, and the previous thread about "The Frontrunners" that had no mention of Biden, I can only laugh.

Joseph R. Biden, Will You Please Go Now!

Oh hi the left side of my Twitter feed, I didn't know I'd see you here! A bunch of people in helpless anguish at the idea of Biden winning the primary, even the presidency. The Internet != The Real World, and Biden has a lot of supporters, because Americans are more conservative than whatever online social media you include, and he's likeable. Sanders is not, and Warren automatically gets points taken off because she's a woman.

As for Biden going away, why would he, he's winning in the polls.
posted by zabuni at 10:49 AM on June 20 [9 favorites]


In 2003 my wife and I went to NYC and had the great opportunity to go to a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

At the time I was really excited about the ideas and platform being put forth by the Democratic front runner at the time, Howard Dean. The guest on The Daily Show that night was electric-white-toothed Joe Biden, who proceeded to spend all of his interview time eviscerating Howard Dean for being "too angry and out of the mainstream", and that the American people didn't want that.

Dean's numbers started slipping soon after that, and I remember thinking that Biden's interview that night was clearly the start of a concerted effort by the Democratic Party to submarine Dean. After the dust all cleared we ended up with Kerry, and we all know how that turned out.

I think Biden is being exposed as not a good candidate, but I am also wondering if there's some extra sauce being put out there as a concerted Sink Biden campaign. And then I think back to that night in 2003, and realize that I'm totally on board with a Sink Biden campaign.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:49 AM on June 20 [37 favorites]


My deep worry and disgust is that Biden did choose this example in full knowledge of the reaction it would provoke. His current pitch is that he would be able to reach out to anyone in politics and work together with them. This whole country watched as Obama tried to do that and was senselessly rejected and punished for it, and 90% of the time it was clear that it was so the GOP could make hay out of rejecting a black man and denying his power. And so what Biden is really saying by loudly flaunting this part of his history is not, “I was willing to work with Eastland,” but rather “Eastland was willing to work with me.”
posted by sallybrown at 10:51 AM on June 20 [26 favorites]


Biden shouldn't be running in the first place and is just about the bottom of my preferred candidates in the D field, but if he gets the nomination, I'll dislocate a finger pushing that Biden button in November 2020.
posted by tclark at 10:52 AM on June 20 [33 favorites]


yeah I'm not participating in any project to build a vehement and passionate case against the democratic primary frontrunner, whoever the fuck it is. turns out i didn't drink enough to completely forget 2016 after all
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:54 AM on June 20 [30 favorites]




I am not sure why but I think the landscape in politics these days has shifted away from the conventional wisdom that tough primary fights can permanently damage a nominee and should be avoided. I don’t see this cycle ending well if we play out the nomination in a defensive crouch. I think we need a full hashing out, draw all the bitterness out now, have all the family fights we need, before we all turn and face Trump together.
posted by sallybrown at 10:58 AM on June 20 [11 favorites]


Biden shouldn't be running in the first place and is just about the bottom of my preferred candidates in the D field, but if he gets the nomination, I'll dislocate a finger pushing that Biden button in November 2020.

Can't we just assume that disclaimer as a given anytime people here are discussing the demerits of a particular Democratic candidate? If I say "I hate brussels sprouts" do I really need to add the proviso: "Of course, if I were starving to death on a desert island, I would eat them happily!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:59 AM on June 20 [55 favorites]


I hold the unpopular opinion that there are more racists in the Democratic Party than people think. Conventional wisdom seems to point to Democrats being "woke" and that even the moderates are on the right side of issues related to race, gender equality, sexism, etc. - the typical bone of contention tends to focus on differences in economic policy (fiscal conservatism, capitalism vs. socialism, etc.).

"Not all [insert x]" is a typical defense in this case, but to gloss over the privilege and underlying ethnocentrism of members of the Party winds up opening up easy attacks from the other side, typically in a whataboutist standpoint.

I'm against the circular firing squad, but once in a while, I think everyone needs a reality check. The stark difference between parties is compromise - one Party is in unanimous lockstep and the other is constantly bickering internally about purity, however that's defined. The R's don't have a problem with compromise, they don't have to do it - unless they're compromising their integrity to toe the party line. The D's shoot themselves in the foot because they are unwilling to compromise on certain things - whatever their pet issue happens to be.

Biden is extremely popular for a number of reasons, and his comments on civility incorporate the views of many people inside the Party that tolerate ugliness in the sense that "you have to get along to go along." You may not like your neighbor, for instance, but if you live next to them, you are going to have to maintain some level of civility. It's not a choice, they exist and your situation has few solutions (at least few quick solutions, maybe a longer term solution can be reached).

On the other hand, what Biden is doing is by choice. He's part of the old school, and if the Democratic base doesn't want him to represent them, they have options coming up very soon. They're going to have to face the fact, however, that not everyone is aligned in the Party on issues that are assumed. There is still a heavy dose of racism and misogyny within the Party. Not everyone on "the left" has critical thinking skills. Compromise and tolerance are political tools that need to be wielded carefully in the interests of winning - it's messy. Republicans don't have that issue. They'll do whatever it takes to win. If someone deviates from the party line (e.g. Amash) they are instantly excommunicated and attacked, regardless of their track record. This leads to a growing number of Independents...

Anyhoo, I think Biden is out of touch with the younger generation, starting with GenX, but he still represents a huge number of people who aren't able to keep up with the rapid shifts in ideology and "isms" that are happening in 2019. Personally, I think he's going to fade in popularity, and that's fine with me. He does piss off Drumpf, however, and that's a useful thing right now.
posted by Chuffy at 11:02 AM on June 20 [11 favorites]


I meet regularly with joe biden’s Base, wealthy retired NPR-listening primary-voting Boomers who want Bloomberg to run and who just want to go back to “normal”. Biden lost them about two weeks ago (the abortion stuff coming out was the kicker) and now they’re babes in the wood without a candidate they like.

I’ve been running best and worst case scenarios for the last two years and my gut tells me the DNC is going to fuck this up/pull some shady shit to appease their donor base cause this is the last presidential cycle that will matter.

That this is the last presidential cycle not consumed with boiling floodwaters does not enter into their reasoning.
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 AM on June 20 [26 favorites]




Can't we just assume that disclaimer as a given anytime people here are discussing the demerits of a particular Democratic candidate?

Unfortunately, I find this disclaimer more important to state than ever. After 2016, I don't make assumptions like that anymore.
posted by tclark at 11:08 AM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Biden lost them about two weeks ago (the abortion stuff coming out was the kicker) and now they’re babes in the wood without a candidate they like.

Anecdata, not data, but - the strongest Biden supporters I know back him not because of policy but because they think he’s the strongest possible candidate against Trump. If they believed some other candidate was as strong or stronger, they would happily and instantly switch camps. But I’m not sure how we would measure that in a trustworthy way—at this point, “Biden is strongest against Trump,” is received wisdom.
posted by sallybrown at 11:08 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


What is even the point of having a primary if it's taboo to identify some candidates as worse than others on important issues? If you just want a coronation so you can push a button next November, feel free to ignore everything that happens for the next 9-12 months. If you want anything approaching any sort of minimum standard of conduct from a potential president, it's actually pretty bad that one candidate in particular talks about how great segregationists were as people and can't stop himself from touching women who happen to be around him.
posted by Copronymus at 11:09 AM on June 20 [68 favorites]


I'm fond of ol' Joe, particularly the Joe that cut through the bullshit on the health care and gay marriage debates, but maaaaaan, I wish he'd stayed in Retired Elder Statesman mode.

Joe, your time has passed, in the fullest sense of that phrase. Please go.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:10 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


"Refusing to criticize the leading candidate, despite evidence that he's not great" is how Republicans ended up electing a president who's got antiquated beliefs, who doesn't listen to others when he thinks he's right, and who thinks apologizing is a sign of weakness. Biden seems to have all those qualities, too. If Biden was polling like 50 points ahead of the rest of the Dems I might feel like giving him more of a break, but the top three or four Dems all seem close enough to each other in the polls right now that criticizing Biden at this point in the election doesn't seem like it will affect the likelihood of the next president being a Democrat.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:11 AM on June 20 [19 favorites]


People are shifting their "electable, doesn't scare me" votes to Warren as we speak. "Frontrunner" is pretty useless in a field this crowded where Biden doesn't even have a third of the votes and where similar candidates are pulling from each other. For example, if either Warren or Sanders were out and endorsed the other, you'd probably see the remaining candidate top Biden.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:12 AM on June 20 [25 favorites]


Also, as much as it pains me to say it because I think he's emininently unqualified, a lot of the "I like someone who speaks to republicans and democrats" voters are probably just as happy with Buttigeig, maybe even with him as VP. So a Warren / Buttigeig ticket looks like a decent bet compared to many more months of Biden's shambling disaster campaign strategy.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:14 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


UGH & MEH 2020

(Apparently the DNC's choicest candidates. Yikes, not again.)
posted by nikoniko at 11:16 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


On a personal level, Biden's statements on grief meant so much to me in going through my own process, that it pains me to see my helper friend now ruining his own goodwill.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:16 AM on June 20 [18 favorites]


the strongest Biden supporters I know back him not because of policy but because they think he’s the strongest possible candidate against Trump.

Sure measured by the same metrics that gave us Hillary's utter trainwreck of a candidacy and campaign.

He is absolutely the weakest candidate to anyone who isn't dead-set on voting DNC party line. He's a shitty 'centrist' liberal, who offers nothing to voters who want to see any sort of principles in a candidate. You're not going to win over die hard racist fuckmongers with any candidate, so pandering with 'hey I'm a little bit creepy and racist and don't actually want to change anything' doesn't get you votes, but... it absolutely loses votes from people who have some vague interest in a positive outcome for this country to either non-voting or "well, fuck it" Trump votes.

Biden needs to fuck-off already, otherwise Trump 2020 is gonna be a slam-dunk.
posted by so fucking future at 11:16 AM on June 20 [23 favorites]


If you want anything approaching any sort of minimum standard of conduct from a potential president, it's actually pretty bad that one candidate in particular talks about how great segregationists were as people and can't stop himself from touching women who happen to be around him.

Don't you get it? To stop racism, you have to endorse racism! If 2016 taught me anything, it's that having a blatantly pro-corporate, completely negotiable moral and political platform wins elections!
posted by invitapriore at 11:17 AM on June 20 [9 favorites]


> It's a similar situation to the one in which Republicans found themselves in 2016. For most of the primary, most Republicans voted for a candidate other than Trump. However, because of the number of candidates, Trump still won because most of the time he got the most votes, even if he never got a majority. Trump himself compared Biden's entrance into the Democratic primary to his own in 2016.

Every Democratic Party primary allocates delegates by proportional representation rather than by first past the post. This is a difference between how the Democratic Party is run and how the Republican Party is run. This difference means that the Democratic Party apparatus isn't susceptible to all of the exploits that the Republican Party apparatus is.

If Biden consistently wins 35 or 40 percent of the votes, he's going to come into the convention with 35 or 40 percent of the delegates. There's still potential for fuckery involving superdelegates, but in the aftermath of the 2016 disaster the number and influence of superdelegates has been reduced.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:19 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


The Internet != The Real World, and Biden has a lot of supporters, because Americans are more conservative than whatever online social media you include

Wait. You do know that the other people on online social media live in the real world too, yes? It's not just you.
posted by howfar at 11:20 AM on June 20 [19 favorites]


the internet is a large and meaningful subset of the real world, and ignoring the rise of new model fascism on the Internet is what got us into this mess in the first place.

the internet is part of the real world, and an important one. we can't let ourselves pretend otherwise ever again.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:21 AM on June 20 [24 favorites]


I don't think Biden would be vetoing progressive legislation if we have the House and Senate, but I think his "I'll work with the Republicans" line actively hurts our chances of getting the Senate. There are enough voters out there who don't pay enough attention to realize that a Republican legislature means nothing getting passed for four years and what that means for climate change but they'll be placated by Biden's bipartisan feelgoodery and not worry about getting Dems in Congress instead of being pushed by the candidate on the absolute urgency of getting Mitch and friends out of power.

I could absolutely see McConnell vaguely acting like he'll negotiate with Biden in good faith during the election and then immediately going back to The Party of No if he wins because that would be an effective survival tactic for a Republican Senate.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:24 AM on June 20 [9 favorites]


There is no planet on which Biden beats Trump in the general, is maybe his biggest problem. His only "appeal" is that he is moderate enough to maybe swing some never Trumpers or a few folks who sat last election out - maybe. But those voters aren't enough to win the election for democrats. He will not get black people out, or other minorities, or young voters, which is who we need to win. He is blah enough for folks in the center but inspiring for no one.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:26 AM on June 20 [11 favorites]


It would take a lot of hard work to lose to Trump next year, but I'm pretty sure the Senator from MasterCard is up to the challenge.
posted by anarch at 11:28 AM on June 20 [20 favorites]


Oh hi the left side of my Twitter feed, I didn't know I'd see you here! A bunch of people in helpless anguish at the idea of Biden winning the primary, even the presidency. The Internet != The Real World, and Biden has a lot of supporters, because Americans are more conservative than whatever online social media you include, and he's likeable. Sanders is not, and Warren automatically gets points taken off because she's a woman.

People vote because they're inspired, or fearful. Biden inspires no one, and does not allay anyones fear except "well I guess he's not Trump". Trump on the other hand inspires TONS of people with his meaningless brainworm spew, and allays the fear of a heathen Democrat making America ungreat again with abortion and devilworship and people of color.

"Less left" is not a winning strategy, it will never win Trump voters over, all it will do is shit in the mouths of the Dem's ostensible base.
posted by so fucking future at 11:28 AM on June 20 [27 favorites]


Unfortunately Joe is a perfect candidate for the D-word (Dimwitted) appellation. I'm surprised the Trump camp has not hit on it yet... NO-JOE!
posted by shnarg at 11:29 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


I wish that Warren could convince Bernie to join forces where he'll accept a VP position now
posted by growabrain at 11:36 AM on June 20 [10 favorites]


On the premium Chapo feed today Matt, Amber, and Will and made a pretty good case that ol' Diamond Joe is probably as smooth-brained as Trump at this point.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:36 AM on June 20 [9 favorites]


Maybe the best spin you can put on Joe's campaign is that it's a plea for a return to normal.

I think Mayor Pete is right about one thing. By the time this whole nightmare is over, there won't be a normal to go back to.
posted by Flexagon at 11:38 AM on June 20 [12 favorites]


"By the way, you know, remember I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, ‘You know what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people.’ Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who has made money. The truth of the matter is, you all, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done. We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change. Because when we have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution. Not a joke. Not a joke. I’m not [inaudible] revolution. But not a joke. It allows demagogues to step in and say the reason where we are is because of the other, the other. You’re not the other. I need you very badly. I hope if I win this nomination, I won’t let you down." –Joe Biden, to the 1%
pulling this from the article because you need to read this even if you don't RTFA.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:41 AM on June 20 [37 favorites]


Americans are more conservative than whatever online social media you include

While this might be true in terms of identity, according to the polls I've seen, it isn't true with respect to policy. The issue isn't that Biden is the man they want, it's that people don't know how to align their political choices with their ideological preferences. It's cognitive dissonance in action.
posted by klanawa at 11:51 AM on June 20 [8 favorites]


As for Biden going away, why would he, he's winning in the polls.

Does he have ... Joementum?
posted by benzenedream at 11:52 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


The US has been dragged to the Far Right, Wealth Inequality is wildly out of control, the current Administration is hell-bent on dragging us into war with Iran, the environment is being trashed again, human rights are in shreds, Racism is flowering, we are still at war in Afghanistan, opioids are killing hundreds, people can't afford health care or education, Climate Change is killing people in India, wrecking crops all over the Midwest, and threatening our existence, and Joe's platform is based on Hey, let's all be pals.

I will make phone calls, knock on doors, and sticker my car for whoever the Democratic nominee is, but I'd rather it not be an old white guy who doesn't get it. I have no illusions about an ideologically perfect candidate, but he Doesn't Get It about Women, Race, Climate, Wealth Inequality, etc. If Biden is aware that the GOP has subverted the election process, and is dedicated to serving the very wealthy, and to winning at all costs, it doesn't show.

Let's Occupy the Democratic Party; they need it badly. I honestly wonder if the DNC is pwned by the GOP. I never used to be a conspiracist. This fucking timeline, I can't even.
posted by theora55 at 11:53 AM on June 20 [32 favorites]


I just want to take a moment to say publicly that Joe Biden should fuck right off.
posted by Shutter at 11:53 AM on June 20 [28 favorites]


What was the line about ballot initiatives? People love Democratic policy but hate Democratic politicians?
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Centrist or Conservative

What's the difference?
posted by Reyturner at 11:55 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


What's the difference?

One is an adjective, one is imaginary.
posted by klanawa at 12:00 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


The thing about Ballot Initiatives goes right to the heart of GOP strategy, wherein you only have to agree with the GOP about one issue in ten because they'll convince you that that one issue is what's coming to kill you. Then they'll more gently assuage your guilt about the remaining nine issues.

To me one of the more upsetting things about the Biden campaign is that he could be using his skills and relationships and popularity with the 1% and everything else to be fundraising and strategizing for the party at large. But this. Praising Eastland doesn't just speak poorly of Uncle Joe - it makes some people turn away in disgust altogether. And those are voters who are hard to bring back.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:10 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


you know Trump's jonesing for Joe; DJT knows he would wipe the floor with this ex-VP
posted by chavenet at 12:17 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry if it sounded like I was cheering for Biden. I'd rather have Warren. One of them has actual policies.

Wait. You do know that the other people on online social media live in the real world too, yes? It's not just you.

It's a subset. And filter bubbles can really serve as distorted views of what the general public thinks.

Let's Occupy the Democratic Party; they need it badly.

Well, getting more people to vote in the primaries for your candidate is how you get your candidate to win the primary. I will say though, "No Joe" is not a candidate that is running. Just like never-Trump wasn't running in the last Republican primary. And we have the same type of overfilled stack of candidates that are clawing at each other.

The issue isn't that Biden is the man they want, it's that people don't know how to align their political choices with their ideological preferences. It's cognitive dissonance in action.

This generally happens across the board. People don't vote on policy.
posted by zabuni at 12:18 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Tweet from the New Yorker’s Osita Nwanevu:
Joe Biden's breaking out segregationists only real heads know like someone showing off their obscure vinyl. 'Herman Talmadge - what a guy. Yeah, you've probably never heard of him.'
posted by sallybrown at 12:20 PM on June 20 [28 favorites]


a-and where's AOC on this anyway?

oh.... here
posted by chavenet at 12:20 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


I hold the unpopular opinion that there are more racists in the Democratic Party than people think.

Also the correct opinion. You could be forgiven for believing Joe's pals were Republicans if you were skimming, or tuned into US politics in 2016. These were Democrats. There's nothing more rich to me than seeing Dems contort themselves to pretend that they weren't the segregationist party. Fewer democrats supported the Civil Rights Act than Republicans. How do you gloss that over? How can you belong to that party? Has it changed? When? Biden waxes poetic about his fellow racist senators, Hilary can't praise noted KKK member Robert Byrd enough, Obama at least had the good sense to hide his publicity shots with Louis Farrakhan (but I don't remember him or the D control house/senate caring about reparations less than 10 years ago? Weird). Don't get me started on anti-semitism. Jesse Jackson calls New York "Hymietown" and talks about jew conspiracies, and everyone seems to have forgotten.

Whatever. I cannot understand how progressives donate their time and energy to a party that is at least as culpable as the Republican Party in the state of the US today (however you define that). Do it to gain power, beat trump, whatever I guess, but don't pretend the Democratic Party occupies any moral high ground, then or now (obviously).
posted by Mirax at 12:22 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


I am very interested in what my Iowa caucus is like. I will report back in like... uh, 8 months or something?
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:22 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Ugggghh this creep. My first presidential vote was for John Kerry, and I've been accordingly suspicious of "electability" arguments ever since. It's possible that Biden would retain enough support to actually win the next election, but by no means is it a sure thing. He'll definitely bleed support as people start to realize why Joe never crossed the finish line the first hundred times he tried to become president. I don't even mean his actual record as a politician or human being -- I mean that he's clearly not very good at running for president.

Obviously I'd vote for him in the alternative was Donald Trump, but right now there's at least a dozen candidates running that I'd take before Biden.
posted by grandiloquiet at 12:24 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


I am hopeful because every single other person running for the Dem nomination right now knows target #1 has to be Biden. If you're in his lane (Harris, Buttgieg, Gillibrand, O'Rourke, a dozen senators and governors nobody wants anything to do with) you need to get him out of it, and if you're in the progressive lane (Sanders, Warren, Williamson, the alternate universe Fae Queen who is melded with Williamson) you also need him to stop sucking up all the air in the room.

The debates are going to be Knives Out from the start, and the first knife everybody will be wielding will have Joseph Robinette Biden inscribed on the bevel.
posted by turntraitor at 12:32 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


On a personal level, Biden's statements on grief meant so much to me in going through my own process, that it pains me to see my helper friend now ruining his own goodwill.

This is what kills me too. For the most part it's very clear to me Biden is not a candidate I would ever support, but I always think about that speech and how heartfelt and genuine it was to me. Reconciling that with everything else I know about him can be difficult at times.
posted by chrominance at 12:33 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


If they believed some other candidate was as strong or stronger, they would happily and instantly switch camps.

While I generally prefer not to psychologize people's motivations and claim they are acting for reasons other than their stated ones, I suspect that while many Biden supporters say that they support him just because he is the most electable, that self-description is not always quite accurate. That is, should Sanders or Warren suddenly become the front-runner with the highest head-to-head polling against Trump (which I expect may happen if/when Biden's numbers decline), many of these people will not in fact instantly switch to becoming Sanders or Warren supporters. I expect that many of them will come up with reasons why Buttigieg or Harris or O'Rourke have a better shot in the general regardless of what the current polls are saying, and/or switch their main decision criterion from pure electability to something more policy-oriented. That is, I think many of Biden's supporters prefer him because he is (to them) a friendly, unthreatening, mainstream older white man, but they prefer to think of themselves as pragmatic, primarily anti-Trump electability-based voters. As always, the truth is surely some mix of all this, but I certainly don't think that all of Biden's supporters will leak away only to whatever the next front-runner is, especially if it's Sanders or Warren.
posted by chortly at 12:36 PM on June 20 [21 favorites]


There's nothing more rich to me than seeing Dems contort themselves to pretend that they weren't the segregationist party. Fewer democrats supported the Civil Rights Act than Republicans.

The Dixiecrats at that time largely migrated to the Republican Party. There was definitely a shift, starting with Nixon's Southern Strategy, and shored up with Reagan. The Democratic Party is hugely different today than it was even in the mid 60's. Even Lincoln was a Republican, so this line of argument fails the smell test when talking about the the Civil Rights Act and comparing Democrats in the 60's to the modern day party. You may as well bring Robert Byrd into the discussion if you're going that route...

My opinion is based on the inherent ethnocentrism of Americans in general...to think that Democrats are all "woke" is a mistake.
posted by Chuffy at 12:40 PM on June 20 [18 favorites]


Bye Joe, bye.
posted by brokeaspoke at 12:58 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


thanks to the quirks in our electoral system that we all know about, the only way to succeed in american politics as currently configured is to seize one or the other of the parties and use it as a weapon.

entryism isn't a pretty strategy or a clean strategy, but it's the only one available to people who want to bring democracy to america. if decent people take control of the democrats, a lot of the low-key ethnonationalists who identify with the democratic party will be dragged along toward decency. conversely, if segregationist-huggers like biden retain control of the party, more people who identify with the democrats will find themselves tolerating segregationists. what's more, in both cases they'll think they're changing their views of their own volition, because we as humans tend toward pretending that the things we do as the result of our environment are things that we do because of free individual choice.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:07 PM on June 20 [13 favorites]


[Let's keep this relatively topic-focused and not do the whole "the entire Democratic party is hopeless" dance again. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:13 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Every Democratic Party primary allocates delegates by proportional representation rather than by first past the post. This is a difference between how the Democratic Party is run and how the Republican Party is run. This difference means that the Democratic Party apparatus isn't susceptible to all of the exploits that the Republican Party apparatus is.

If Biden consistently wins 35 or 40 percent of the votes, he's going to come into the convention with 35 or 40 percent of the delegates. There's still potential for fuckery involving superdelegates, but in the aftermath of the 2016 disaster the number and influence of superdelegates has been reduced.



If Biden gets 35 to 40 percent of the delegates and the rest of the candidates get less than that, Biden still receives the most delegates. You'd need "fuckery", or at least the appearance of fuckery, on the part of the superdelegates to give the nomination to another candidate who received less delegates. Either way it would be a clusterfuck.

Apparently this morning on the view Whoopi Goldberg defended Biden to applause from Booker's charge of racism. That is interesting because I didn't see anyone, including Booker, call Biden a racist. We are getting into "fuck easily triggered millennial SJW" territory here. Between Democratic primary voters who respond to that messaging, Democratic primary voters who like Biden because they think he brings Obama back, and Democratic primary voters who just want to vote for the most "electable" candidate, I can easily see Biden getting a plurality of the votes.


Those people don't need to be the majority of Democrats. They just need to be numerous enough to give Biden more votes and therefore more delegates than the rest of the candidates.
posted by eagles123 at 1:48 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


This Biden incident reminds me of when Trump ridiculed John McCain getting captured. “Certainly this will be the end of Trump’s campaign.” And I also thought that Trump leaving the race would be bad, because he was the most beatable. Obviously wrong on both counts.

Biden is old enough and served long enough ago that he was representing Delaware when Eastland’s views were widespread all over the country, not just in the South. It basically would have been impossible not to have had white co-workers, relatives, and friends that held such views. Today such attitudes rightfully are rightfully despised in the public sphere and would likely be the end of many friendships.

Perhaps there is no way that he could have discussed his relationships with these racist colleagues that would make sense in today’s social and political climate, at least among younger Democratic voters. How he did so certainly seems to have been a blunder. But I don’t blame him for having had friendly relations with colleagues who were elected in part because they shared the racist views of a majority of their constituents and a huge swath of the American public at the time.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:53 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Beating Trump is the only thing that matters. Not impeaching, not anything else. He must be beaten and those who support him must learn a painful lesson.

Once this is over everyone has to support the candidate with the highest chance of beating Trump. There is no other way. There can be no other way.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:03 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Because if we keep throwing groups under the bus, that will help voter turnout.
posted by kokaku at 2:11 PM on June 20 [30 favorites]


Biden is old enough and served long enough ago that he was representing Delaware when Eastland’s views were widespread all over the country, not just in the South. It basically would have been impossible not to have had white co-workers, relatives, and friends that held such views.

I just want to make clear again that Eastland’s views were not mainstream even among open racists of his time. He denigrated black American troops as not good enough to fight while World War II was ongoing and these men were serving the country overseas. He said in 1978 that he didn’t regret any of his earlier positions, which included that all black people were inferior to whites and that segregation was the law of god. Racism was common and widespread in Eastland’s time; this particular level of racism was not. LBJ—whose private behavior and attitudes might be characterized as the mainstream racism of the time—remarked on the fringe/intense nature of Eastland’s beliefs.
posted by sallybrown at 2:16 PM on June 20 [32 favorites]


But I don’t blame him for having friendly relationships with colleagues who were elected in part because they shared the racist views of a majority of their constituents and a huge swath of the American public at the time.

I do. Because I am capable of having professional relationships with colleagues who hold views I find reprehensible. I'm not friendly with colleagues who are okay with what's going on in the immigrant detention centers, with colleagues who believe that women shouldn't have control over their bodies, with colleagues who are virulently transphobic.

I can set aside my feelings about their views to work with them and get work shit done. But I don't seek out friendships with them, and I don't go around asking for all the credit in the world because in my superhuman nobility and agreeableness, I'm able to look past their reprehensible views about groups of humans I don't belong to -- rendering me immune to the consequences of their actions against those groups and the actions of politicians they support because of those views -- and become fast friends with them. Yeah, Ralph in accounting believes women should be forced to bear the children of their rapists and share parenting rights with them, but he's so much fun to drink with and he's good at pub trivia! Just a great guy all around, other than that one thing, I don't know why more of my fellow liberals don't see it that way!"

(I'll add that arguably Eastland's views were beyond the "general" views on race held at the time.)
posted by lord_wolf at 2:26 PM on June 20 [27 favorites]


Here is a tweet containing a passage from one of Robert Caro’s books on LBJ (Master of the Senate) that describes Eastland calling for genocide of black Americans in extremely disturbing and gruesome terms, including racial hate language—here’s the tweet (warning: very disturbing).
posted by sallybrown at 2:28 PM on June 20 [13 favorites]


I think many of Biden's supporters prefer him because he is (to them) a friendly, unthreatening, mainstream older white man, but they prefer to think of themselves as pragmatic, primarily anti-Trump electability-based voters.

I don't think these are exactly even distinct positions - the idea of "electability" rests on a whole bundle of preconceptions, including the preconception that a guy who looks like Joe Biden is an attractive candidate. A lot of people's preconceptions about "electability" should have been blown to pieces in 2016, but somehow they haven't been.

Joe Biden as the opponent to Trump would be a test of whether an election can, in 2020, be won entirely on personal charisma. Or maybe it would be a test of whether an election can by won by combining the Democratic Party brand (lol) with just enough social conservatism to win back just enough of the fabled heartland-working-class-whites-for-Trump to eke out a win on the rigged electoral map. I guess I find the second version a bit more plausible than the first but I have a pretty bad feeling about both of them - maybe if you had a guy who really did come with a bit more populist economic credibility - and anyway even if it does work then you've got Joe Biden as president at a critical juncture for the future of the country and the world, so...?
posted by atoxyl at 2:32 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Beating Trump is the only thing that matters.

Not even close. Trump is where the Republican Party has been going for 30 years, and this is where all this "back to normal" shit just falls apart as the basis for a realistic political strategy.
posted by atoxyl at 2:34 PM on June 20 [52 favorites]


The fact that people in this year are now trying to parse the level of racist James Eastland was is a prime example of why Biden should never have done this. Now Eastland’s history becomes a political football and some people will feel compelled to play down who he really was, when his reputation should stay as the pond scum it is.
posted by sallybrown at 2:39 PM on June 20 [10 favorites]


Beating Trump is the only thing that matters. Not impeaching, not anything else. He must be beaten and those who support him must learn a painful lesson.

You're dangerously wrong about this. Trump is not a dark-horse outlier, he's the perfect culmination of the past 30-40 years of American culture and politics.
posted by so fucking future at 2:40 PM on June 20 [49 favorites]


> If Biden gets 35 to 40 percent of the delegates and the rest of the candidates get less than that, Biden still receives the most delegates. You'd need "fuckery", or at least the appearance of fuckery, on the part of the superdelegates to give the nomination to another candidate who received less delegates. Either way it would be a clusterfuck.

alternately the candidate with the third-most delegates (likely sanders) releases those delegates to vote for the candidate with the second-most delegates (likely warren), and the slate most preferred by most democrats thereby gets the nomination.

alternately, if warren + sanders doesn't get to 50% + 1, warren + sanders is not the slate most preferred by most democrats. in that case buttigieg (4th) and/or o'rourke (5th) release their delegates to vote for biden and some version of the slate preferred by most democrats gets the nomination.

convention floor negotiations to get the nomination to the slate preferred by the most democrats is the polar opposite of fuckery. the television media outlets will spin it as "democrats in disarray1111!11" but fuck them. 1) they'll shout that no matter what 2) they're an unimportant vestige from a previous century rather than something that actually matters.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:49 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Beating Trump is the only thing that matters. Not impeaching, not anything else. He must be beaten and those who support him must learn a painful lesson.

Yeah, no, it's not. Let's say Biden edges out a narrow electoral and popular victory-- 290 EVs, and 50.5% of the popular. That's his ceiling, without any appeal to bring new and young and minority voters out. Assuming Trump doesn't seize the opportunity to ratchet the "illegal voters" rhetoric up to 11 and refuse to cede power, what do you think the following four years will consist of? The Senate is gerrymandering made incarnate, so with weak down-ballot support, the Senate stays red, and McConnell blocks everything the House passes. The ethno-nationalists have learned that they can actually be Nazis and not face any repercussions for it, and will continue to grow in numbers and influence absent the fearsome federal purge Biden will never bring. Come 2024, the GOP doubles down on everything Trump is, because it turns out that ~35% of the base will vote for a ham sandwich as long as it promises to get rid of the icky brown people, and nominates a competent fascist this time. Said fascist then campaigns on Biden's inability to get anything done, and promises to make the trains run on time. No one notices the historical precedent, and the fascist wins a sweeping victory and immediately institutes the pogroms while Miami sink into the sea, to the thunderous applause of the deplorables.
posted by Mayor West at 2:54 PM on June 20 [27 favorites]




Beating Trump is the only thing that matters.

When I lived in NY, I used to take a bus up to Atlantic City with my then-gf and a bunch of her coworkers. And we'd play low-stakes roulette, where you had to bet a minimum of 10 $1 chips. After playing with these folks for a bit, I started to realize they were making bets where it was mathematically impossible for them to ever increase the amount of money they had in front of them, because they were putting $1 in ten different places on 4-numbers, and that only pays out at 8 to 1. So if none of their bets is the number that the roulette ball landed on, they'd lose $10. But if the roulette ball landed on one of their numbers, they'd still lose $1- they made $10 in bets, they got to keep their winning $1 bet, and they won $8- they paid $10 to end up with $9. I tried pointing this out to them, and got some sort of "yeah, but I keep winning" response, so I let it drop.

American politics ain't roulette, but it's still important to focus on more than just winning. It's also important to consider what you will get when you do win, whether there are any downsides to a "win", and what you're trying to do by playing the game.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:22 PM on June 20 [29 favorites]


okay fine I went and did research. superdelegate fuckery is essentially not a thing this cycle. as a result of the reforms made in the wake of 2016, superdelegates cast meaningful votes if and only if there is no clear winner from among the pledged delegates (i.e. it's not a contested convention and so all the superdelegates are doing is participating in the pomp and circumstance or whatever). in no case will a superdelegate cast an actual meaningful vote in the first round of voting.

so. if a candidate wins the first round (the round before the superdelegates get in), they're the nominee, no superdelegate participation required. but if there is no clear winner — i.e. no one candidate has received 1885 or more of the 3768 pledged delegates elected by the democratic party members of the various states and territories — then there is one round of voting that does not involve the superdelegates. if there is no clear winner after that round, all the pledged delegates are released to vote for whoever they want, and in addition the 764 superdelegates participate in all subsequent rounds.

if sanders + warren come in with significantly more than 1885 delegates between them, and if they have a lick of sense (which i believe they do — that's one of the reasons i support them), whoever has the second-most delegates between them have every right to release those delegates before the first round vote, the round before the superdelegates get in. presumably whoever releases their delegates would end up getting either the vp slot or an actual meaningful office (treasury?).

the way the superdelegates work this time around is actually pretty elegant, imo. they only get involved if there is in fact no coalition or slate that has support from a majority of democrats — basically, if it is absolutely certain that the party members themselves can't decide on a candidate to pick, only then will the party grandees get involved in the decision.

the thing i'm still doing research on involves the exact rules for when a delegate can be released to vote for a candidate other than the one they're pledged to. at any time a candidate can release their delegates by formally withdrawing from the race (or suspending their campaign, which is interpreted as being the same thing), so that's available as a failsafe. but also, i believe it is possible for the candidate to release their delegates by basically just saying "delegates! you are released!", (though some states might have different rules for their pledged delegates? that's the thing i can't figure out.)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:28 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Barring a truly repugnant Roy Moore-level sexual assault incident coming out, Biden will be in the race through Super Tuesday at a minimum. The monied interests who want a conservative Dem rather than a bomb-thrower in charge of economic policy, who are grumpy about Bernie derailing Hillary's smooth coronation, who are intent on proving that _they_, not the ever-punchable hippies and angry young people control the party and the nomination want a Biden type badly. A wave of Remember When The Country Was Less Insane? This Guy Didn't Do Much Then But At Least He Was Nearby nostalgia is what they're counting on. Make Big Business A Bit More Stable Again.

Which is not what this party, country or planet needs right now. But that is not what matters to them.
posted by delfin at 3:31 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


This whole incident is a great example of why Biden won't be able to run a winning campaign. Here are the following levels on which all of this fails:

1) He namechecks senators so old, few people outside of Washington even know who they are.
2) Once everyone reads up on these Senators, we all learn they stand for racism and segregation.
3) Biden's position is then boiled down to 'Hey, I'd even compromise with racists!'
4) Biden then attempts to apply his willingness to work with Republicans to the modern political era, a time when the Republican position is to never work with Democrats. In effect, he's promising something only the opposition party can give.
5) When issue 3 is pointed out, he not only refuses to back down, but demands an apology from his critics. This is basically a page from Trump's book - a book Democratic voters do not like.

In sum, Biden's statement (and his subsequent reaction to his statement) show such a level of tone deafness that I just cannot fathom he'd be capable of winning the primary, much less the general election.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:53 PM on June 20 [28 favorites]


Joe Biden is the United States' version of Emmanuel Macron. If he gets the candidacy - win or lose the presidency - it will represent an entrenched and long term victory for the far right.
posted by smithsmith at 4:25 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


Remember that in the November 1972 election that put Biden in the Senate, Nixon won 49-state landslide. The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were less than ten years old, and Brown v. Board of Education was less than 20.

We find Eastland’s views sickening and unbelievable. But Jim Eastland was a senior member of the Senate from the majority party of which Biden was a member. He and other Democratic Senators like Ted Kennedy and Robert Kennedy had to work with Eastland and others like him. (Yes, I understand that Eastland might have been the worst of the lot.) It was easier to do so if one was on friendly terms.

Biden discussing his relationships with notorious segregationists in nostalgic terms is distasteful to our 2019 sensibilities. Bringing them up is a mistake. But given the political situation of the country and the Senate of his first term as a US Senator, I don’t fault him, because he clearly doesn’t hold any of those views. Biden served as Obama’s VP, and he and Obama are friends, for goodness sakes!

Will I support Biden in the primary? I don’t know. I’ll survey the field when the Massachusetts primary comes around. Regardless, whomever gets the Democratic nomination, in November 2020 she/he gets my vote.
posted by haiku warrior at 4:26 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Absorb it into Maryland and bits of PA and actually make businesses “headquartered” there pay taxes.

hey now. Maryland gets none of what should have just stayed a part of Pennsylvania.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:33 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Biden discussing his relationships with notorious segregationists in nostalgic terms is distasteful to our 2019 sensibilities. Bringing them up is a mistake. But given the political situation of the country and the Senate of his first term as a US Senator, I don’t fault him, because he clearly doesn’t hold any of those views. Biden served as Obama’s VP, and he and Obama are friends, for goodness sakes!

Some of his best friends are Obama.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:34 PM on June 20 [41 favorites]


But given the political situation of the country and the Senate of his first term as a US Senator, I don’t fault him, because he clearly doesn’t hold any of those views. Biden served as Obama’s VP, and he and Obama are friends, for goodness sakes!

He was very pro-segregation in Delaware. So...
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:46 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


Buckling to political pressure from his white constituents who wanted to keep things the way they were, Biden established himself as a leading Democratic opponent of busing in the Senate. Concluding that busing was a “bankrupt concept,” he found himself principally aligned with consummate civil rights opponent and GOP Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who was unabashed in his commitment “to put an end to the current blight on American education that is generally referred to as ‘forced bussing.’” Biden joined conservatives and increasing numbers of liberals who were determined to limit the scope of Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its prohibition on school segregation and to hamstring the federal government’s power to compel localities—under the threat of withholding federal funds—to desegregate their schools.

Biden supported a measure sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), a former Klansman who had held the floor for more than 14 hours in a filibuster against the 1964 civil rights bill, that prohibited the use of federal funds to transport students beyond the school closest to their homes and that passed into law in 1976. And in 1977, Biden co-sponsored a measure that further restricted the federal government from desegregating city and suburban schools with redistricting measures like school clustering and pairing. This measure won the approval of a majority of his Senate colleagues, and President Jimmy Carter later signed the provision into law, significantly narrowing legislative avenues for reform. Meanwhile, the Warren Burger-led Supreme Court, with its four recently appointed conservative members, proved less and less sympathetic to civil rights activists’ claims about constitutional violations and was unwilling to demand busing remedies.
Here’s How Deep Biden’s Busing Problem Runs
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:51 PM on June 20 [14 favorites]


We find Eastland’s views sickening and unbelievable.

nobody finds it unbelievable that a white supremacist called for segregation with a little incidental genocide. "unbelievable," what the fuck. to find it unbelievable you'd have to be brand new to american history.

and not all of us find it equally sickening. obviously. some of "us" can't even find it in our hearts to call it uncivil.

Perhaps there is no way that he could have discussed his relationships with these racist colleagues that would make sense in today’s social and political climate, at least among younger Democratic voters. How he did so certainly seems to have been a blunder.

nobody is having trouble making sense of what he did and said then and now. except for those people who are somehow capable of unashamedly passing it off as a gaffe or a "blunder."
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:52 PM on June 20 [15 favorites]


If "we need to stop Trump" is the campaign we're left with, then it's the campaign I'll fight for, because it's the truth - we need to stop Trump. We need to stop this horror show slide into fascism.

But goddamn, Biden's success so far, when there are far better candidates who just aren't comfortable, white, or male enough, just makes my blood boil. Meritocracy my ass.

It's like they've forgotten the Obama campaign.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:14 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.

Can't get more succinct than this!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:37 PM on June 20 [17 favorites]


Sure measured by the same metrics that gave us Hillary's utter trainwreck of a candidacy and campaign.

Oh right that person who won 3M more votes despite a coordinated, unprecedented attack against her as a candidate and as a person by a dangerous foreign power. Oh yeah and FBI fella James Comey's incompetence and hyper partisan decisions, and hoo boy the misogyny. That most qualified candidate of any candidate in decades.

Have you read "What Happened?" I did not read it right away. I thought it would be too bitter - which it has every right and more and more and more to be - but in fact it is hopeful. (With a little bitter, and a lot of facts.) You might be surprised by her side of the story.

Sorry not trying to derail! But not willing to let that stand.
posted by Glinn at 5:53 PM on June 20 [21 favorites]


Yes, I’m sure Obama chose Biden as his running mate in spite of the fact Biden was virulent racist and ardent segregationist.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:04 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


[Y'all let's please not turn this into an excuse to argue for the nth time about US Primaries 2016 ft. Not Joe Biden.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:09 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


alternately the candidate with the third-most delegates (likely sanders) releases those delegates to vote for the candidate with the second-most delegates (likely warren), and the slate most preferred by most democrats thereby gets the nomination.

How does that work out? For sure it's possible 2nd and 3rd place Warren & Sanders could make a Deal and get one of them the nomination in this circumstance, but the part about "slate most preferred by most democrats"? First off people ain't voting a slate, they're just voting a president. Then there's an assumption here that all Sanders voters would prefer Warren if Sanders fails or all Warren voters would prefer Sanders if Warren fails. But that's certainly not going to be true, and the actual nominating process won't provide that sort of information.

That information is polled, though - here's one and right now half again as many Sanders voters have Biden as second choice vs. Warren, while Warren voters supporting Biden and Sanders are equal in number (more for Harris, though).

When issue 3 is pointed out, he not only refuses to back down, but demands an apology from his critics. This is basically a page from Trump's book - a book Democratic voters do not like.

It's becoming Democratic nominee by owning the libs. I guess I have a higher estimation of that strategy's chances than you. We'll see!
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:15 PM on June 20




Yes, I’m sure Obama chose Biden as his running mate in spite of the fact Biden was virulent racist and ardent segregationist.

I'm sorry, what? Is this some sort of weird “I have a black friend” by proxy? In any event, it’s not exactly hard to imagine that Obama chose Biden so that white men would feel more comfortable voting for a black man for president, not as some ringing endorsement of Biden's broadmindedness. And don’t forget that during the 2008 primary, Biden referred to Obama as “articulate” and “clean” — not exactly a description you’d expect from someone without a pretty heavy racial chip on his shoulder.
posted by holborne at 6:20 PM on June 20 [28 favorites]


Yes, I’m sure Obama chose Biden as his running mate in spite of the fact Biden was virulent racist and ardent segregationist

"How could Thomas Jefferson possibly be racist if he had sex with his slaves?" "Why would Trump want Ben Carson in his cabinet if he was actually racist?"

Keep up, class identity intersects with and often overrides racial identity.
posted by smithsmith at 6:21 PM on June 20 [25 favorites]


Honestly- considering how tactical Obama was (and I consider this one of his finer points), it's entirely possible he chose Biden as running mate because he knew Biden had segregationist tendencies and he thought it would pick him up some votes from the south.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 6:26 PM on June 20 [18 favorites]


People seem unclear on how the “some of my best friends are black” trope works. Obama chose Biden, not the other way around.

As for the 11-dimensional chess strategy of choosing someone with “segregationist tendencies” to gain southern votes, that seems to be grasping at straws. The busing issue was from 30 years earlier, and many people including liberal politicians, had soured on forced busing as a remedy to segregated schools by the late 70s.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:42 PM on June 20




Well if many people did it then I guess it was cool and has no relationship with or contextual value when it comes to evaluating Biden’s statements today. Yeah he was, according to him, the liberal who made it OK for liberals to be against bussing. He worked his ass off against it for years. Not just tepidly going along, sponsoring bills. Working with segregationists! Something he just bragged about doing! To enact racist policies! All of this representing a state measuring approximately 3‘ x 3‘. But you really never know what was in his heart, I mean, you know. It was just the done thing
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:48 PM on June 20 [14 favorites]


Gang, I’m packing it in for the night. Here’s to hoping the best woman or man wins the nomination and the puts the White House back in the D column, where it belongs!
posted by haiku warrior at 6:48 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Strom Thurmond had a secret black daughter he put through college.

Clearly, he was no racist.
posted by holborne at 6:57 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Yes, I’m sure Obama chose Biden as his running mate in spite of the fact Biden was virulent racist and ardent segregationist

Why does it have to be that Biden's either 1) exactly as racist as Eastland or 2) totally not racist at all? The way he's handling the blowback to how he spoke about Eastland seems somewhere on the Spectrum of Racist Stuff.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:25 PM on June 20 [17 favorites]


Biden is polling surprisingly well among black voters. Maybe that's because of his association with Obama, but what if it's the other way around and Obama chose him because his polling indicated that for whatever reason, Biden would genuinely appeal to many African American voters? I don't know why that might be the case, but if we can accept that a lot of whites have stupid reasons for the candidate they prefer, so do many blacks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:21 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Biden's main defense (via proxy) is not that Obama likes him, but that he is still the top choice of most people of color. Eg, in late May, 39% prefer Biden vs 21 for Sanders and 7 or 8 for Warren and Harris, with 71% favorable among blacks vs 66 for Sanders and 43 for Harris and 46 for Warren. As we know, much of that is a function of how well known they are, but nevertheless, it's a considerably stronger argument than "Obama picked me." I certainly don't say this as a Biden defender -- far from it -- but it's good to know what arguments are being made.

[Oops, I see JinA beat me to it. But regardless of whether Obama caused Biden's approval levels among African Americans, its utility as a defense against accusations of racism or racism-adjacency remains strong as long as his support holds up.]
posted by chortly at 8:27 PM on June 20


Someone is going to have to rebuild the executive branch practically from scratch. Biden knows how the White House is supposed to be run, and how to put competent people in place. And he knows competent people. There are a dozen Dem candidates I'm less comfortable with than Biden.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:46 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Bernie and Joe will be having some very interesting discussions about Wall Street when the debates get rolling. Joe goes there for donations; Bernie despises the concentration of wealth, which he does verbalize as "greed".

Joe doesn't seem to be doing a lot for the party; and he just seems to be taking a loopy loop get some money, and fail with a smile approach to 2020.
posted by Afghan Stan at 8:52 PM on June 20


Someone is going to have to rebuild the executive branch practically from scratch. Biden knows how the White House is supposed to be run, and how to put competent people in place. And he knows competent people.

Are we playing "one stark truth and three hilarious absurdities" again
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:53 PM on June 20 [14 favorites]


a funny ourobouros of sad-

(1) biden obviously thinks dropping bombs like this will endear him to soft trump voters, who he thinks have tired of trump's routine and can put him over the top. this way, biden doesnt have to grapple with the fact that his actual beliefs arent in line with where the party is going.

(2) a big part of biden's supporters only support him because as voter/pundits, they think he is most likely to beat trump- not because they particularly agree with him.

(3) dem observers see this disconnect between how biden sees his voters and how they see him, but dont want to stir the pot for fear of strengthening trump (and they might be right!). hence, biden thinks he has a path to winning via conservative dems or lite republicans, yet he may be a paper tiger without a ton of true support... which leads you back to (1)

rinse, repeat.

this is the paranoid conundrum a rightwing psycho like trump can put a democracy in with a mere plurality of die hard supporters.
posted by wibari at 9:14 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


This whole incident is a great example of why Biden won't be able to run a winning campaign.

People keep saying that, but the polls disagree. From the recent CNN poll:
With the general election still more than a year away, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the pack, with the largest advantage over Trump. The poll shows 53% of voters said they would support Biden and 40% said Trump. Biden and Trump held side-by-side events in Iowa on Tuesday, both using their platforms to insult the other one. Biden called Trump an "existential threat" to the country Trump said Biden was a "dummy."
The gap is smaller but still a distinct advantage for Sens. Bernie Sanders (up 9 percentage points), Kamala Harris (+8) and Elizabeth Warren (+7).
Biden still leads the pack among Democratic voters according to 538: Biden's support is holding steady at around 30%


So I think we need to be careful of the echo chamber effect. Sure social media and Metafilter agree that Biden is the worst and that no way could he win. But America at large is not Metafilter. Unless one of the other candidates gets within 5% of Biden in the next six months, we should assume he's the nomine, and tasks a good hard look ast WHY he's so popular.
posted by happyroach at 9:36 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen this mentioned in any of the Biden/presidential threads but haven't read every mega-thread so I may have missed it. There's a 2013 book by New Yorker writer and journalist George Packer called The Unwinding: An Inner History Of The New America that profiles several Americans, including this longtime, disillusioned Joe Biden staffer who basically torches Biden. I read it years ago but still recall the complete monster Biden was described as being - not sweet, forgetful, bumbling, pleasant but this cruel, mean, grudge-holding taskmaster who's been obsessed with being President for literally decades. Obviously disgruntled former political staffers are not going to be an unbiased source but I have never forgotten how different Biden's private persona was described as being. Weirdly, I haven't heard much about this book in connection with Biden's current political campaign, despite some of the other candidates having damaging stories published about their managerial styles.
posted by rogerroger at 10:07 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


Biden's racism runs pretty deep.

Even those who believe politicians can evolve (a claim I'm always skeptical about) still do expect that the politician in question takes accountability and apologizes for past mistakes. Biden has done no such thing, and has actually doubled down instead.
posted by splitpeasoup at 10:20 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


[A few comments removed; I don't know where all this thread can usefully go, but the restarting of like five different fights about various past administrations at once isn't one of 'em.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:38 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


For me, the most damning thing about Biden is that he will not do anything meaningfully against climate change. All of the other issues I care about seem so insignificant compared to that.

At the timescale of just a few decades and for the sake of our species, a 2020 contest between Trump and him really is the darkest timeline.
posted by Ouverture at 10:56 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


Yeah, fuck the good, we need the petfect -- where's Ralph Nader when we need him ?
posted by y2karl at 11:24 PM on June 20


Yeah, fuck the good, we need the petfect -- where's Ralph Nader when we need him ?

Not letting perfect be the enemy of the good requires a good
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:26 PM on June 20 [24 favorites]


The problem with Biden is- he's not even good.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:26 PM on June 20 [21 favorites]


If you skipped over ckape's post above, it's worth the 27 minutes.
posted by bink at 12:16 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


For me, the most damning thing about Biden is that he will not do anything meaningfully against climate change.
What is the evidence for this?
posted by kickingtheground at 12:40 AM on June 21


Well, the idea is, there is no reason to think he will. Gotta reach across the aisle and all.
posted by thelonius at 12:47 AM on June 21


What is the evidence for this?

There is nothing a centrist like Biden offers in terms of actually fighting climate change. This is a problem that requires the wholesale transformation of society across the world.

The closest thing to the problem facing us were the Axis powers in World War 2 and even that massive shift in manufacturing and policy is nothing compared to what we need to do to save some part of humanity.

None of the Democratic candidates really could do that in just 4 or even 8 years, but some could probably make some significant headway.

Biden on the other hand? The only thing bipartisanship seems to produce is forever war and global recessions.
posted by Ouverture at 1:07 AM on June 21 [9 favorites]


It’s telling that Biden is losing support as the race proceeds. He has significant Obama reflected glory, and he appears to be affable and relatable to a lot of people (particularly our older Democrats). He’s genuinely popular among some people I know. However, I think people forgot he is extremely prone to gaffes and is just not that great at running for office. After all, his staffers try to keep him away from reporters

Personally I’m at the point where I truly don’t want him and think anyone else would be better (except Trump, of course), but in 2016 I wished he had run because I thought he would have done better than Hillary. I liked Hilary, and don’t think it was her fault that she had baggage but... how many people did you know who talked about her emails, and they just didn’t trust her, and (for me) the vague yucky feelings about of Clinton/ political dynasties? She had just tons of baggage, both self created and years of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” stuff - Biden seemed relatively uncomplicated in comparison and had the halo of a popular president. (Not to say I am right about any of this, just explaining my feelings at the time - I know all of the HRC defenses, so we don’t need to rehash)

Anyway, my point is that it is early and most people are still back in 2016. As the debates happen and the field clears we will see where we are. I’m personally hopeful that Biden momentum is waning.
posted by rainydayfilms at 4:14 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Why didn't Biden run in 2016?

He ran for president in 1988, and lost the nomination to the not especially popular or charismatic Michael Dukakis. He didn't run in 1992, when he might've been able to beat 'Comeback Kid' and then-relative-unknown Bill Clinton. 2000, he stayed in his lane and ex-VP Gore got the nomination. He didn't run in 2004, when he might've been able to beat John Edwards. In 2008, he dropped out after the Iowa caucus. He didn't run in 2016, when his own ex-VP cred (and those Parks and Recreation cameos) was a little fresher.

He's been running for president, on and off, for the last thirty years, and he's never won the nomination. I can't say I'm impressed by his sense of timing.
posted by box at 4:57 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


It's a reality of US politics that you have to make deals with other legislators to get stuff done. So you have to meet with racist assholes, develop a working relationship, to be able to persuade them to vote on a bill for the environment or veteran's affairs. And maybe you even develop some appreciation for them because you see some side of them isn't hateful and wrong. But to be all nostalgic about what great guys they are is explicit racism, because it makes them and their vicious policies palatable. That's what I mean when I say Biden doesn't get it, and he doesn't get it about race, gender, climate, wealth inequality, etc.
posted by theora55 at 6:22 AM on June 21 [15 favorites]


Why didn't Biden run in 2016?

Biden is giving up his last chance at the role that he has always wanted—and a bet that he believes his son Beau wanted him to place. “As my family and I have worked through the grieving process, I’ve said all along...It may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president, that it might close,” Biden said. “I’ve concluded that it has closed.”
posted by cooker girl at 6:23 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Biden's son was dying, and then died, of brain cancer. Running for President during all that, I can't see how anybody would be able to do it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:36 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Here is a tweet containing a passage from one of Robert Caro’s books on LBJ (Master of the Senate) that describes Eastland calling for genocide of black Americans in extremely disturbing and gruesome terms, including racial hate language—here’s the tweet (warning: very disturbing).

I’d just like to point out that if Biden ends up debating Trump, there is a very good chance that Trump will gleefully read this quote or something similar out on national TV.

“[Nickname] Joe Biden was friends with [evil old racist] who once said ‘[terrible, awful thing]’”

It’ll be the perfect excuse to say something heinous and forbidden (that his base will love) out loud, while damaging his opponent. He’ll get to have his cake and eat it.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:39 AM on June 21 [9 favorites]


Good thing Trump doesn't read. But, seriously, it's not like his own associates are of sterling character, anyway -- how many of them have been indicted in the last two years alone? Even if it comes up, I reckon Biden could reference Trump's old friend, pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, any day of the week.

Wait. Is this the part where someone points out Biden, like so many pols, has ties to that guy too?

I think Biden's momentum is going to dwindle, and that his son, Hunter, may be having some problems right now, and that he'll drop out of the race to address family issues. While gracefully, vocally, and definitively throwing his weight behind another candidate, please, oh please.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:53 AM on June 21


I agree that Biden could drop out if there’s a sustained sinking of his poll numbers. His approach has always been somewhat like Mario Cuomo, in that he’s willing to throw himself into a run if he has a good chance of success but also willing to walk away rather than make a Hail Mary run (unlike Cruz in 2016).
posted by sallybrown at 10:01 AM on June 21


Good thing Trump doesn't read. But, seriously, it's not like his own associates are of sterling character, anyway -- how many of them have been indicted in the last two years alone? Even if it comes up, I reckon Biden could reference Trump's old friend, pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, any day of the week.

You're making the classic mistake of assuming Trump is judged on the same scale as any Democratic presidential candidate. Or hell, judged on any scale at all.

Make no mistake, whoever is nominated will be running against an imaginary perfect Republican candidate. Thinking "well Trump does it too so it won't be a problem" is completely wrong. Trump could just about pull down his Dockers during a debate, shit on the stage, then walk off while tweeting and the headlines the next day would be "Democratic Nominee Faces Tough Questions about Checkered Past."
posted by FakeFreyja at 10:01 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


Good thing Trump doesn't read. But, seriously, it's not like his own associates are of sterling character, anyway -- how many of them have been indicted in the last two years alone? Even if it comes up, I reckon Biden could reference Trump's old friend, pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, any day of the week.

It would be dangerously, irrationally naive to expect that the debates will be a fair and equal contest intended to illuminate which of the two options is the better candidate for president.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:16 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


I'm saying there isn't a single candidate Trump can't say some shit about, even if it's made up. Even if it's made up on the spot, as he likes to do.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:18 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I'm saying there isn't a single candidate Trump can't say some shit about, even if it's made up. Even if it's made up on the spot, as he likes to do.

That isn’t really what you were saying, though? You were saying that Biden can simply respond with something similarly bad about Trump, but that isn’t how the game is played.

And I take your point that any candidate is going to be attacked. Trump’s base is going to eat it up regardless, but what do you think the effect on potential Dem voters will be if Trump can produce actual hate speech from Biden’s good pals?

If I was Trump, I’d just ignore whatever the first question is and launch straight into “here’s something Strom Thurmond said about black people:” followed by “and here’s what Joe said about Strom Thurmond when he gave the eulogy at his funeral:”.

What’s Joe going to say in return? 100% he tries to explain bipartisanship instead of renouncing those views and being contrite (either way he loses, of course).

Trump supporters are happy because someone said something racist (yay!) and more importantly it shows that deep down everyone is just as racist as they are. Dems are dismayed for basically the same reasons.

Biden’s long track record of saying and doing shit that current Democrats hate is going to come up in the campaign and in the debates. How could it not? And it’s going to sink him. A few percent fewer turnout will be enough.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:33 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


re: Trump debates, the Trump vs. Clinton debates were the absolute biggest spectacles of how incoherent and unintelligent a person can sound on live TV so I don't really think they matter anymore.

I watched all three dumbfounded at how just... what? … a person could be.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:35 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


But the importance of the debates isn’t an appeal to imaginary independents. It’s GOTV for your own side. Who cares if Rs like an unhinged sexist billionaire?

What’s important is whether or not the D candidate will motivate the D voters to take a day off work and stand in the rain. Will Biden? Not if Trump correctly points out that he’s a racist sexist old pig just like Trump himself.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:41 AM on June 21


It’s impossible to try and build strategy based on what Trump will do. He’s erratic, mercurial, almost a freak of nature, and a mystery to himself and everyone else. The only thing I can think of that would cut through his bullshit is a clear and concrete proactive message about change vs. more of the same. That or maybe the “keys” election historian is correct and it will all come down to circumstances outside any of our control, sigh.
posted by sallybrown at 10:48 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Will Biden? Not if Trump correctly points out that he’s a racist sexist old pig just like Trump himself.

People looking to Trump for character assessment after four years as POTUS were never ever going to vote Democratic, ever.
posted by sideshow at 10:49 AM on June 21 [10 favorites]


I have serious reservations about Sanders, Warren, Harris and Buttigieg, but at this point I would jump for joy if any of them overtook Biden in the polls. Please, god? I promise I'll be good!
posted by zeusianfog at 10:53 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


People looking to Trump for character assessment after four years as POTUS were never ever going to vote Democratic, ever.

Sure, but this isn't a character assessment, it's a statement of fact. The key word in my quoted sentence was "correctly".
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:55 AM on June 21


You are saying that people who would "take a day off work and stand in the rain" and vote D will no longer do so if Trump says mean things (doesn't matter how correct) about Biden, and I am saying those people were never ever ever voting D.

In fact those hypothetical voters (who definitely don't exist) would probably be more likely to vote for Biden than any other of the current slate of Dem candidates. Anyone who would vote D yet be such a low information voter as to take Trump's word about a candidate would probably only recognize Biden's name out of everyone elses'.
posted by sideshow at 11:05 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


If you think all D-sympathetic voters vote either 100% of the time or 0% of the time, and that no information about the candidate will influence the likelihood of them voting, then I really don't know what to tell you.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:17 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


No one exists who wouldn't vote for a candidate after finding out they are creepy and racist. None at all.
posted by FakeFreyja at 11:21 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I just think the voter personas we come up with around here are pretty bad in general, and arguments about what these putative voters will or will not do in the hypothetical scenarios we construct for them are...not worth getting mad about?
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:23 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Will Biden? Not if Trump correctly points out that he’s a racist sexist old pig just like Trump himself.

Apparently, there is a huge percentage of black voters who disagree with the circular firing squad's assessment on Biden. But what do they know ? When are they going to get the message ?

Jesus Fucking H. Christ! Who do you want stuffing the courts after 2020? Trump or Biden ? That one answers itself.
posted by y2karl at 12:40 PM on June 21




Jesus Fucking H. Christ! Who do you want stuffing the courts after 2020? Trump or Biden ? That one answers itself.

Biden is already partly responsible for Thomas on the SC and thereby also responsible for the destruction of the Judicial branch for the rest of our lives. I don't think that question's as easy as you think.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:44 PM on June 21 [14 favorites]


I watched all three dumbfounded at how just... what? … a person could be.

Sniffy? Stalker-y? Chair-humpy?
posted by kirkaracha at 12:49 PM on June 21


Jesus Fucking H. Christ! Who do you want stuffing the courts after 2020? Trump or Biden ? That one answers itself.

The answer to that question is obviously Biden. But that question is a year from being asked. Right now we are deciding between Biden and a half-dozen much better candidates who can run against Trump instead. Even more if you just set the bar at "doesn't grope, doesn't have a segregationist record, and hasn't given explicit promises to better the 1%'s lot".
posted by FakeFreyja at 12:49 PM on June 21 [10 favorites]


But what do they know ? When are they going to get the message ?

I believe this was during the last Presidential primary or maybe two times ago, we had a fruitful discussion about not using groups of voters like this, I think kicked off by how people were characterizing the intelligence of voters without college educations based on their polling data as a group. It’s pretty ugly to use black voters as a group to make a point this way especially if you don’t fall into that category. And I’m not trying to argue with you on the substantive point (Black voters’ views of Biden as a group based on polling data). But using a group of people’s polling data as the counterargument to a charge of racism seems like a very bad idea to me.
posted by sallybrown at 12:50 PM on June 21 [12 favorites]


"Polls show that (overall) black voters are supporting Biden" is rather easy to prove. "Polls show that (overall) black voters are supporting Biden because (overall) black voters feel that what is happening to Biden is a circular firing squad" sounds like someone projecting their own ideas about circular firing squads onto black voters. There's a bajillion reasons that any voter of any race could support any candidate- Joe Biden's current level of support among black voters doesn't mean one can automagically infer *why* black voters are supporting Biden.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:04 PM on June 21 [11 favorites]


Jesus Fucking H. Christ! Who do you want stuffing the courts after 2020? Trump or Biden ? That one answers itself.

I look back to the Thomas hearing and the Anita Hill questioning and I think.
posted by kafziel at 1:06 PM on June 21 [15 favorites]


Jesus Fucking H. Christ! Who do you want stuffing the courts after 2020? Trump or Biden ? That one answers itself.

It answered itself in 2016, too...

Now we have Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and who knows? maybe another winner! This was unimportant to the protest voters at the time.
posted by Chuffy at 2:13 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Do I work with racists? Absolutely.
Do I respect racists? Of course.
Do I like racists? Big time.
Do I admire racists? Heck yeah.
Do I pass racist legislation? All the time.
Am I a racist? First of all, how dare you...
Oh, c'mon... Seriously ?
Rep. John Lewis with a powerful defense of @JoeBiden: "I don't think the remarks are offensive. During the height of the civil rights movement we worked with people and got to know people that were members of the klan...We never gave up on our fellow human being..." Rep. Jim Clyburn has defended Biden too. Is this just an age thing? Maybe, but under normal circumstances John Lewis’s opinion on race issues is hailed as nearly definitive. Why not this time too?

I’m not thrilled about the prospect of Democrats nominating a candidate of Biden’s age. But I’m also not thrilled with a bunch of Democrats pretending to be outraged that Biden is condoning racism or dog whistling to bigoted whites. It’s only June, and this is already turning into a very ugly primary race.

Kevin Drum
In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

Oscar Wilde
posted by y2karl at 3:24 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Democrats pretending to be outraged that Biden is condoning racism

Seriously, if you don't think there's anything wrong with how Biden is dealing with this current situation, whatever, but it's crappy AF to imply that other people's reactions to his remarks about Eastland are fake reactions.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:30 PM on June 21 [10 favorites]


Oops, didn't mean to say "imply", as you didn't imply anything, you stated it directly.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:32 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I don't trust the sincerity of the opinions of anyone who gets paid for writing their opinions down in such a way that it drives clicks to the site where those opinions are published, and that seems to be where we're taking all of our cues from these days.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:33 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Ha, if only. Then maybe the people who can't see any racism at all in how Biden is handling this situation would shut up.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:40 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Oops, didn't mean to say "imply", as you didn't imply anything, you stated it directly.

To be fair to y2karl, that line ("Democrats pretending to be outraged that Biden is condoning racism") was a direct quote from the Kevin Drum article he linked.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:51 PM on June 21


Yep, he quoted it, but nothing about his comments in this thread makes me believe he doesn't feel that same way.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:06 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Pretending was Kevin Drum being kind. The word stupid is what comes to my mind.

OK, a show of hands: how many of you think Barack Obama agrees with your oh so holy descriptions of Biden as a racist ?

I would vote for Warren in a heartbeat if I thought she had a shot at beating Trump but her reaction to the whole Pocahontas slur showed Trump getting under her skin enough to make her go off the rails. That gives me pause.

Biden, on the other hand, gets under Trump's skin plus he has the most commanding lead over him. As of now he is the best bet to run against Trump and these bullshit accusations of him being a racist are just that. But the holier-than-thous want to throw him under the bus first. It's like 2000 all over again. Trump and Biden are just the same ? Just like Bush and Gore were just the same ? Remember how.that worked out.

Get real. I want the person the most people will vote for. And given the American public, backing the best bet right now is backing the guy, I am sorry to say, with the best bet of beating Trump. And by the numbers that is Biden. I don't want to gamble on longer shots just because they are the Purest. Your mileage varies, I get it.

So, throw the whole future under the bus, why don't you ? I, for one, have been down the road already.
posted by y2karl at 4:23 PM on June 21


See?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:23 PM on June 21 [6 favorites]


It's crappy AF to say that people are stupid who see racism in Joe Biden's handling of his current situation regarding comments he made about Eastland.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:26 PM on June 21 [11 favorites]


(Never mind.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:26 PM on June 21


And apart from questioning your judgments in general, I have not stopped to personal attacks. Unlike the comment above.
posted by y2karl at 4:26 PM on June 21


You said Dems were pretending to be outraged that Biden was condoning racism, and you implied that Dems who were outraged that Biden was condoning racism were stupid.

Those are personal attacks.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:30 PM on June 21 [10 favorites]


Well, there are other things to do, so bye.
posted by y2karl at 4:33 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Listen to POC when they say something is racist.
posted by zeusianfog at 4:42 PM on June 21 [30 favorites]


Although you don't have to be a world-class expert on racism to realize that calls for civility with segregationists are...questionable.
posted by zeusianfog at 4:43 PM on June 21 [7 favorites]


It's a long, long time until the election. Candidates with commanding leads when they announce often fade by then. 538 has had much to say on the subject. Yes, getting overly invested in one democratic candidate over another could be discouraging by the time election rolls around, but that applies as much to getting overly invested in Biden as any other.

Regardless of whether it was racist (I'm not getting sucked into that because it becomes about Biden instead of about what Biden said) it was a dumb un-politic thing to do to to talk about being able to work with a pair of unabashed racists. Yes, sometimes politics requires you to be able to communicate with the detestable with civility, could have picked a less contentious example though.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:53 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


... and trying to manage people's understandable emotional reactions to candidate misjudgments is ultimately futile.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:55 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


As of now he is the best bet to run against Trump... I want the person the most people will vote for.

This is one of the frustrating things about this debate. Millions of people see the polls and think Biden is actually the most likely to beat Trump. Maybe they've even read the occasional 538 or NYT aside mentioning that currently polls are not remotely predictive of general election outcomes -- but such statements have absolutely no effect compared to the dozens of polling articles coming out every day. Even among the relatively sophisticated (such as around here), these "electability" arguments continue, even though they have almost no empirical merit. Yes, Biden is currently polling best against other dems and against Trump; at yet, it is also the case that that means almost nothing for how he might do against Trump in 2020 relative to other candidates. It's just a waste of time to decide anything based on current polls. I'd say people should read more statistical analyses, but stats blogs like 538 are the biggest culprits, spending days on casual, "just spitballing" discussions of the polls which, when pushed, they admit are utterly worthless as future predictors. The result is literally millions of Democrats deciding an election based on total baloney, with the exact same misguided certainty that screwed up 2016, Brexit, and a half-dozen other elections over the last decade.
posted by chortly at 5:46 PM on June 21 [16 favorites]


I am having a very hard time right now and full of worries from personally to politically to globally -- but then as was noted to me today, so are we all. The future can seem so dark these days. For myself. I am sorry for any intemperate remarks.
posted by y2karl at 5:58 PM on June 21 [6 favorites]


Just a thought, where was Obama at this time in terms of polling? Heck, where was Trump?
posted by gryftir at 7:39 PM on June 21


Republican primaries, 2008-2016
Democratic primaries, 2008, 2016

We know nothing.
posted by chortly at 9:10 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


My unuttered thought today was that Biden, not unlike Trump or much of the membership here, was that he is unable to admit he is wrong and has a very hard time backing down when he puts his foot in it. That is what bothers me about the remark about Eastland. It was a stupid thing to say and I have read
his aides tried hard to wave him off. That worries me.

Part of it is structural human nature -- and who wants to hand their foes ammunition ? Which is what it is here, by and large.

Honestly, I don't think he is a racist anymore than Sanders or the average one of the 20 odd Democratic candidates are. Well, the white male section, at least. Saying stupid tone-deaf things and being unable to back down thereafter are real and greater flaws to me.

And the more I read about Warren, the more I like her. She is so smart. But I am worried sick about this election. Four more years of Trump is what frightens me. Just for the record.
posted by y2karl at 11:39 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


, these "electability" arguments continue, even though they have almost no empirical merit.

my opinion from being ..in some campaign battlegrounds over the last three years.

Primaries are for fighting, it looks like Generic Democrat has a good chance of defeating Trump since his base can;t expand and we keep seeing big turnouts in motivated dem elections, so vote for your dream not what you think will win.

And if your stance is truly and honestly "Anyone the democrats nominate I don't care" you can skip the primaries. We already have your vote.

The fight is, and always is, getting people who don't vote excited, because they outnumber everyone else by a huge number.
posted by The Whelk at 12:15 AM on June 22 [17 favorites]


The Atlantic: Joe Biden’s Endless Search for the Middle on Race
The thread is there in his first big interview before his inaugural Senate run: “I have some friends on the far left, and they can justify to me the murder of a white deaf mute for a nickel by five colored guys. They say the black men had been oppressed and so on. But they can’t justify some Alabama farmers tar and feathering an old colored woman,” Biden said in November 1970, just as he was coming onto the political scene. He had just won his first election to the New Castle County Council, and he was featured in a major profile in the Wilmington, Delaware, News Journal with a splashy headline: “Joe Biden: Hope for Democratic Party in ’72?”

“I suspect the ACLU would leap to defend the five black guys,” Biden continued in the interview. “But no one would go down to help the ‘rednecks.’ They are both products of an environment. The truth is somewhere between the two poles. And rednecks are usually people with very real concerns, people who lack the education and skills to express themselves quietly and articulately.”
...
He spoke often about how he did not believe in the theory behind busing—that there was a greater good achieved by that method of forcing integration. As he put it in a November 1976 speech, according to the News Journal, “black kids don’t want to come to your school any more than you want to go to their school.”
...
Yet for all the talk about civil rights, Biden never lost his personal fondness for the segregationists he worked with in the Senate. A decade before he delivered his now famous eulogy at Thurmond’s funeral—in which he called the old Dixiecrat “a product of his time”—Biden spoke at the senator’s 90th birthday party in Washington, D.C., in March 1993. Standing in a tuxedo, Biden compared Thurmond to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee: “an opponent without hate, a friend without treachery, a statesman without pretense, a soldier without cruelty and a neighbor without hypocrisy.” He talked, too, about Stonewall Jackson. Quoting the Confederate soldier James Power Smith writing about the general he served under, Biden said, “He was an avalanche from an unexpected quarter, a thunderbolt from the sky, and yet he was in character and will, more like a stone wall than any man that I have ever met.

“That seems to me to sum up Strom Thurmond: He is like a thunderbolt from the sky,” Biden continued. “He is a man who lives by his principles and a man who has gotten all of us to understand what they are.”
New York Magazine: Will Black Voters Still Love Biden When They Remember Who He Was?
Joe Biden once called state-mandated school integration “the most racist concept you can come up with,” and Barack Obama “the first sort of mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean.” He was a staunch opponent of “forced busing” in the 1970s, and leading crusader for mass incarceration throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Uncle Joe has described African-American felons as “predators” too sociopathic to rehabilitate — and white supremacist senators as his friends.
...
But as his campaign progressed, and Biden discerned that the arc of history was bending toward white backlash, the young candidate bent with it. He became a caricature of a white northern liberal — arguing that forced busing was appropriate for the South (where segregation was the product of racist laws), but unnecessary for the North (where, Biden pretended, it merely reflected the preferences of the white and black communities).
...
One year later, the Delaware senator broke ranks with northern liberals— and joined his virulently racist North Carolina colleague Jesse Helms in voting to kneecap all federal efforts to integrate schools, anywhere in the country. Specifically, Biden voted to bar the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from requiring schools to provide information on the racial makeup of their student bodies — thereby making it nigh-impossible for Uncle Sam to withhold federal funds from school districts that refused to integrate.
When Joe Biden tells anecdotes about working with segregationists to achieve shared goals, the goal that they were working towards was segregation.

Honestly, it’s seems completely fucking insane to be considering this guy for a presidential candidate when the Dems have about 50,000 other candidates clamoring for the nom. Ah yes, the handsy old white dude who loves segregation! He has the highest name recognition at this point so let’s all line up behind him because he’s clearly the Only One Who Can Beat Trump.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:04 PM on June 22 [25 favorites]


The Old Senate Is Hardwired Into Joe Biden (Todd S Purdum, The Atlantic)
The body he was elected to in 1972 required even the bitterest rivals to maintain a veneer of civility. But the country has long moved on from that brand of politics.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:37 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Dinosaur is DINO, film at 11.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:17 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Okay, here are three personal political observations that I think are relevant to this thread.

1) For me, a U.S. politician's worth can be determined by some combination of a) leadership, b) representation, and c) unfitness. I judge politicians by the degree to which they embody one or both of the first two, and lump everything else into the third. I am hard pressed to think of anything Joe Biden does or has done politically that represents my wishes (representation), or introduces to me a possibility that I hadn't considered, but now want to follow him up on (leadership), sooo....

2) That was BEFORE I saw bink's post about ckape's post. I don't usually stop and watch a video that long, but it really is a very solid half hour.

3) Even IF I encounter a candidate who does stick to categories "a" and "b" to my satisfaction, politics is more than one-off voting, you know? Anyone who is treating U. S. elections like an all-or-nothing sweepstakes at the expense of weighing their own views and setting up channels of communication and support that can endure and persist with or without city/state/national recognition... well, it'll probably be a very stressful few months for you no matter what. Politics CAN reflect and augment your own beliefs and goals, but as ALL OF U. S. HISTORY SHOWS, you should definitely not trust or revere any politician: we'll have to hold their feet to the fire and MAKE them do right no matter what. (My Congressional rep is John Lewis, mentioned above: this post reminded me about some questions I wanted to needle him with ask.)

4) I think that poll-watching is generally a waste of time, especially this far out. Imagine watching a daily weather forecast in anticipation of a winter ski trip, but doing so from mid-summer on. "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness," is the saying I'm thinking of here: I'm going to spend the summer shoring up the paths and the goals that I want to see come to pass, and I hope that other people who see ways to build positive change around themselves strive to do so, and find whatever help they may need!

...


Wait, did you read all of that? Well, feel free to tl;dr the rest, but the basic abstract is that MetaFilter sometimes pushes me into a weird blend of angry apoplexy AND endless word-spew, like this thread did, so what follows is my attempt to sidestep the typical week-long sulking period:


I am an African-American voter. I am not THE African-American voter, and I most definitely am not YOUR African-American voter (unless you are about to break out an extremely persuasive stump speech that I don't think I could carry out better myself.)

There's this whole... current thread in Metatalk that touches on what I am about to write here, but just for the real-time record: there is so much preloaded into this post and its subsequent thread, SO MANY default assumptions and unspoken double standards baked RIGHT IN (collective African-American voting trends and tendencies analyzed and called into question by multiple American white men, but they don't seem to feel particularly guilty/culpable/responsible for Biden's words and actions themselves... for some reason. What? He's a white man, you're a white man! Feel the guilt! Stereotype threat is something for them to dish out, not consider for themselves apparently.), that unwinding them fully, just so I can go forward with other posters with an agreed-upon, shared understanding, is a herculean task here.

Like, Bill Clinton didn't go back and preside over Ricky Ray Rector's execution to impress black people; similarly, his "Sister Souljah moment" was expressly a sop to white voters, not black ones. Briefly consider the possibility that jadedness is a realistic response for African-American voters to make in a country where white representatives seem to be relentlessly persistent in the way that they chase the white male vote to the exclusion of all else by default. (*sidelong glance at Alabama's Doug Jones*)

One perfectly understandable statement that black voters might make in response to "This white candidate is racist" is "Which white candidate isn't?" I don't go there myself, but I'm not going to pretend like that thought process is inscrutable, which is exactly what lots of posters in these types of threads tend to do, so that by the time I see threads like this my only choices are "grab a shovel" and "let it slide."

Those choices suck. Self-police more.
posted by tyro urge at 3:28 PM on June 24 [25 favorites]


I think it is really important for white people to remember that they do not know what's best for POC. If the reality is different than what white people think should be true then it is a sign for white people to take a step back and think hard about the reasons for that. And do so without oversimplifying to variations of "well maybe they just don't know [insert thing here]".
posted by schroedinger at 1:40 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]




‘Don’t Go After Old Uncle Joe Too Fast’ (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic)

Chris Christie's tips for the first Democratic debates. To paraphrase, Biden is his own worst enemy, and may destroy his own campaign.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:26 AM on June 26


Vox, Joe Biden will never give up on the system, Ezra Klein
Biden has lived a life inside the Senate. He sees the chamber as an emergent property of 100 individuals, every one of them more complex and nuanced and sympathetic than the partisan cutouts we see on cable news. To him, that is the deep truth revealed by his decades of experience, the hidden knowledge that will let him make American politics work again.

“Some of these people are saying, ‘Biden just doesn’t get it,’” he said in his announcement speech. “You can’t work with Republicans anymore. That’s not the way it works anymore. Well, folks, I’m going to say something outrageous. I know how to make government work — not because I’ve talked or tweeted about it, but because I’ve done it. I’ve worked across the aisle to reach consensus. To help make government work in the past. I can do that again with your help.”

This is a central divide in the Democratic primary: Biden believes the system is sound and his experience and relationships will let him restore its functionality. The candidates he’s running against do not have his experience in the Senate, and many of them see a broken institution in need of structural reform. “Any decisions that are based on an assumption of good faith by Republicans in the Senate will be defeated,” Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 hopeful, told me.

So this, then, is the question: Has Biden’s experience taught him how American politics can work, or deceived him as to why it doesn’t?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:56 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


« Older The setting sun, and music at the close   |   Hack the planet! Err, Moon. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments