The New York Times Reports on Joe Biden
April 14, 2020 4:52 AM   Subscribe

Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden After being discussed by a number of media outlets for months, The New York Times has reported on the sexual assault allegation by the presumptive Democratic Nominee for President, Joe Biden.

In Slate, Christina Cauterucci discusses the Times reporting.

The alleged victim, Tara Reade, was a staffer for Joe Biden. She told her story to Katie Halper in March here.

The Times explains here why they waited 19 days to report on this story since the interview.
posted by MisantropicPainforest (775 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also from the NYT, What to Do With Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden? The main link is the NYT's factual reporting, this is their opinion page approach to it.
posted by Justinian at 5:04 AM on April 14


Also, also, the Times' podcast, The Daily talks about it. Towards the end of the end of the episode Lisa Lerer mentions how for many this behavior of Biden's would have been outside the 'range' of his behavior, and then they talk about who Tara Read 'is' political affiliations, and etc. (specifically her endorsement/positive writings about Putin. ???) This is around minute 23 of the podcast.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:13 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I know they explain the timing, but surely it's not coincidental that the timing gives the NYT the chance to have the maximum impact it could on the election, now that the primaries are all over?
posted by mittens at 5:20 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


I can see a decision not to dig into Reade's politics, weird creepy Putin stuff, etc by the Times given their investigation seems to have petered out without finding anything new and you run the risk of tipping over into smearing accusers or I can see them digging in to it to provide a full context given the nature of the situation we're in (a candidate in an election, etc).. but basically avoiding it in the print story and then digging in to it in the podcast strikes me as a weird editorial decision? But then a lot of this seems to involve weird editorial decisions.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


I know they explain the timing, but surely it's not coincidental that the timing gives the NYT the chance to have the maximum impact it could on the election, now that the primaries are all over?

Seven months before the election while everyone is worried about a pandemic is not really what I’d pick for “maximum impact”.
posted by Etrigan at 5:50 AM on April 14 [54 favorites]


Thank god. When I first heard these allegations my gut told me, there is just no way the honorable man who shit all over Anita Hill to get a misogynist conservative judge nominated, could go on to do such a thing.

Remembering when Metafilter found no pattern of behavior one year ago.
posted by windbox at 5:56 AM on April 14 [52 favorites]


I don’t know if what Reade says is true but I suspect it is. The more interesting/relevant point is that, by any standard, Reade’s accusation of Biden has more evidence than Ford’s accusation against Kavanaugh. Two people remember Reade telling them about the incident when it happened, no such thing happened with Ford. This is not to cast doubt about Ford’s account in the least, or about another victim. Rather, it’s that standard of evidence and impact of a sexual assault allegation are clearly contingent on who benefits from the allegation. Which of course we all knew but now it’s exposing that this logic extends to many more people than we thought it did before.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:09 AM on April 14 [18 favorites]


Biden is such a goddamned creep.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:10 AM on April 14 [30 favorites]


Whatever the intent, timing the publication of this story in such a way that helps Biden against Sanders and hurts him against Trump is bad
posted by latkes at 6:13 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


There is no Biden Vs Sanders anymore. My solution is to get out the vote enthusiastically for Biden and then support the inevitable revenge impeachment that will follow. In retrospect, what we should have done with Bill Clinton.
posted by rikschell at 6:16 AM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Sanders endorsed Biden for president.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:20 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


I am a one-issue voter at this point. My one issue is getting Trump out of office.
posted by all about eevee at 6:28 AM on April 14 [194 favorites]


I will say.. November is still a long way off and who the hell knows what's going to happen tomorrow anymore, but I feel lucky that given that we DO have an electoral college, thank god I live in California not Florida, so I might not have to vote for the definitely physically inappropriate and now possibly rapist Joe Biden
posted by latkes at 6:31 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


With regards to it hurting his chances against Trump, the worst case scenario (the allegations are true) pits a rapist against a serial rapist headed towards the highest body count of any American presidency, with the possible exception of the Civil War (the jury is still out on what might happen during any subsequent peaks).
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:32 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Elect him, kick him to the curb, and put his VP in charge as soon as possible.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:45 AM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Let's simplify this. Vote for the candidate with the best VP, since both Trump and Biden are ancient. That outta squash any lingering doubt.
posted by Beholder at 6:45 AM on April 14 [29 favorites]


"I can see a decision not to dig into Reade's politics, weird creepy Putin stuff, etc by the Times given their investigation seems to have petered out without finding anything new and you run the risk of tipping over into smearing accusers"
Here's a joke from 1959 about the New York Times editorial decisions from Lenny Bruce.
posted by hal at 6:54 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Man that Biden thread from last year... it really is impossible to guess what the future holds these days. So many impossible worst case scenarios coming true it makes me paranoid.
posted by aiglet at 6:56 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren for VP. Then, the day after the inauguration, drop the "V".
posted by mikeand1 at 7:01 AM on April 14 [61 favorites]


More coverage, from Salon (original reporting). Pod Save America also did an interview with the person reporting this story.
posted by LSK at 7:02 AM on April 14


Whatever the intent, timing the publication of this story in such a way that helps Biden against Sanders and hurts him against Trump is bad

Why should any serious journalist care about this?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:08 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Why do people feel the need to compare this accusation to the Kavanaugh/Ford accusation? And why do people feel the need to bring up Reade's "ties to Putin"? This is a real "both sides suck" illustration of (mostly) men treating sexual assault like yet another political point-scoring exercise. We see you.

Which of course we all knew but now it’s exposing that this logic extends to many more people than we thought it did before.

This is not new to basically any survivor, anyone who has worked with survivors in any serious capacity, anyone who has researched sexual assault, etc.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:12 AM on April 14 [37 favorites]




This was one important reason I thought the democratic party should stear well away from those old men. One thing is that Bidens issue has been known for ages, and I really can't understand it hasn't been discussed more.
The other thing is that I know so many men from that generation through my work, and only very, very few are not creepy. Even guys where you wouldn't imagine it for a moment. Guys I thought of as friends and who never did anything inappropriate when I was there. I get the impression that it was part of how they were socialized. Think of all the rapey stuff in popular culture from the 50's and 60's and further back, and heck, even up to the 80's (and probably later some places where I don't know). When I was in (the equivalent of) high school in the 70's, we had feminist self-defence. That was good. But then our teacher thought it would be a good idea to test our skills by letting the boys in the class try to assault us. What? No one tried to assault me, so I sat in a corner with my nerdy friends and watched. It was disgusting and should have been reported to the headmaster, but he was a creepy boomer, so it wouldn't have made a difference.

NB: I'm not saying all old men are creeps. I'm saying it's simpler to just elect a woman than to thoroughly vet those guys. Or alternatively, a younger man with more contemporary values.
posted by mumimor at 7:16 AM on April 14 [53 favorites]


Why do people feel the need to compare this accusation to the Kavanaugh/Ford accusation? And why do people feel the need to bring up Reade's "ties to Putin"? This is a real "both sides suck" illustration of (mostly) men treating sexual assault like yet another political point-scoring exercise. We see you.

Because for some it's not about the sexual abuse of women. For them, it's about picking sides and absolving their side of any wrongdoing.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:16 AM on April 14 [28 favorites]


Whatever the intent, timing the publication of this story in such a way that helps Biden against Sanders and hurts him against Trump is bad

Why should any serious journalist care about this?


It’s extremely puzzling that the New York Times has political reporters report on this story, rather than the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists who specialize in investigating sexual assault accusations against powerful men.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:24 AM on April 14 [34 favorites]


It’s extremely puzzling that the New York Times has political reporters report on this story, rather than the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists who specialize in investigating sexual assault accusations against powerful men.

The Salon article linked buy LSK adresses that, in a convincing way.
posted by mumimor at 7:27 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I have no idea whether to believe Reade, and I have no idea whether Biden would have done such a thing if given the opportunity. But I do know someone saw this coming, and the obvious political valence makes this so much harder for me.
posted by gmonkeylouie at 7:29 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


From the NYT article about the reporting...this is a little unreal:
I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Why did you do that?

Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.
posted by Ouverture at 7:31 AM on April 14 [17 favorites]


Nathan J. Robinson on the Goldberg NYT collumn
In fact she says “Reade’s story keeps changing.” This is just a lie. It shouldn’t be in a newspaper. It treats every survivor who opens up about something they have previously told people in private as “changing” their story.

Goldberg knows that Tara Reade told people at the time that this happened. This makes her very credible. How does Goldberg get around it? By implying that maybe her brother is lying.

And of course Goldberg spends far longer on Tara’s old blog posts where she says she likes Russia than on the details of the actual crime itself. Because she knows that the surest way to discredit someone as a kook in Dem circles is to say the word “Putin”
posted by Space Coyote at 7:31 AM on April 14 [23 favorites]


Elect him, kick him to the curb, and put his VP in charge as soon as possible.

Elizabeth Warren for VP. Then, the day after the inauguration, drop the "V".
I honestly think these two are the only ways forward. I've listened to the interview, I've read that awful smear piece on Medium, and I've come to the conclusion that I believe her, especially if she has two corroborating witnesses from the time of the incident. Yes her behavior is inconsistent but sexual assault is an individual thing. There's no playbook for how a person reacts and there's reasons a person may decide to conceal the actions because of their belief that their assailant is too powerful and untouchable.

I don't know how to work to practically replace Biden as the nominee before the election since I have no political power. I can speak out and speak truth to power but that's all I can do. On the spectrum of how things would go for women, minorities, POC under a Biden administration it would be far better than a Trump administration. But there's still four months to the convention and seven months to the election so there's still a lot of time to steer away from the iceberg.

I would rather see the Democrats find some way to transition straight over to a Warren nomination but I don't see a way to do it without permanently fracturing the party. I don't think anyone on the left can trust the centrists if they tried to run Warren as a progressive unity candidate when Bernie has pretty much won a battle of attrition.

I don't think Bernie would win against Trump as much as my progressive and leftist Twitter compadres think. I think it would be a 39 state blowout. New England minus NH and ME + west of the Sierra Nevada + Illinois and that would be it. He scares the shit out of center-righties, the normies, the lapsed Republicans looking for a tent. And yes, I know, I know, who gives a fuck about these cushy suburbanites we already give them every opportunity through the historical and inherent political bias in the system towards the WWC. They shouldn't have been instrumental in bringing Trump about in the first place. But we need votes to beat the fascists and they are a huge voting bloc while the left have been MIA compared to 2016. Those suburbanites disgusted by Trump but still have something to lose in a class war/struggle would vote against Bernie and would side with fascists over collectivists every day of the week. I also think his obsession about class blinds him to the reality of race as an overwhelmingly large factor of poverty which struggles to bring out the black voters to the point where they would rather a milquetoast white guy over a firebrand who cares about their poverty struggle but not as much about the racial side.

Even if Bernie does get elected I think he dreams big and in the right direction but has no practical plan of moving forward other than using the presidency as a bully pulpit. The constitutional crisis if/when Bernie decides to make a stand against a hostile legislature like refusing to sign a budget he's unhappy with and shutting down the government will be epic. It would be an absolute shitshow as the centrist side of the Democrats in the Senate betray the left yet again and decide to override the veto. We're so polarized in three directions that any consensus or compromise is a betrayal and it would further fracture the already contentious alliance of the progressive and the centrists.

Jesus Christ, Biden. Why couldn't you not be a fucking creep?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:33 AM on April 14 [23 favorites]


I have no idea whether to believe Reade, and I have no idea whether Biden would have done such a thing if given the opportunity. But I do know someone saw this coming, and the obvious political valence makes this so much harder for me.

A credible accusation being reported on by the NYT is not a smear on breitbart.com which is what that article is discussing.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:34 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


People compare this to the many accusations against Kavanaugh because it exposes a harmful double standard produced by our human tendency to support our in group regardless of facts.

These allegations, if made against a Republican, would be held up as a shining example of why that Republican should not be elected and if they were elected why they should resign or be removed from office.

But since they are allegations against a Democratwho is our candidate against Trump that in group tendency combines with a perfectly reasonable fear of a second Trump term and produces denial.

We saw it with Franken, we saw a variation with Polanski.

People are, naturally, reluctant to just say that they'd prefer to vote for a rapist to get rid off Trump. Democrats like to think of themselves as the good people and voting for rapists doesn't match that self image no matter how justified that vote might be given the alternative.

So in addition to in group bias you also get motivated reasoning to preserveself image. No one actually thinks it out, but if they did the logic would go: I'm a good person, good people don't vote for rapists, I'm voting for Biden, therefore Biden must not be a rapistb therefore Reade must be lying.
posted by sotonohito at 7:35 AM on April 14 [33 favorites]


So, here's the situation from what I understand, having read the NYT, Salon, WaPo, and Slate articles on it, as well as several dozen Twitter threads:
- Biden had a pattern of behaving in an overtly-familiar way with women
- Biden is accused of behaving in a power-dynamic-abusing sexual way once (and to be clear, doing so even once would be disqualifying without an apology accepted by the accuser and a demonstration of SIGNIFICANT character change since)
- The NYT was unable to find any other reports of someone accusing Biden of behaving in a power-dynamic-abusing sexual way.
- Reporters reached out to the people Reade told personally and they were able to verify that she had told them of Biden touching her arm and behaving inapppropriately.
- Reade's brother said in an interview with the Washington Post that she had told him Biden had behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders, but not the sexual assault. (He later amended that to add that he remembered the more explicit parts of Reade's account.)
- Reade says she filed an official complaint with Biden's office. However, Biden's staff at the time say they have no memory of that, and would remember that because it would have been out of character.

At the risk of editorializing, it seems extremely likely that Biden behaved in an uncomfortable, overtly-familiar fashion towards Reade. All the sources are consistent with that - that's the behavior the friends Reade told remember, and it's consistent with the people on the campaign not remembering a report. However, that doesn't exclude the possibility that he went further, because victims and survivors of sexual assault often don't feel comfortable sharing their full story at first or at the time. I've been concerned about weaponized MeToos for a while, and so I'm really glad the New York Times waited until they had enough to report on before publishing, but I also understand that the situation as it stands just becomes an opportunity for people to score points on other people, because people are just taking the position that's most consistent with their side in absence of knowing what actually happened.

Overall I agree with the sentiment in this thread - this would be so much easier on Biden if he hadn't been a fucking creep to begin with, and can we please just have anyone else right now?
posted by LSK at 7:37 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


I'm so glad I don't have a vote this time around. The idea of having to vote for this creepy useless guy who only wants to be president so he can check a box on his resume turns my stomach. You know that when an SC seat comes up he'll nominate Stephen Miller or someone similar in the name of civility and bipartisanship.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:37 AM on April 14


Literally all of our options are sexual predators and the world is a giant disease vector. I am out of care about this any more. It's too late to stop it now. Pick your predator who is less stupid. Whee.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:39 AM on April 14 [47 favorites]


I believe Reade partially because Biden has shown too often in public that he can't help himself. He stands too close to women, touches them inappropriately. Even if it's "okay" in a private setting, it's unbecoming of a man of his stature and office in public events, and he oughta know it, but does these things anyway.

So what does he do in private? It's not hard to imagine.

The timing of it in combination with tweeting things in favor of Putin is a bit fishy, combined with having tweeted in support of Biden, but it could have been a Worst Person You Know Just Made a Great Point moment for her. Even if Biden were a creep to her, perhaps he said something she agreed with.

And even if Russia cast the net wide and contacted a bunch of Biden's former employees in hopes of finding something, so what? Putin being happy that Trump's opponent has skeletons in the closet doesn't excuse those skeletons.
posted by explosion at 7:39 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


My solution is to get out the vote enthusiastically for Biden and then support the inevitable revenge impeachment that will follow.

maybe we should wait to hear the charges first
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:40 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Reade says she filed an official complaint with Biden's office. However, Biden's staff at the time say they have no memory of that, and would remember that because it would have been out of character.

Right, multiple people have denied on the record things that Reade said she told them. Two have at least partially confirmed that she told them things (one being her brother who, as noted, amended his statement later to become much broader).
posted by Justinian at 7:41 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Biden is a pervy old white man who has assaulted women and doesn't deserve to be President. Trump is a pervy old white man who has assaulted women and doesn't deserve to be President WAY MORE.

Some people STILL can't seem to wrap their head around the fact that, in November we will have 2 choices. And through incredible acrobatics of equivalence they'll say Biden is as bad as Trump -- I wonder if I can find 1000 comments about Hillary being as bad as Trump right here on the blue -- and happily let the certifiable sociopath squeak in again.
posted by tclark at 7:45 AM on April 14 [54 favorites]


Literally all of our options are sexual predators and the world is a giant disease vector. I am out of care about this any more. It's too late to stop it now. Pick your predator who is less stupid. Whee.

There was also Warren. Sanders. Gabbard. Klobuchar. Buttigieg. And a few other. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:46 AM on April 14 [19 favorites]


Some people STILL can't seem to wrap their head around the fact that, in November we will have 2 choices.

November is over six months away.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:47 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Right, but Democratic voters did not come out to support other candidates. They supported Biden. Our choice is vote for Biden or vote for Trump. I know I will be voting for Biden because I cannot abide by four more years of Trump.
posted by all about eevee at 7:49 AM on April 14 [26 favorites]


November is over six months away.

And whatever happens, we will have two choices. Trump or the Republic. I'm not exaggerating.
posted by tclark at 7:49 AM on April 14 [58 favorites]


People compare this to the many accusations against Kavanaugh because it exposes a harmful double standard produced by our human tendency to support our in group regardless of facts.

They're zinging the Dems, with limited efficacy in moving anyone's opinion anywhere, and they're doing it at the expense of all of the many survivors whose stories are similar to Ford's. Which is a lot of survivors.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:49 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


I mean, look, believe me, I get the hypocrisy, but I don't think it necessitates detailed comparisons of how Ford's story is so much less believable etc. Living through the Kavanaugh hearings the first time was bad enough. Now they have to be relitigated, because litigating one person's story isn't terrible enough? The way people are going about this is awful, including on the left.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 7:52 AM on April 14 [9 favorites]


Voting for the lesser evil and voting for the greater good are the SAME THING. A vote does not and should not mark the beginning and end of participating in societal change. A vote is not a statement of identity, it is a statement of preference.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 AM on April 14 [80 favorites]


Right, but Democratic voters did not come out to support other candidates. They supported Biden. Our choice is vote for Biden or vote for Trump. I know I will be voting for Biden because I cannot abide by four more years of Trump.

And whatever happens, we will have two choices. Trump or the Republic. I'm not exaggerating.
My point is that we're supposed to be better and at this point, whatever the electorate has said, we should be working on a way to drop a maybe rapist from the ticket not throwing our hands up in the air at the adversity of the situation and instead using that time to rationalize voting for the less worse maybe rapist.

Obviously if Biden is the nominee in November, vote for the less worse maybe rapist, but does it really have to be this way when we have a giant lead time on the problem? And do we have to be so ambivalent about trying it?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:52 AM on April 14 [9 favorites]


Some people STILL can't seem to wrap their head around the fact that, in November we will have 2 choices. And through incredible acrobatics of equivalence they'll say Biden is as bad as Trump -- I wonder if I can find 1000 comments about Hillary being as bad as Trump right here on the blue -- and happily let the certifiable sociopath squeak in again.

And some people think principles only matter when others have to bear their burden. Also, let's not question the narrative that Biden was the Chosen One, that Democratic voters really had no other option, that this couldn't have been avoided all along but voting for candidates with better character and politics.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:53 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


And of course Goldberg spends far longer on Tara’s old blog posts where she says she likes Russia than on the details of the actual crime itself. Because she knows that the surest way to discredit someone as a kook in Dem circles is to say the word “Putin”

She probably is a kook. And unfortunately part of the pattern I have seen with Biden's and Trump's demographic is that they often choose to assault people who have little social standing, who can be easily dismissed. It's intentional.

My ex-husband once had an affair with a student. There were many terrible things about that, but the most horrible thing was to learn how many men had sexually abused her. Her teachers, older students, random people. She was a beautiful woman, but at the time mentally unstable and desperate for help, which in most cases led her to be abused once more.
posted by mumimor at 7:55 AM on April 14 [45 favorites]


Electing Biden gives us 4 years of not having the Republicans packing the courts. This alone is worth my vote. We have to use those 4 years to find someone better, or dump him in favor of his VP. I believe Reade, and I hope Biden stands in front of us and apologizes, but regardless I'm going to vote for him.
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:56 AM on April 14 [27 favorites]


The Washington Post also did a lengthy investigation. I think their reporting was consistent with the NYT.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:56 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Also, let's not question the narrative that Biden was the Chosen One, that Democratic voters really had no other option, that this couldn't have been avoided all along but voting for candidates with better character and politics.

80% of African Americans supported Biden in the voting. Do you really want to STILL go there that it was all rigged and those who voted for him were either hoodwinked, stupid, or part of the party's conspiracy?

Plus don't blame me, I voted for Warren. She was the ONLY candidate in the entire field who actually had a plan that wasn't hand-waves and crayon scrawls on napkins.
posted by tclark at 7:57 AM on April 14 [58 favorites]


In all seriousness: Donald Trump knows that neither the courts nor the Congress will respond to criminal behavior during his presidency, and he controls the greatest military the world has ever known. Why should we assume he will only govern for another four years?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:57 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Sure is funny how everyone here says "believe women" right up until it's politically inconvenient, and then it's all "let's hear both sides" and trying to discredit the woman making the accusation.

When the Access Hollywood tapes came out, there was much disbelief: "how could anyone vote for such an obviously awful person?"

How can I possibly vote for Biden when I've expressed such profound disappointment in my religious family for supporting Trump?

To be clear, this is not just "Bernie Bro" sour grapes here. I would have voted for any of the other candidates the Democrats put up, happily for Warren and holding my nose for Bloomberg. But they put up the one person I can't vote for in good conscience.
posted by JDHarper at 7:59 AM on April 14 [13 favorites]


I am a realist. I don't believe we will end up with some other Democratic nominee before the election. Maybe Biden will catch COVID-19 and pass, but I doubt it. I am going to vote for the Democratic nominee no matter what.
posted by all about eevee at 7:59 AM on April 14 [23 favorites]


What is being unsaid is that the incumbent President is so demonic, and so clearly guilty of many instances of the very type of behavior of which the Democratic candidate is being accused, that the candidate's guilt or otherwise is irrelevant to his manifest comparative superiority. Sad but true!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:03 AM on April 14 [28 favorites]


But they put up the one person I can't vote for in good conscience.

The wonderful part of voting is you don't have to like who you vote for. You don't even have to think they're gonna be any good. You just have to decide who you hate MORE and vote AGAINST that person.

The Republicans and a lot of Democrats in 2016 were able to harness their hatred of Hillary and get Trump elected. If you can't get over your distaste for putting a check next to one sexual assaulter's name, your true vote is for whoever wins.

Even not voting is a vote. For the winner. Do you want it to be Trump, or Not Trump?
posted by tclark at 8:04 AM on April 14 [49 favorites]


I’m now a one-issue voter now as well. My one issue is getting those immigrant children out of prison.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 8:05 AM on April 14 [30 favorites]


Buttigieg

Look not to split hairs over this but gay men can be predators (to women) too. I was sexually harassed by a gay man who grabbed me by my waist, spun me around to admire my ass, and said "with these hips and ass I'd be luring the men in!" Which was a traumatic experience for me. And women can be predators too, just not with the same statistical significance.
posted by erattacorrige at 8:05 AM on April 14 [18 favorites]


I have no trouble believing Biden assaulted this woman, and that he wouldn't call it assault because he clearly lacks the will to understand what boundaries are when it comes to women, which is one of the many reasons I did not want him as the candidate.

I also have to accept that, barring some unforeseen circumstance, he will be the only option for getting rid of a fascistic mob boss President with deep ties to a foreign government that wants to harm us.

I also also absolutely believe that the fascistic mob boss President and his party will try to use Biden's behavior to keep down Democratic turnout, resulting in even worse outcomes for all women (and everyone else). As a person with a soul, I find that pretty horrifying and gross and I hate that that's where we have brought ourselves. I'm going to have to urge people to vote for Rapist Who Isn't a Fascistic Mob Boss vs. the one who is.

But that's what I have to do, if I want to have any country left. I hate it so much.

We don't have good choices. We just have these choices.
posted by emjaybee at 8:06 AM on April 14 [44 favorites]


A failure to vote for Biden is only a vote for Trump if your vote is the property of the Democrats and the onus is entirely on you to provide it to them, no matter what. That this is the explicit view of the national party is part and parcel with the ongoing insistence that they shouldn't have to do anything to win except nominate somebody who doesn't have an (R) after their name. It doesn't work- their sole electoral victory of the past twenty years is a candidate who, regardless of how he governed, campaigned on Hope and Change and inspiration and excitement- and at some point it just begins to look like frustrated, privileged entitlement rather than political strategy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:07 AM on April 14 [34 favorites]


It's really fascinating to watch the rhetoric change from denial before the primary ended to it not mattering whether he assaulted Reade or not, you've gotta vote against Trump.
posted by Cezar Golescu at 8:09 AM on April 14 [24 favorites]


“I wish it need not have happened in my [presidential election],” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such [candidates]. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the [candidates] that [are] given us.”

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:13 AM on April 14 [15 favorites]


The Dean Baquet interview doesn’t really clear things up.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:15 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


It's the current situation, with the pandemic. If Biden stepped back, what would happen, what could happen? We don't even know if there can be a Democratic convention, which could potentially elect an other candidate. It's not like Sanders would magically win over Biden's supporters.
posted by mumimor at 8:16 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


If you can't get over your distaste for putting a check next to one sexual assaulter's name, your true vote is for whoever wins.

This is a frequently used argument that is bullshit. There's no True Vote whatever. Your vote is the person you vote for.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:22 AM on April 14 [13 favorites]


It's really fascinating to watch the rhetoric change from denial before the primary ended to it not mattering whether he assaulted Reade or not, you've gotta vote against Trump.
Can you link to specific examples of that? I saw this mentioned before the end of the primary many times but it clearly didn’t connect with many voters. Continuously throughout most voices, even the non-fringe Bernie supporters, seemed pretty clear that their primary concern was beating Trump.
posted by adamsc at 8:24 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


[One deleted; this stuff is already hard enough to engage with, please don't make fatalistic jokes about rapists that treat rape lightly (even if you're intending to demonstrate that it's bad to treat it lightly). Also in general please let's take some care and try to do this without going after each other.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:25 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


This is a frequently used argument that is bullshit. There's no True Vote whatever. Your vote is the person you vote for.

A non vote is a vote for the winner -- whoever that may be. You can't disclaim moral culpability in the outcome when you choose not to participate.
posted by tclark at 8:26 AM on April 14 [25 favorites]


This is a frequently used argument that is bullshit. There's no True Vote whatever. Your vote is the person you vote for.
If you can vote but choose not to, you’re saying that you’re okay with either winning. For people with enough privilege to insulate themselves, that’s likely true but it feels like it’s letting down all of the people whose votes are being suppressed and who have already been hurt by one of the two candidates to say you don’t care about them enough to spend 10 minutes filling out a ballot.
posted by adamsc at 8:27 AM on April 14 [28 favorites]


If you live in CA and refuse to vote for Biden because you believe her, is it really your fault he lost? That sounds like a bit much.
posted by Selena777 at 8:29 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


Is it just me or does it take a lot of balls for the Times to reference Anita Dunn in their report and leave out the fact that she consulted for Harvey Weinstein?
posted by Cezar Golescu at 8:31 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Your vote is the person you vote for.

No. Just no.

Choosing not to vote is an abrogation of civic responsibility. It's saying that you're OK with the outcome, however it ends up.

If that's the case, say so. Say you're OK with a Trump presidency if that's the result.

A vote for a presidential ticket is a vote for a whole slate, AND a vote against another slate. It's not just that you refuse to vote FOR Biden, it's that you refuse to vote AGAINST Trump.

By choosing to not vote, you've voiced a decision, even if it isn't called "a vote."
posted by explosion at 8:34 AM on April 14 [67 favorites]


(At the risk of being off-topic, I think it is important to point out that, in a very real way, your vote this November is not really for a person, but for a party. The most impactful thing the US President does is appointing a cabinet and hiring staff, and however distasteful the candidates may be, they're ultimately a proxy for their party and its policy platform. I know this is a huge simplification, but I feel like it's so easy to get caught up in the personality race of politics that it's easy to lose sight of the other several-thousand people involved in a government.)
posted by LSK at 8:35 AM on April 14 [72 favorites]


If you live in CA and refuse to vote for Biden because you believe her, is it really your fault he lost? That sounds like a bit much.

If you live in CA, MA, etc., feel free to make whatever statement you want with your vote (and try to vote-swap). Anyone in anyplace that could possibly make a difference, your statement should be "I don't want the country and government to dissolve into more of a horrorshow than it already has over the past four years."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:36 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


All survivors are watching this and now knowing that even progressives don't really care. And that in order to stop a fascist rapist they have to vote for the lesser rapist. Maybe we could give them a little bit of space before jumping on them about not being ready to make that choice instantly.
posted by kanata at 8:37 AM on April 14 [42 favorites]


Politics is an ugly game. We're all going to have to make an ugly choice. But one ugly choice is clearly better than the other. If Trump wins, any hope of progress is set back by decades, if not for generations. You're voting for the courts - and for the chance of turning the Senate. Vote for policies, not personalities.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:41 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


It's really fascinating to watch the rhetoric change from denial before the primary ended to it not mattering whether he assaulted Reade or not

I don't think anything has changed, I expect people simply don't see much value in starting a "I think it probably didn't happen" argument because they can read the room and it would likely explode the thread in a supernova of epic proportions.

Of course it matters whether he did this, morally, socially, and legally (if it were not past the statute of limitations). Whether it matters to someone's vote is an entirely different matter obviously. But I think it's unfair to say that the rhetoric has changed rather than people just trying not to have a flamewar which will leave a ton of people feeling sick.
posted by Justinian at 8:42 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


The most impactful thing the US President does is appointing a cabinet and hiring staff

I'm not disagreeing with your general point, but Trump has shown us that the President can fuck things up in many ways. Nomination of life-term judges. Approval or veto of legislation. Arbitrary, malicious or corrupt use of government and military power. To me, it is very important that voters do not respond to four years of Donald Trump with a statement that "eh, he'll do".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:42 AM on April 14 [16 favorites]


I mean, my first choice would be for Biden to resign the nomination. But there’s no reason to think that will ever happen, so I’ll vote for him over the even worse guy and then put pressure to hold him to account. Trying to replace him at this point would be... an exercise in democracy we are unprepared for. I don’t see the party being able to rise to the occasion. It makes me feel like a horrible person to have to consider the practicalities of the situation, but TRUMP IS WORSE has to be the constant refrain. I wish Bernie and Warren could have teamed up and not cannibalized each other, but if wishes were horses...
posted by rikschell at 8:43 AM on April 14 [17 favorites]


All survivors are watching this and now knowing that even progressives don't really care.

Please, I am a survivor, and I believe the most important thing is to vote Trump out. Don't make any statements on my behalf.
posted by mumimor at 8:43 AM on April 14 [109 favorites]


I was more referring to Metafilter in general. No one here is going to change their opinions. Sometimes people here act like it is over run with Trump people which it is not.

Asking for some restraint and understanding of what survivors are going through isn't an outrageous thing.
posted by kanata at 8:44 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Anyone else more and more convinced Trump has a very good chance of winning re-election? Between this and the fact that the progressive vote was already in jeopardy due to the centrist nature of Biden? The Democrats already had a herculean task of getting the progressive vote out because of Biden's policies, now they must overcome this hurdle.

Getting out the vote is always the challenge for each party, and this makes that job so very much more difficult. I cajoled one progressive I'm close with to vote for Hillary last election, and she's made it clear that she's simply not going to vote in this upcoming election.
posted by el io at 8:45 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


I’m sure I’ve linked this here before, but it’s worth saying again: Voting isn't CHOOSE YOUR CHARACTER. Voting is CHOOSE YOUR OPPONENT.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:45 AM on April 14 [13 favorites]


Let us imagine a theoretical progressive who did, in fact, care about sexual assault. Would such a person be morally obligated to vote for neither major-party candidate? Would this apply to so many progressives that a Trump victory would be assured? Would this aid the cause of feminist egalitarianism? Would this be a strike at the heart of the patriarchy?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:46 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


The convention hasn't happened yet, and Biden is not officially the nominee until it does. There's still time to dump this fucking rapist from the ticket, even if he doesn't do the decent thing (LOL, he won't, he's a rapist) and drop out.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:46 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


I wasn't. I was asking maybe to dial back the over the top life or death vote or else in what is more or less a liberal space.
posted by kanata at 8:47 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


Seconding mumimor. Other survivors won't and don't have to feel this way, but some of us do.
posted by peakes at 8:47 AM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Ok sorry for speaking up.
posted by kanata at 8:49 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


What mechanism would the party use to dump Biden from the ticket?
posted by all about eevee at 8:49 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Anyone else more and more convinced Trump has a very good chance of winning re-election?

Trump absolutely has a good chance of winning. 100%. I'm still struck speechless by friends who tell me he doesn't have a chance - particularly when it's the same set of friends who said that in 2016.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:50 AM on April 14 [29 favorites]


What mechanism would the party use to dump Biden from the ticket?

While the general primary voters still support Biden, I don't think there is a mechanism. Were he to collapse in support, the easiest mechanism would be for major Democrats to publicly endorse someone else en masse and force a withdrawal.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:51 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


The most impactful thing the US President does is appointing a cabinet and hiring staff. . .

Long term, I'd suggest that it's probably the appointment of the Federal Judiciary, including the Supreme Court. But we pretty much lost that battle four years ago when the left was busy being offered the choice between a plate of roast chicken and being force-fed ground glass and its collective response was "I don't really like chicken."

These threads give me chilling deja vu.
posted by The Bellman at 8:51 AM on April 14 [37 favorites]


Obama is endorsing Biden later today according to the news, so.
posted by all about eevee at 8:51 AM on April 14


Voting for Biden is like the US missile program bringing in Wernher von Braun, ugly but what choice do we have?
posted by tommasz at 8:57 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


I almost admire Metafilter's conviction that this time, in this thread, will be the time we finally work out once and for all whether one should vote for the lesser of two evils. I mean yeah, given the choices I guess I will vote for the guy, but like give people some space
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:58 AM on April 14 [29 favorites]


Obama is endorsing Biden later today according to the news, so.

To be fair, I think that's mostly only going to sell to people who were already for Biden. I think a lot of progressives have slowly fallen out of love with Obama.

The real end of the love story was the violent suppression of the DAPL protests that happened under Obama. They remember Obama as continuing some of Bushes worst policies, and letting Bush off the hook for war crimes. (which, personal opinion, is how you end up with someone like Trump who commits crimes nonstop with impunity. by acting like prosecuting war crimes isn't important. who knew?)

Anyway, a lot of the progressive voters aren't going to be suddenly impressed by that, just saying. (I mean, Sanders already endorsed Biden, and it's moved Sanders supporters maybe a micrometer towards Biden)

Hopefully Obama's endorsement will be enough for others, however.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:59 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Unprovable accusations about something that might of happened in 1991 are not as important to me as what the winner of the 2020 election will do in office with regards to the rights of women, the environment, health care and the economy. I’m not going to tie myself in knots over something that may or may it have happened; when I’m certain what will happen under 4 more years of Trump
posted by interogative mood at 9:02 AM on April 14 [14 favorites]


yup, guarantee you that in the unlikely scenario where biden wins he's gonna give us the ol' "we must look forward not back" routine
posted by entropicamericana at 9:02 AM on April 14 [16 favorites]


yup, guarantee you that in the unlikely scenario where biden wins he's gonna give us the ol' "we must look forward not back" routine

Yeah, that bothers me too. But I still hope this time will be different.
posted by mumimor at 9:09 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


'yup, guarantee you that in the unlikely scenario where biden wins he's gonna give us the ol' "we must look forward not back" routine'

Well, on one hand, I understand with and even agree with sentiments that Obama didn't want to use his political capital to prosecute the previous administration... On the other hand if we steadfeastly refuse to do this we'll end up with more and more criminal behavior in the White House. Trump's criminal activity is of a different character than previous administrations though - many of his crimes have been self-serving instead of things that the President did that they thought were for 'the good of the country'. But Bush Jr. is far from the first president to commit war crimes, and few outside the 'far left' really seem to care about this. Obama's use of drone strikes are but one recent example of war crimes that weren't Bush Jrs.

Certainly I think that the next congress should investigate the shit out of the current administration, but it seems unwise for the next administration to use their political capital to focus on the past rather than the challenging (and frankly bleak) future in front of us. There's a lot of difficult stuff that needs to get done to get us through our current crisis and then the aftermath that will continue on. These challenges will be severe for even a very competent administration.
posted by el io at 9:10 AM on April 14 [7 favorites]


But we pretty much lost that battle four years ago when the left was busy being offered the choice between a plate of roast chicken and being force-fed ground glass and its collective response was "I don't really like chicken."

Is "the left" in America some version of Schroedinger's Cat? Simultaneously too small and insignificant to be worth listening to, but also large and powerful that they can decide elections?

If another Democratic centrist war criminal with a laundry list of vulnerabilities loses an election to Trump, will The Left once again be blamed?
posted by Ouverture at 9:12 AM on April 14 [54 favorites]


guarantee you that in the unlikely scenario where biden wins he's gonna give us the ol' "we must look forward not back" routine

I think there's a decent chance that a new Attorney General or an incumbent New York Attorney General will have different plans. In which case, clearly it would be inappropriate for a sitting president to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:16 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Right, but Democratic voters did not come out to support other candidates. They supported Biden. Our choice is vote for Biden or vote for Trump. I know I will be voting for Biden because I cannot abide by four more years of Trump.

I think someone has to be living under a rock to not see the beautiful, pristine, completely clear flight path to the nomination that was gifted to Biden by the democratic party and their media/pundit apparatus once it was determined he was the only real Non-Bernie Sanders option.

Voting for the lesser evil and voting for the greater good are the SAME THING. A vote does not and should not mark the beginning and end of participating in societal change. A vote is not a statement of identity, it is a statement of preference.

Agreed. Unfortunately, this is not reality. Millions of voters, including many people here, are simply too disgusted by Biden to vote for him. I don't like it, you don't like it, and sure, I'll still vote for Biden and you'll still vote for Biden - but the reality remains: Many people were never going to vote for the creep that is Joe Biden.

That was a given throughout the duration of the primary. Anyone who did not see it coming is not living in reality. And democrats went ahead and nominated him anyway. It was systemically decided by The Party, The Media, and The People that Snake Emojis and Rude Bernie Supporters were made to be priority scandals over Biden's abject shittiness. We've seen this happen before, we've seen a political party line up behind the Shittiest Candidate Possible without question and without speaking out or demanding or endorsing the alternatives.

Now we're seeing democrats do it in their own way, on their own turf. Sure, "not as bad as Trump" but you know what, it still fucking sucks. So people are going to complain about Biden and about democrats, and they're going to pledge in your face that they won't vote for him, and they'll do it to piss democrats off for not speaking out more and speaking up more. And that's the punishment that dems will just have to deal with and live with. They are just going to have to fucking deal with that reality and it is going to be incumbent on them to figure out what to do about it. And if the only strategy is telling people "grrr you better vote Biden or else you're helping Trump!!!" then there is a very very very fucking rocky road ahead.
posted by windbox at 9:16 AM on April 14 [36 favorites]


I doubt Biden will do the "look forward not back" routine; he'll say "that's up to my Attorney General", which is what he should say. Maybe let's not borrow trouble?
posted by Justinian at 9:18 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Nixon got a blanket pardon. Trump is not going to get a blanket pardon.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:20 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Electing Biden gives us 4 years of not having the Republicans packing the courts. This alone is worth my vote. We have to use those 4 years to find someone better, or dump him in favor of his VP.

IMO, those four years are better spent finding ways to stop legislating from the bench. Think about it: we vote for who should run the world's largest employer by who they will appoint to a court that has final say in whether laws congress passed should have been laws in the first place. Does anyone think it's rational that a access to abortion is protected by a right to privacy that maybe the 14th amendment grants us implicitly, instead of a 51 percent majority in a bicameral legislature?

As long as the court is treated as the second chance for policy, with a far more durable impact, voters will find themselves conflicted in voting for who would best run the bureaucracy versus who will make the right lifetime appointments.
posted by pwnguin at 9:20 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


"Biden will do THIS. Biden will do THAT. Biden will do THIS..."

Maybe!
posted by SoberHighland at 9:21 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Sure is funny how everyone here says "believe women" right up until it's politically inconvenient, and then it's all "let's hear both sides" and trying to discredit the woman making the accusation.

We’ve been wrong before. We were all certain Amber Heard was telling the truth. She wasn’t. We all thought the UVA rape story was true. It wasn’t.

Sometimes we’re wrong.

And even if we’re right a rapist is in the Whitehouse one way or another. And one of those rapists we probably won’t be able to get rid of. One we might.

That’s the ugly truth of it.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 9:22 AM on April 14 [17 favorites]


I will vote for Joe Biden in November if I must, and then I will cheer on all efforts to impeach Joe Biden two months later, on day two of his administration.

And I will hope, up until that point, that Biden finds a medical excuse (real or not) to bow out with what little dignity he has left.
posted by delfin at 9:23 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


Two people remember Reade telling them about the incident when it happened, no such thing happened with Ford.

Ford had four sworn affidavits from people she'd told about Kavanaugh.
posted by nicwolff at 9:24 AM on April 14 [57 favorites]


why do people feel the need to bring up Reade's "ties to Putin"?

I am a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. I think this is relevant, but not in the way that other people think are relevant.

I've been sexually assaulted by a variety of men. Some, I'm going to be frank, I have respected more than others for a variety of reasons, many including 'what else they have done with their life'. Some I have made sympathetic excuses for in my head, about their acculturation or lack of knowledge about consent or trauma or what have you. Some I have not. Some I have told people about. Some I have told everyone about. Some I have told no one about. Some have apologized for it privately. Some publicly. These things do not necessarily map onto the list of who I have told other people about.

I can easily see where if you have less reasons to respect a person, it makes it easier to come forward about something. That is one reason I think the Putin-stuff is relevant around timing but not actually exculpating. I think probably a bigger factor is it makes it really hard when everyone is lionizing someone that you know has assaulted you.

Democrats, just stop running men over the age of 45 for a while. This will definitely come up again and again.
posted by corb at 9:24 AM on April 14 [21 favorites]


I think it's clear the Democratic establishment supported Biden over Sanders. But I do not believe he was their first choice. He is a very old man. He was, however, the first choice of a large body of Democratic voters, particularly African-Americans, and so he is the nominee.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:27 AM on April 14 [13 favorites]


This is just the perfect political attack. It's impressive.

The Hunter Biden Ukraine thing was never going to fly, and Trump even got impeached over it. But this has legs.

Did Biden act inappropriately with a staffer years ago? Who knows! It's not hard to believe he did, as he's an old man who doesn't get the New Rules. Let's publish eight months worth of news stories that rehash the allegations and uncover nothing new. It's a fascinating Mystery Box that people won't be able to get enough of! What's in the Mystery Box? The New York Times doesn't actually care, just like they didn't care about what was in Hillary's "missing" emails. They just need something bad to publish about Biden to keep their plutocrat advertisers happy. What else are they going to do, discuss his policy proposals?

After the Clintonites have had a field day punching the socialists when they're down (and really, is there anything a centrist Democrat loves more than proving she's not a dirty hippie?) and alienated the youth vote they need to turn out in the fall, it's time to cleave away the feminist faction. You don't even have to prove any actual wrongdoing, because anyone who doesn't Believe Women will be attacked immediately, which only serves to further divide the party. And do you really think the feminists will make common cause with the dirty hippie socialist bros to find a consensus candidate?

Biden is a shitty candidate. Everybody knows that, except for the people who will attack you as a racist for pointing that out because the black voters of South Carolina—who will make no difference whatsoever in the general election—chose him. So we get another go-round for the Third Way Clintonian Bargain: Vote for this shitty candidate or the fascists win. Except the fascists have, once again, found the perfect way to divide and conquer by exploiting the Clintonian Bargain.

Is Biden a rapist? Who knows? Go ahead and throw your stones and pledge your purity and threaten to sit out the election. But do that knowing that this is definitely a right wing media ratfuck operation, and you're behaving exactly how they want you to behave.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:28 AM on April 14 [44 favorites]


And if the only strategy is telling people "grrr you better vote Biden or else you're helping Trump!!!" then there is a very very very fucking rocky road ahead.

Vote shaming didn't work in 2016 and after 4 years of ignoring Hillary's many, many flaws to shake a fist at the left for not falling in line, I suspect it's not going to work this time around. Democrats keep nominating lackluster candidates (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Humphrey...) and their entire strategy seems to be "What are you going to doooooooo? Let the Republicans winnnnnnnn?" And be genuinely flabbergasted that doesn't move the needle.

Outside of that it's tremendously damaging that the big voices in #MeToo and against Kavanaugh raced to delete that history when Biden got the nom, thus proving the conservative accusation that "They don't actually care about sexual assault, they're just virtue signaling, look what happens when it's their guy."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:29 AM on April 14 [18 favorites]


I can't believe that in 2020, I will have to cast my vote for one of two rapists. After enduring four years of discussions around "electability" and women, I think this is just another demonstration of how backwards our country really is.

In my daydreams, Senator Warren, or anyone really, makes an announcement, "In light of the new allegations, I'm reopening my campaign for President. Consider the pandemic we're currently enduring, and the abusive practices of the men running, it is clear that the county needs a plan to move forward, one that takes care of all citizens, not octogenarian white men."

But, there's laws against that, right? The candidacy, primaries, and final ballot are hard coated in state laws, policies and bureaucracy, preventing a hard pivot from whatever path we're on.

cw: As a woman, having to choose between the rapist who imprisons babies and could potentially kill millions of us, vs the rapist whose a little "too friendly" and too likely to maintain the status quo, isn't that surprising to me, honestly. I've been here before, and will own my choice to vote Democrat, as disgusting and rage inducing as that is.
posted by bindr at 9:29 AM on April 14 [26 favorites]


Let us imagine a theoretical progressive who did, in fact, care about sexual assault. Would such a person be morally obligated to vote for neither major-party candidate?

No. But it is going to make a number of feminists and and others who take sexual assault seriously feel conflicted and bad about voting for Biden.

I do. I'm going to vote for him, and I do feel that doing so is in some level a betrayal of my values and makes me a hypocrite. There's more at stake than my feelings so I will vote Biden. It does make me feel hostile towards the Democratic Party for letting me in this position.

I'm absolutely not saying that people who don't feel conflicted and bad don't take sexual assault seriously. Just that some of us do feel bad about it.

In any election enthusiasm matters, and Biden isn't a candidate who inspires much enthusiasm. Even most of his supporters aren't really enthused. And the rape allegations are going to lower enthusiasm further.

Even ignoring the moral issues this is really bad for Biden and the Democrats from a purely electoral calculus standpoint.

What really ticks me off is that this isn't a surprise. The man has decades of video showing him creeping on and sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women and girls. The big brains in the Party should have realized that public behavior almost certainly meantworse private behavior.
posted by sotonohito at 9:31 AM on April 14 [21 favorites]


I'm a good person, good people don't vote for rapists, I'm voting for Biden, therefore Biden must not be a rapistb therefore Reade must be lying.

or ... I think of myself as a good person even if I know I've done a few wrong things in my time, but nothing like rape, so no f***ing way am I going to vote for rapist, except it seems both presidential candidates may classify as such ... therefore I either don't vote for anybody or I choose the lesser of two evils.

As for Reade, I doubt she's lying.
posted by philip-random at 9:32 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


except for the people who will attack you as a racist for pointing that out because the black voters of South Carolina—who will make no difference whatsoever in the general election

Lampshading it doesn't make it go away. This is ugly and I wish people would stop doing it.
posted by Justinian at 9:32 AM on April 14 [9 favorites]


But I do not believe he was their first choice. He is a very old man

I actually somewhat agree with this sentiment but the only change I would make is that he was their first choice, they realized right quick there was almost zero enthusiasm behind him, and they started hedging their bets with folks like O'Rourke and Buttigeig and were just trying to see who did the best. They then came back to Biden out of necessity.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:32 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


But, there's laws against that, right? The candidacy, primaries, and final ballot are hard coated in state laws, policies and bureaucracy, preventing a hard pivot from whatever path we're on.

Biden doesn't actually have the nomination yet, and I don't believe there are laws against what you describe. Suspending a campaign (as most of the other Dem candidates have done) does not preclude re-opening it. But it seems highly unlikely to happen here.
posted by Jpfed at 9:33 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Look, I am going to vote for Biden because I was always going to vote for literally anyone who is not Trump. But "so what if the sexual assault allegations are true, at least he's much better than Trump" is not actually a strong argument and it's not an argument I feel comfortable making on the Democratic party's behalf. I am not going to phone bank or door knock so I can tell people "so what if the sexual assault allegations are true, at least he's much better than Trump." That is simply not compatible with my value systems or my self respect.

So please understand that when people like me are asking the people who chose Biden for a better argument, it's not because we need to be convinced (I don't), but because we'd like some kind of talking points that don't make us sound like hypocritical assholes who don't care about sexual assault. It would also be nice to find some messaging on this that doesn't permanently cement the "both sides are the same" fallacy held by the out-of-touch infrequent voters we most need to convince, and it would also be nice if we could refrain from permanently undercutting any sense that the Democratic party holds the high ground.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 9:33 AM on April 14 [26 favorites]


Look. We’re all in a life raft right now. And we’re ALL in the position of choosing who lives and who dies. We will have to figure out a way to live with an impossible choice afterwards. However, not choosing isn’t saving anyone.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 9:35 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


I’m now a one-issue voter now as well. My one issue is getting those immigrant children out of prison.

As a woman, having to choose between the rapist who imprisons babies and could potentially kill millions of us, vs the rapist whose a little "too friendly" and too likely to maintain the status quo, isn't that surprising to me, honestly. I've been here before, and will own my choice to vote Democrat, as disgusting and rage inducing as that is.

Having seen this mentioned twice now in this thread, the sad thing is that the choice is even more depressing than that: Biden was Vice President during the Obama administration, which built the very cages that liberals and centrists now find so horrifying.

The Democrats have never been a party that has treated people of color, particularly immigrants, well, even if Republicans have treated us much worse.

The only hope we have is that Sanders and other leftist/progressive voices push Biden and the usual merry band of ghouls far to the left on immigration once he is in office.
posted by Ouverture at 9:36 AM on April 14 [23 favorites]


Biden doesn't actually have the nomination yet, and I don't believe there are laws against what you describe.

Arguably, the DNC is a private entity, they don't have to follow any laws for their primary. They could choose their candidate while smoking cigars in a back room with no public influence at all. They argued that in court when they got sued for putting the finger on the scale for Clinton in 2016. It's true, they are a private entity and it's legal for them to do it however they want it.

Meaning there is almost fuck-nothing stopping top brass in the party apparatus from changing the rules and bringing in a new candidate. In fact, they could just drop Biden and pull a brokered convention between the former candidates. Nothing stopping them legally, in my mind. They proved that in 2016 when they won the court case, because they are indeed a private entity not bound by electoral law, but their own internal laws.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:38 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I think someone has to be living under a rock to not see the beautiful, pristine, completely clear flight path to the nomination that was gifted to Biden by the democratic party and their media/pundit apparatus once it was determined he was the only real Non-Bernie Sanders option.

Look, I was a strong Warren supporter; Biden was in the dregs of my candidate choices (in part because I know a creeper, at the very least, when I see one), Bernie (after four years of watching his and his team's behavior) at the bottom of the middle. But at some point the Sanders people are going to have to accept that the voters have had not one, but two, chances to choose him in the primaries, and they didn't vote for him. He lost because the primary voters didn't vote for him. This is not a conspiracy. It's how primaries work. I am deeply sympathetic to the sexual-violence survivors who struggle with Biden, but the people who are just mad that voters didn't vote for their candidate, not so much. And, no, in what may be a very close election, it's not helpful that they're still carrying on about it.

Now we are stuck with what we are stuck with. In all seriousness, not hyperbole, I am considering trying to emigrate if 45 wins this year, because I don't want my access to a ventilator if I can't breathe to hinge on whether a black hole of evil of a man feels sufficiently kowtowed to by somebody or another. This case is so far out of the ordinary that it's hard for me to understand how anyone can look at what's actually at stake and say that, ultimately, regardless of how painful it is, they don't plan to vote against 45. Even if you are a cozy white dude who couldn't care less about babies in cages, there's a nontrivial chance that if 45 is re-elected, we'll never see another real election again.
posted by praemunire at 9:40 AM on April 14 [57 favorites]


“Did Biden act inappropriately with a staffer years ago?”

Come the fuck on with this minimizing. People were rightly outraged by Trump saying he could do what Biden is now accused of doing to a woman. It’s sexual assault.
posted by Selena777 at 9:41 AM on April 14 [25 favorites]


You can both a) regard sexual assault accusations as believable by default, encourage women to come forward, demand they be protected from retribution, and not say bad things about accusers and b) not know what to do with accusations new or "more revealed" decades after the fact. Sometimes (often) victims don't come forward with anything or everything right away. Also sometimes (often) memories are unreliable after a long time. You don't have to call someone "delusional" to notice the criminal justice examples of veritably inaccurate accusations even if intentionally false accusations are overall very uncommon.

I thought that Ford's accusation about Kavenaugh was completely plausible but also don't think that the content was disqualifying or even able to be meaningfully investigated. BK's response to the accusation was very poor. I think the same thing about Biden. I don't have to think that the accuser is crazy or a Russian plant to believe that nearly 30 years ago these events maybe didn't happen just like that, or that I will never have enough confidence to decide.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:41 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I actually somewhat agree with this sentiment but the only change I would make is that he was their first choice, they realized right quick there was almost zero enthusiasm behind him, and they started hedging their bets with folks like O'Rourke and Buttigeig and were just trying to see who did the best. They then came back to Biden out of necessity.

There first choice was anyone who was not Bernie Sanders. By the end it was down to only Biden and Sanders so Biden it was. Despite steamrolling Anita Hill, despite assault allegations, despite touching and hair sniffing. It was Sanders who "gave them the creeps".

Look. We’re all in a life raft right now. And we’re ALL in the position of choosing who lives and who dies. We will have to figure out a way to live with an impossible choice afterwards. However, not choosing isn’t saving anyone.

You can say this all you want and it doesn't make the non-choosers exist any less. And I say this as someone who will be voting for Biden: Democrats are going to have to figure out how to win voters with their preferred Non-Sanders candidate who they believe is most electable. Biden is supposed to be the compromise that keeps all of the moderates, swing voters, never-Trump republicans, and blue-no-matter dems under the same tent - sexual assault allegations be damned. Terrible record and allegations; all of it apparently worth the risk. They knew what they were buying. Now they have what they wanted.

It will be incumbent on Biden, his campaign, and democrats to win voters hearts and minds - this is not the responsibility of voters that are repulsed by Biden and his history. Democrats will need to figure out something beyond finger-wagging their way to a win.
posted by windbox at 9:44 AM on April 14 [25 favorites]


Come the fuck on with this minimizing. People were rightly outraged by Trump saying he could do what Biden is now accused of doing to a woman. It’s sexual assault.

This is another advantage of this ratfuck: It levels the playing field between Trump and Biden.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:44 AM on April 14 [9 favorites]


My question about the "not voting for Biden is the same as voting for Trump" concept... isn't this just different way of saying "If you're not with us, you're against us"? Would we also say that a conscientious objector during WW2 was pro-Hitler?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:46 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


Please share the reason that you’re so confident this is a ratfuck.
posted by Selena777 at 9:46 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


They are just going to have to fucking deal with that reality

Here's the reality I see. If Trump isn't out of office after this term, there is no 2024 election. That's it. It's the ballgame.

I'm sorry that these are the choices. I supported, enthusiastically, Warren. I donated to Warren, I voted for Warren. She didn't win. Retooling the Democratic party while trying to oust Trump because Biden is a creep and shouldn't have gotten this far is not a trick I see pulling off. If somebody has actual, concrete suggestions for this, I'm all ears. But threatening to sit this out and feeding that narrative scares the hell out of me, because I can easily see another 2016. I knew too many people who lived in swing states that voted Stein or didn't vote because they just didn't like Hillary.

So here we are. Tens of thousands dead that didn't have to be dead. God knows what atrocities have happened at the border camps we don't even know about yet, much less the ones we do. The systemic dismantling of our intelligence agencies, DeVos doing what she can to ruin schools and rob people of promised loan forgiveness, just... all of it.

The GOP keeps winning and making the country more awful because their supporters have no compunction against putting a Trump in the office. There seems to be no limit at all to what they'll tolerate, hell endorse, so that their team wins.

So, I'm sorry, but I have to vote for the person who gets the nomination. I feel disappointed that it's not Warren or somebody that is above reproach, but I feel no guilt about this. It isn't fair or right, but neither is it fair or right that thousands of people have died separated from their families due to an outbreak that could have been controlled, while the Trump administration gleefully picks the bones of the republic, funnels money from the relief fund into his friends' (and his own) pockets, and literally hijacks PPE shipments to send to states that support him.

I'm begging anybody who will listen: Whatever it takes to get Trump out of office and crush the GOP majority is what needs to be done. This is not about unwavering allegiance to the Democratic party. It is about shoring up the only tool we currently have to save ourselves, and there is only so much that can be done before November without making that tool completely ineffective.
posted by jzb at 9:47 AM on April 14 [70 favorites]


He lost because the primary voters didn't vote for him. This is not a conspiracy.

If the entire democratic primary field dropped out and endorsed Sanders, giving him his giant Media Moment effectively pronouncing his inevitable Primary Win - do you seriously think Biden would still have won the primary? Based on his own merit as an effective campaigner?

It doesn't have to be a conspiracy, it's just business. And it's shitty business, and people are going to criticize that.
posted by windbox at 9:48 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]




Obama is endorsing Biden later today according to the news, so.
To be fair, I think that's mostly only going to sell to people who were already for Biden. I think a lot of progressives have slowly fallen out of love with Obama.


Well since Obama governed as a centrist on most issues, I doubt that most progressives were ever in love with him the first place.

Also, let's not question the narrative that Biden was the Chosen One, that Democratic voters really had no other option, that this couldn't have been avoided all along but voting for candidates with better character and politics.

What do you mean voters had no other option? There were plenty of options. The reality is that more voters chose Biden over the other candidates.

I think that metafilter is generally very out of touch. The reality is that the progressive platform has limited appeal, at least right now. Voters rejected these candidates in the recent democratic primaries.

If the Democrats pivot to a progressive platform they will only make it harder for themselves to win when they should be winning more due to factors such as Trump's unpopularity and demographic shifts.

I live in a state that votes reliably democratic in each presidential election. The progressive platform has very limited support among the people I speak with in my state. I predicted that Trump would win in 2016. Voters I spoke with in my area did not believe that Bernie or Warren would beat Trump, so they went with Biden.
posted by seesom at 9:49 AM on April 14 [17 favorites]


If the entire democratic primary field dropped out and endorsed Sanders, giving him his giant Media Moment - do you seriously think Biden would still have won the primary?

Yes. Endorsements mean very little.
posted by stopgap at 9:51 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


why do people feel the need to bring up Reade's "ties to Putin"?

Because of recent news. I should note that Putin is a very clever and capable opponent, and once blew up apartment buildings all over Russia to start a war in Chechnya and make himself president.
posted by Brian B. at 9:52 AM on April 14 [19 favorites]


I thought that Ford's accusation about Kavenaugh was completely plausible but also don't think that the content was disqualifying or even able to be meaningfully investigated.

Yikes.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:52 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


It doesn't have to be a conspiracy, it's just business. And it's shitty business, and people are going to criticize that.

Business? Why don't you think that the other candidates endorsed Biden because he was their preferred candidate for political reasons. Sanders is a lifelong Independent and Democratic Socialist who has run for president as a Democrat. You don't even have to disagree with him to get why actual Democrats prefer a Democratic candidate.
posted by mumimor at 9:52 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


Meaning there is almost fuck-nothing stopping top brass in the party apparatus from changing the rules and bringing in a new candidate. In fact, they could just drop Biden and pull a brokered convention between the former candidates. Nothing stopping them legally, in my mind. They proved that in 2016 when they won the court case, because they are indeed a private entity not bound by electoral law, but their own internal laws.

Well, nothing besides the millions and millions and millions of people who voted in a fair and free election.

I'd like to see the Venn diagram of the people who believe "DNC fixing the election for Biden == Bad" and "DNC fixing the election for someone else besides Biden == Good". I mean, both situations are pants-on-the-head crazy, but I do enjoy the hypocrisy.
posted by sideshow at 9:53 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


I feel like people are making this a lot more complicated than it was. You just don't win the Democratic nomination by running against the Democratic party. That's it, that's what happened. Most Democrats like the Democratic party, that's why they are in it.
posted by Justinian at 9:54 AM on April 14 [26 favorites]


You don't even have to disagree with him to get why actual Democrats prefer a Democratic candidate.

Every time someone brings this up all I can read it as is:

"Party over people"

Because that's fucking petty, yo.

"This guy wants to help people, but he's NOT PART OF OUR CLUB SO FUCK HIM"
posted by deadaluspark at 9:54 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


People can criticize Biden. It's OK. Not every criticism has to be answered by an admonishment to vote for him. Lots of people (most people in this thread!) dislike him and will vote for him. Do you think repeating on metafilter that we have to vote for Biden will win the election? I don't.
posted by latkes at 9:55 AM on April 14 [16 favorites]


Well, I don’t think I will vote for Biden. Besides his - ahem - behavioral issues, he’s a corporate tool and a conservative. I cringe when I think ahead to what his campaign will be like and how the debates will play. Biden has spoken so often about comity in politics that I can just see him not attacking Trump but only “going high” and, even though I respect Michele Obama, we saw how that worked out.

But, I won’t vote for Stein again this year.
posted by sudogeek at 9:55 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


I'd like to see the Venn diagram of the people who believe "DNC fixing the election for Biden == Bad" and "DNC fixing the election for someone else besides Biden == Good". I mean, both situations are pants-on-the-head crazy, but I do enjoy the hypocrisy.

I didn't say it was a good idea. I said it was possible. Using arguments Democrats themselves made in 2016 about how their party works. *shrugs
posted by deadaluspark at 9:56 AM on April 14


"This guy wants to help people, but he's not PART OF OUR CLUB SO FUCK HIM"

Yeah exactly, I can't read it any other way than "not part of our club" petty nonsense. So no, I will not ever understand why a bunch of democrats dropped out so they could endorse someone who steamrolled a sexual assault victim to get a conservative judge nominated and now has credible sexual assault accusations against him. If you understand it, fine, but I don't understand it.
posted by windbox at 9:57 AM on April 14 [9 favorites]


[This thread is about the NYT article about Biden allegation; if you mainly want to argue about Sanders and the Dem nomination please go, god help us all, to the thread about that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:58 AM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Do you think repeating on metafilter that we have to vote for Biden will win the election? I don't.

I agree with you that those kinds of hypothetical arguments are silly and time-wasting and I've come to loathe ginned-up Internet "controversies", but I see people here seriously proposing not to vote for Biden, so apparently it's not merely a hypothetical argument.

(Do people think Elizabeth Warren endorsed (even as far as she did) Biden because of her...centrism? Extreme support of corporations? Hey, what if the entire rest of the field had dropped out and endorsed Warren? Sanders people can have a week or so, and then they need to move on, like everyone else's supporters did.)
posted by praemunire at 9:59 AM on April 14 [15 favorites]


Please share the reason that you’re so confident this is a ratfuck.

Because it functions so elegantly as a ratfuck. Remember, the allegations can be 100% true, and it can still be a ratfuck. The Al Franken affair was a ratfuck. Your personal actions can still be righteous and in line with your politics and ethics, and yet you can still be the victim of malicious manipulation by your enemies.

We're beyond "good" choices here. I believe Joe Biden is unfit for office because he voted for the Iraq War. But I'm going to vote for him, just like I voted for fucking Hillary, because if Trump wins, he's going to throw all of us in the gulag.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:59 AM on April 14 [25 favorites]


Using arguments Democrats themselves made in 2016 about how their party works.

They made the argument because it cuts off at the knees the insane proposition that the national party just anoints candidates. They don't have to disprove the crazy stuff (because stuff so crazy will never be disproven to the crazy person's satisfaction anyway) by saying "it's our game, we set the rules".
posted by sideshow at 10:01 AM on April 14


Has it ever been any different for nonwhite nonmale noncis nonstraight people? Ever since we got the right to vote, haven't we ALWAYS had to vote for people who have committed crimes against our people in order to prevent people who have committed larger crimes against us from coming to power? Always. Every time. The only people who have ever had the luxury of holding out for purity in politics are the ultra privileged. The rest of us always have to hold our noses and do the thing that needs to be done. It's not a coincidence that black women are the most consistently reliable demographic for Democrats. They're the ones who have the most to lose if the greater evil comes to power, so out they go, voting in the lesser misogynists and lesser racists so that they may live to vote in another election.

Some of you think you get to shame us in public forums for choosing the lesser evil... SMH. And some of you think you get to speak for survivors of sexual violence... I can't even. Our hearts have always been broken, always, always, always. We have learned not to look to politicians to mend our hearts. I envy those of you who do.
posted by MiraK at 10:01 AM on April 14 [110 favorites]


Please share the reason that you’re so confident this is a ratfuck.

The man has been a Senator forever, he was a heartbeat away from the Presidency for 8 years, he's been full time campaigning for the last 2 years, and this story runs like 48 hours after he becomes the only candidate left in a primary?
posted by sideshow at 10:04 AM on April 14 [29 favorites]


Well, to be fair, this story has been circulating for weeks now, just not in the New York Times.
posted by all about eevee at 10:06 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


and this story runs like 48 hours after he becomes the only candidate left in a primary?

The Intercept ran their story on March 24th. The MeFi thread that day got removed.

It was kind of at the peak of insanity of the stay at home orders, so it makes sense it got removed, to be clear. Lots of stuff was flying that day and mods were overwhelmed.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:07 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Remember, the allegations can be 100% true, and it can still be a ratfuck. The Al Franken affair was a ratfuck.

If that's the standard then I guess Trump has been ratfucked pretty damn hard?
posted by Beware of the leopard at 10:11 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


There are in the US (order of magnitude estimate) 13m permanent residents (including myself) , 2-3 million documented non-permanent residents, and 10-12m undocumented immigrants who will be impacted by this election. Plus 5-6m disenfranchised felons. Plus the 3-3.5m residents of the US territories (including Puerto Rico - where if you remember - who was President truly mattered this term). Plus 70-75m US citizens under the age of 18. So more or less 105-115m people in the US who don't get to vote at all, or not for the President directly in the case of the territories. So about a third of the population.

There are 202 days to the election - I hope those who can vote, take the time they need to make a decision and vote then, even if your opinion is that the options range from bad to even worse. Millions of us count on you.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:16 AM on April 14 [16 favorites]


If that's the standard then I guess Trump has been ratfucked pretty damn hard?

If you think that gleefully boasting about committing multiple sexual assaults on video is a ratfuck, then yes.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 10:16 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


what do you call gleefully committing unwanted touching on video?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:18 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


If you think that gleefully boasting about committing multiple sexual assaults on video is a ratfuck, then yes.

I was thinking more of the Access Hollywood tape which came out October 7, 2016.
posted by Beware of the leopard at 10:21 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


How will a female VP toe the line to save the day without being deployed as an attack dog against allegations of impropriety and any legislative pro-woman inconsistencies at the top of the ticket?
posted by Selena777 at 10:22 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. PSA: yes there is a word "ratfuck," but especially in a thread about sexual assault please reconsider -- and don't make clever elaborations/riffs on that such as jokes about lube or whatever. Just pause and think about how that tough-guy vocabulary of political horserace journalism is a form of toxic masculinity, like sports talk radio, etc, and choose a different way of expressing yourself.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:22 AM on April 14 [45 favorites]


I just want to say that at no point did I say not to vote for him. Just that survivors need a bit of kindness as they deal with once again there being no choice but to vote for someone who could be triggering. And that more than likely these people don't need to be told to vote for the lesser of two evils and that most people on Metafilter aren't going to vote to elect Trump. I think it is ok to just give some space for those feelings of once again having to vote against someone instead of someone.

I apologize for using all when I meant some. It is very triggering for me to hear that yet another white cis male abuser is the only choice for the most powerful position in the world. And I apologize if I added to any tension here while speaking from a triggered headspace or made other survivors feel talked over.
posted by kanata at 10:28 AM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Yes, the release of the Access Hollywood tape was an information operation. It had the advantage of being true.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:32 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


what do you call gleefully committing unwanted touching on video?

I’d have to see the video and then hear what all the women or men being touched thought.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 10:37 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Yes, the release of the Access Hollywood tape was an information operation. It had the advantage of being true.

Exactly. Not our fault it didn't actually work against Trump and his voting base didn't care. It was an information operation meant to tank him. It fits the description. Just like the Republicans sitting on knowledge of a Joe Biden rape accusation and waiting to hit him with it in the general to destroy the entire Democratic Parties chances overall by depressing Democratic turnout by getting people to not like their own guy or even vote downticket. Doesn't matter that it's true, it's still an information operation, and if it works, things are going to get bad fast.

(Which is why Sanders voters were pretty frustrated every time Biden voters wanted to shut this story down in the last few weeks instead of getting it out in the open and out of the way and handled before Biden was the presumptive nominee. Could have been helpful to kill this story before Biden was alone in the field. We get how this works. We don't want to see King Trump, either. That's why it needs to get fucking handled.)
posted by deadaluspark at 10:37 AM on April 14 [8 favorites]


I've finally read the WaPo story. I think it's better written than the NYTimes version. It seems to me that the NYTimes are heading back on their disastrous "But Her Emails" course, and I suppose everyone should send a mail to the editor. They are literally getting New Yorkers killed right here and now because of that.

Reading it, I was reminded that in 1992 or -93, a student told me she had raped by my then boss. We went into an office I could lock, and I said she could call the police from the phone there, or I could help her if she was too shaken. She said no, that would a crazy career-ending thing to do, she just wanted to vent and cry. I have never forgotten that experience. I've written about it on the blue before. And I think there's a lot in it that may apply here.

First of all, that boss was one of the people who I'd never had guessed was a creep. He was always a perfect gentleman in my presence. Here I'm thinking of the many women on Bidens staff who say they can't imagine Biden doing something like that.

Second, at the time, I think even less rapes were reported than now. Now, if a professor raped a student, mostly he would get fired. Then, not so much. The police might even have dismissed the woman because she was drunk and in a sexy dress. It was a party. Even one of the few older friends I have who really isn't a creep told me that he hated the whole culture, but that was life back then. You couldn't do anything about it.

It was in the NYTimes article too, but maybe because of the better writing, I paid more attention to the stuff she claims Biden said. Not the aggressive, threatening part, but the part where he told her he thought she liked him. I think a lot of powerful men naively mistake people's respect for their position for sexual interest. That's why there needs to be strict rules. (Trump isn't naive about this. He knows he can only grab people by the pussy because he is famous).

On the other hand, if she did report it, I don't believe no one can remember it. I don't remember that woman's name and only vaguely what she looked like, but I've never forgotten the incident. And that means someone is lying. I'm inclined to believe the liars are the Biden staffers, but here I have to say I don't know.

Finally, she does seem like a very, very weird person. My student was kind of weird too, as I wrote in another comment, predators go for the vulnerable. The Putin thing does rise an alarm. And yet her story can still be true. The Russians can have found her and put her out there because it's true.

This doesn't resolve anything, I know. I just wanted to share some observations.
posted by mumimor at 10:40 AM on April 14 [32 favorites]



This doesn't resolve anything, I know. I just wanted to share some observations.


They're worthwhile observations with nuance, keep em coming. The reality is there isn't a right answer for this, so taking everything as it is and considering the nuance and using critical thinking is probably the best thing you can be doing right now.

We're literally in a worldwide crisis, emotions are elevated worldwide right now. The ability to keep calm and be thoughtful like you have been during all this means you're doing better than most.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:43 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, if she did report it, I don't believe no one can remember it. I don't remember that woman's name and only vaguely what she looked like, but I've never forgotten the incident. And that means someone is lying. I'm inclined to believe the liars are the Biden staffers, but here I have to say I don't know.

Unless I'm mistaken, a number of staffers who worked with her at the time remember her abrupt dismissal/firing and thought it was weird/unexplained. These people wouldn't necessarily know about an assault or a complaint about an assault, but from what I know these staffer jobs are generally very secure and people hang around for a long time, so people remembered that this was odd.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:45 AM on April 14


I'm specifically thinking of Marianne Baker, who was an executive assistant in the office and one of the supervisors to whom Reade says she made a harassment complaint.
posted by mumimor at 10:47 AM on April 14


Yes, her abrupt removal from supervising the interns is notable.
posted by all about eevee at 10:48 AM on April 14


Right, staffers remember that Reade stopped managing people without explanation. But mumimor is correct that Reade says she made formal complaints/reports about stuff to people and all of them deny that happened. So they're either lying (multiple staffers) or that part of it didn't happen.
posted by Justinian at 10:50 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Right, and these sorts of work decisions are made all the time for all sorts of weird reasons. I just thought that was a weird part of the story.
posted by all about eevee at 10:52 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump knows that neither the courts nor the Congress will respond to criminal behavior during his presidency, and he controls the greatest military the world has ever known. Why should we assume he will only govern for another four years?

This is my greatest fear and nothing I've seen assures me it won't happen.
posted by tommasz at 10:56 AM on April 14 [12 favorites]


"I’ve recently decided that the self proclaimed internet leftists who spend their energies taking pot shots at Democrats are not worth arguing with."

I would argue that 'getting out the vote' is the most crucial thing that Democrats can do this (and any) election season. Getting the self-proclaimed leftists to vote for a Democrat is super important.

But arguing with people on the internet as a whole is probably a futile exercise. About anything. Conversations that change peoples minds tend to happen face-to-face, generally among friends. When was the last time a stranger on the internet changed your mind about something you felt passionately about?
posted by el io at 11:04 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


I figured that out a long time ago after deleting my Facebook. I might still blubber about politics online, but I'm not changing the minds of the people I'm arguing with and anyone who agrees with me, well, they probably already sort of did.

Face-to-face political discussions are much more productive, especially because of the massively decreased likelihood of "forgetting there's a real human on the other end of the conversation," which is harder to do when the real human is in front of you and their body language is saying "what the fuck?"

Also, the whole having a face, vocal inflection, and body language all play a part in why we are less charitable in our interpretations online, because we're filling in the vocal inflection and body language subconsciously with whatever we assume it to be.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:08 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


I suppose this is about as thorough of confirmation as I could imagine for my fears that assuming the election goes through and Trump is ousted and doesn't contest it, etc. much of current policy will either continue or get an optics-level cleanup while still continuing largely unabated. After all, we've made this devil's bargain already, so isn't it time for Unity and Bipartisanship and going back to business as usual?

It'd be nice to have some sort of public maneuvering of "We've got predators in our party, you've got predators in your party; let's clear out the predators and then we can get back to fighting over the apocalypse", but as we're seeing above, a significant amount of the party seems to have taken the lesson of "They don't care about predators in the party so long as they're *their* predators" to mean "We need to get predators of our own and we need to back them as full-throatedly as the other side does. Anything less, any calls for better behavior are Russian disinformation campaigns (or treatable as such)"
posted by CrystalDave at 11:09 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


They're unfortunately treatable as such because very real problems and divisions among our party does not mean foreign actors are not taking advantage of that to sew even more discord. As sad as that is to admit, we cannot ignore it. We don't even have to look to Russia for that, with how lax our laws are, Republicans are surely using their own bot armies to sew discord.

Evidence of that is that nearly everyone in this thread, their biggest fear is no elections and a Trump permanence, a new Republican Empire with a fool at the helm. I say nearly because I can't speak for everyone, but I know several who have made it clear, on both sides of this division, the centrists and the progressives. We're bound by this fear, and we should know that.

All of us thinks our choice was the only one who could beat Trump. That's because we're all scared shitless, and for good fucking reason.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:11 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


I would say that seeing much discourse on the internet has actually very effectively changed my mind, but it was rooted around things like anger at systems and institutions (yes, the democratic party is an institution!), policies that stand to improve people's lives, and hope for a better future.

It was not rooted around intensifying "yall better line the fuck up or else we'll get 4 more years of republicans!!!" fear mongering, which I had already internalized as a Politically Engaged D-Voting Person, and still hold onto somewhat, but know that it's historically NOT an effective mechanism for capturing the hearts and minds of the masses.
posted by windbox at 11:13 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


If only anyone could have done something and we weren't all finding out about this just now, and at no time earlier
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:15 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Has it ever been any different for nonwhite nonmale noncis nonstraight people?

I'm an ex-pat American-Canadian whose last state of residence was New York so my ballot never really matters and I'm generally an outsider. But I do consistently vote for the party of John F. Kennedy and William J. Clinton, so I can't say a track record on Presidents-who-don't-assault-women has been my primary consideration.

Which does, yes, make me immeasurably sad.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:16 AM on April 14 [10 favorites]


This doesn't resolve anything, I know. I just wanted to share some observations.

The NYT, Washington Post and AP all took 2-3 weeks to carefully investigate this. All of them have landed on "can't really be sure if this happened or not, strong facts pointing in both directions." USians really hate ambiguity but that seems like a solid take to me. I certainly respect it more than outlets such as Vox, Vanity Fair, etc. that are "reporting on the reporting" in outraged tones yet are chickening out from investigating or making conclusions of their own about the actual facts.

As Dean Baquet wrote in that NYT explainer:
"Sometimes I think it is OK to tell readers they have to make their own judgment. I understand that people want simple answers, but in my experience editing stories like this, sometimes there aren’t simple answers and sometimes you just have to figure that the reader is sophisticated, thoughtful, will read it, weigh it and make his or her own judgment.”
posted by msalt at 11:30 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


If only anyone could have done something and we weren't all finding out about this just now, and at no time earlier

A lot of people will no doubt find it super depressing/angermaking but I don't think the outcome of the primary would have changed more than extremely marginally?
posted by Justinian at 11:31 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


One thing to keep in mind , especially when comparing this to the reporting of Dr. Ford's allegations in the Kavanaugh case, is that the reporters for the NYT, WP, AP etc. have all spoken to both Reade and Ford in person. They had the ability to gauge their credibility in a way we can't.

In fact, the same NYT reporters spoke to Reade a year ago when she made her earlier allegation. It's very likely they asked many of the same questions, and asked about other incidents. Their reporting reflects their judgment of her credibility.
posted by msalt at 11:34 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


They're unfortunately treatable as such because very real problems and divisions among our party does not mean foreign actors are not taking advantage of that to sew even more discord.
I mean, a large divisive push of "ignore what we previously said about caring about sexual assault, you need to vote for more Clarence Thomas & less Brett Kavanaugh" also feels like it could be categorized in these terms. What better way to spread division than to say that everybody else is spreading division?
posted by CrystalDave at 11:38 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Baquet also said they changed their wording because the Biden campaign didn't think it was fair, so I'd be leery about building an argument around his neutrality.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:41 AM on April 14 [13 favorites]


That we, as a people, are held captive by two corporate owned parties, one pure evil and the other evil generally out of incompetence, and have no other real choice but complete sociopath A and shitheel B is, perhaps, just maybe, a sign that our democracy is dead in the water and has been for a long time.

That people are berating each other about HAVING to vote one way or else they are responsible for destroying the country is a sign, perhaps, just maybe, that many people don't really want a democracy.

Re: Biden's support among African-Americans:
The handful of articles that I've read (mostly by African-American journalists/writers) suggest that 1) his support was much stronger among older African-Americans than younger (where he was often edged out by Sanders) and 2) this support was largely due to a pragmatic belief among African-Americans that, when it comes time to put up or shut up, white people will not vote against their own economic interests and privilege to support someone like a Sanders or Warren.

Also, despite the rhetoric here about privileged leftists or whomever abrogating their responsibilities by not voting, non-voters tend to be poor, non-white, often young, and those who feel that both parties have betrayed them so their vote is meaningless anyway. Those are the people that Biden needs to reach -- not some mythical horde of Twitter-posting Bernie Bros -- and its those people that he's least likely to engage, whereas a Warren or Sanders campaign would have been able to do so.

Do people think Elizabeth Warren endorsed (even as far as she did) Biden because of her...centrism? Extreme support of corporations? Hey, what if the entire rest of the field had dropped out and endorsed Warren?

But why would they? I thought the primaries were going to be a horse-race between Sanders & Warren, but for various reasons, she didn't perform well. Sander, otoh, did pretty well, so Bloomberg entered the race; Warren deftly took him out, but then, instead of targeting Biden for the *exact same reasons as she targeted Bloomberg*, she didn't engage with his record of sexual creepiness or corporate shillery.

The one thing that (for me) would make Biden tolerable was if Warren was his VP, but then how does she pivot from her progressive policies and calling out sexual abuse to toe the line for him? What does she say when she's asked to explain her silence, or even to defend him?
[one sentence deleted]
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:55 AM on April 14 [16 favorites]


Their reporting reflects their judgment of her credibility.

I largely agree, but to play Devil's Advocate here in respect to sexual assault allegations against a Very Important Man and specifically the New York Times.

I brought this up in the last thread about Reade, too, when people claimed we shouldn't talk about it because NYT hadn't run a story and we shouldn't trust The Intercept:

At least one former NYT reporter claims pressure from Weinstein killed a previous story that would have revealed him as a sexual predator far earler, in 2004. I have not been able to find any corroborating evidence for Waxman's story, so its reasonable to take it with a grain of salt. However, it seems fairly reasonable to me, as evidence by the amount of effort Weinstein went through to keep this all secret. It certainly falls in line with his other behavior and abuse of his position.

That being said, if we take her at her word, that really calls the credibility of at the very least the New York Times into question when it comes to sexual assault cases against Very Important Men. Especially when those men can call in the likes of Matt Damon to apply pressure. I wonder what other Very Important Men Biden could all in to pressure the NYT?

Political power and pressure wielded against newspapers is a real thing. It's the reason the NYT also sat on the NSA story in '04-05 only to finally release it on 2007.

So let's not pretend it's impossible and these stories are their full 100% unredacted accuracy.

Especially with that super weird stealth edit already done to the story.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:56 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


"Their reporting reflects their judgment of her credibility."

Well, I certainly don't trust the police in their judgement of the credibility of rape cases; I'm not sure how much I'd trust a reporter - there are plenty of things that victims do that reduce their credibility even when the core of their allegation is correct. This is true for all victims of all crimes; our memories are fallible; which isn't to say that the core truth of the allegation is in question, but often times details get misremembered (I'm speaking from personal experience in this).
posted by el io at 11:58 AM on April 14 [7 favorites]


How can I possibly vote for Biden when I've expressed such profound disappointment in my religious family for supporting Trump?

This frustration is absolutely understandable, but for me, the answer is that the other guy is a literal fascist in addition to being a rapist. Joe Biden is a creep, but if we don’t vote for him, there will be more children in cages and worse.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:05 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


if you trust the nyt for anything beyond maybe the weather, you're a mark. they've shown us repeatedly since 2002 or so whose side they're on
posted by entropicamericana at 12:07 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


How can I possibly vote for Biden when I've expressed such profound disappointment in my religious family for supporting Trump?

This frustration is absolutely understandable, but for me, the answer is that the other guy is a literal fascist in addition to being a rapist. Joe Biden is a creep, but if we don’t vote for him, there will be more children in cages and worse.


From what I've seen, a lot of the folks stanning for Biden here had Warren as their first pick, so qxntpqbbbqxl and others aren't being disingenuous, I don't think. I think y'all are very aware of how he falls short of your wishes, you just manage to stomach it a little easier than Sanders voters currently can.

Well, as a Sanders voter. Sanders can stomach it, and if I want to emulate that guy because I think he's a class act, I should learn to stomach it for a less worse future for all, just like him. He's spent thirty years working with people who must digust him in many ways. He finds ways to do it. So can we.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:09 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Our hearts have always been broken, always, always, always. We have learned not to look to politicians to mend our hearts. I envy those of you who do.

Thank you, yes. This a million times.

I assume that if I’m voting for a man over the age of 50, the odds are 3/4 that I am voting for someone who has violated consent in a way I’m not comfortable with at some point in his life. I have never not had that option. These are the odds. I find it very unlikely that people in power with more opportunities will be less likely to abuse that power - quite the contrary.

I implore you, those of you in swing states, not to lean hard into accelerationism and just vote this year for the person less likely to literally kill us all.
posted by corb at 12:12 PM on April 14 [46 favorites]


When Obama was elected in 2008, how many hated Republican policies did he bring to a swift end? Gitmo is still there, he extended portions of the Patriot Act, expanded drone strikes, generally worked to increase the power of the imperial presidency...

Sure, things would have been worse with McCain or Romney, and Obama was often working against a hostile legislature, but I think holding out hope that Biden suddenly reverses course on all of Trump's abuses is a bit... unrealistic. I, for one, am not super confident that all those kids in cages will be released and reunited with their families -- just that we'll stop hearing about them. Has Biden made explicit promises about these or other issues? (I honestly don't know; I've missed them if he has.) What *really* can we expect, besides "not Trump"?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:17 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


I am a Sanders voter. Or at least I was, because it’s not an option any more. To me, four more years of Trump is incompatible with a future worth living in.

I guess my point is that I’m going to vote for Biden even though I think he probably did this because the alternative is so so much worse and there’s nobody better to vote for. But I’m not going to defend him, and I’m not going to attack his accuser.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:18 PM on April 14 [16 favorites]


What *really* can we expect, besides "not Trump"?
What about not dying in a pandemic because the administration are clueless?
What about signing up for global cooperation on climate change?
What about an improvement, if incremental, on health care?
What about a better economy (the economy always improves with Democratic presidents and always sinks with Republicans).
posted by mumimor at 12:21 PM on April 14 [25 favorites]


a lot of the folks stanning for Biden here

I see literally nobody in this thread "stanning" for Biden. I see a lot of people describing Biden as the harm reduction option we have, regardless of how much we dislike him. It would be awesome if the Bernie crew would dial back their reflexive urge to paint anyone who didn't support their candidate as obviously being in love with Biden.
posted by tocts at 12:22 PM on April 14 [47 favorites]


Well, I certainly don't trust the police in their judgement of the credibility of rape cases; I'm not sure how much I'd trust a reporter

That's true, but unless we talk to somebody ourselves I don't see any way around at least listening to the journalists in their judgments about credibility. The alternative is just, like, not caring about credibility at all.
posted by Justinian at 12:25 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


It would be awesome if the Bernie crew would dial back their reflexive urge to paint anyone who didn't support their candidate as obviously being in love with Biden.

It would be awesome if a huge, diverse group of voters weren't repeatedly smeared as a "crew" or "bros" or whatever else and preemptively branded as the reason for the downfall of the republic.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:26 PM on April 14 [17 favorites]


What about not dying in a pandemic because the administration are clueless?

This, this is the main one. And not just clueless, outright malicious.

What about signing up for global cooperation on climate change?

As has been said before, Joe Biden is better than Trump on climate in the way that driving off a cliff at 45mph is better than driving off at 90mph.

Which sadly, makes the rest of the points moot because the economy isn't going to grow on a dying planet and healthcare will be overwhelmed on a dying planet.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:26 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Rashida Talib is facing a primary opponent. Ed Markey is facing a primary in Massachusetts from Joe Kennedy. Kennedy is ahead of him in fundraising and polling last I heard. Those are two strong progressives facing challenges from Democrats to their right.

I don't know what to say about the Presidential election anymore. I've tactical voted all my life, so voting for Biden wouldn't be a big change. I can't really blame anybody for feeling different. From where I sit, it's a choice of bad or worse. My vote doesn't really matter in the general anyway because if my deep blue state is in contention, Trump is winning by a Reagan-sized landslide. Four years ago I lived in an Obama-Trump state. Democrats will have to make up that vote somehow.

I think focusing energy downballot is probably the best bet. It would be nice to hold the seats progressives currently have and maybe pick up a few new ones.
posted by eagles123 at 12:28 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


As has been said before, Joe Biden is better than Trump on climate in the way that driving off a cliff at 45mph is better than driving off at 90mph.

Obviously, you are right when it comes to Joe Biden's personal understanding of the issues. But unlike Trump, Biden wants to be part of a global society and most of the other big nations want to act against climate change.
posted by mumimor at 12:30 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


[This needs to not become a toxic "supporters of candidate x are all sheeple/jerks" thing, that goes nowhere good. If you want to snipe at enemies, please go elsewhere to do that. If you want to have a reasonably non-toxic discussion with the people who are actually here, great.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:31 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Agreed, and Biden is enough of an adult to listen to the opinions of experts and other nations, comparatively. Sad that I have to qualify that with "enough of an adult" (because we know Biden is an adult) but that's where we are at in US politics.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:34 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


Biden is enough of an adult to listen to the opinions of experts and other nations

i mean, have you seen the videos of him interacting with potential voters on the campaign trail who have legitimate, fact-based concerns?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:42 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Among the many things that I find repellent about Joe Biden is that he chose to run for president in this election.

If he authentically believes in whatever his centrist agenda is: there were half a dozen charismatic, promising, young candidates, including women, people of color, and a gay man who could have championed that agenda.

Such enormous ego to believe that he was the only one who could beat trump. Or perhaps this infernal belief in turn-taking - that he's paid his dues and somehow 'deserves' to be president now. What an ego anyone who makes a real run for president has. But just totally free of self awareness to think he is the best candidate for the Democratic party in this moment. To me this is linked with his public groping and possible assault history. The sense that he has the right to the world, and no matter what he does it is right, is an utterly toxic aspect of the entrenched white male power structure of both political parties.

Voters are generally biased toward incumbents. He had the huge advantage familiarity. He could have used that to support Harris or Buttigeig or one of the other centrists - candidates I personally hated from a policy perspective - but who at least would have likely lived to the end of their terms if elected, and who would have at least represented a demographic improvement over the white boomer man tradition.
posted by latkes at 12:43 PM on April 14 [29 favorites]


mumimor:

Well, the pandemic is *already occurring*, so I don't think Biden can change the past and bring people back to life? But, sure, he'll do a better job... if the next pandemic happens prior to 2024?

What's Biden's past record on climate change? Is he willing to make serious changes? Does he support the Green New Deal, or something like it? Or does he support incremental, market-oriented solutions? (aka: death of the human species)

What improvement on health-care besides lowering the age to enroll in Medicare to 60? Will he change his tune on M4A, or will he continue to support the insurance industry?

What do you mean by "better economy"? Better for whom? Do you mean the Dow will do better? Or do you mean doing something about the massive levels of inequality? Have Democratic presidents in recent memory done a good job to check the abuses of Wall Street? How much did Clinton or Obama do to strengthen our safety net and protect the vulnerable?

What's to hold Biden (or the Democrat establishment) to ANY substantive change? To give any concessions to "the left" after he's elected? Or does everything just get punted down the line for another 4 years?

And if Biden's performance in the first 2 years is lackluster (which is almost a certainty), what happens at the midterms in 2022? And then is 2024 any different, or are we once again forced to accept a terrible candidate because the risks are once again too high? "I know he's not the best choice, but look at who the Republicans are running *this* time!"

To be clear: I'm not just asking these as rhetorical points. I think these are real questions that need to be asked and considered.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:43 PM on April 14 [9 favorites]


i mean, have you seen the videos of him interacting with potential voters on the campaign trail who have legitimate, fact-based concerns?

Oh dear, yes I have. I'm trying to listen to mod advice and be non-toxic and I'm trying be more like Sanders, who has already endorsed Biden. Trust me, I feel aaaaalllll the same things. It's burning me up inside.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:43 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


The problem with the Dems, I think, is that they are focused on controlling the 65 million who voted for Clinton in 2016 and maybe taking away some of Trump's 62 million, rather than engaging the 100 million or so who didn't vote at all. Sanders and Warren, maybe even a milquetoast like Beto O'Rourke could have gotten to some of them; how is Biden going to attract the generally disaffected and disenfranchised?
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:56 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


how is Biden going to attract the generally disaffected and disenfranchised?

Nostalgia for the last time in history that the country had a (relatively) functional government.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:59 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


I honestly don’t know much about what Biden’s stance on any issue happens to be. To me, he’s campaigned like someone who knew the nomination would be his as long as he didn’t say anything too controversial. I’m sure he adheres to the party line so voting for him should bring about some positive change, right?
posted by tommasz at 12:59 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


I’m sure he adheres to the party line so voting for him should bring about some positive change, right?

I think most of us have downgraded our expectations from "positive change" to "survival." (and even survival isn't a sure thing, just.... surer.)
posted by deadaluspark at 1:02 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


rather than engaging the 100 million or so who didn't vote at all

Basing a campaign strategy on engaging people whose primary relevant characteristic is that *they don't vote* is pretty risky. Sanders' big hope was that he would energize a wave of new voters, and he had four years to get them ready--he couldn't get enough of them to vote for him in the primaries to make a difference. Why would it have been different in the general?
posted by skewed at 1:05 PM on April 14 [22 favorites]


Here you go!
posted by all about eevee at 1:05 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, I don't think the US, or the world will have finished dealing with the pandemic in January 2021. Just like Obama inherited the financial crisis, Biden will inherit the pandemic if he is elected. And yes, there will be future disasters where any future administration will need to act. We don't know what they will be, but we do know that the Trump administration has no idea how to handle any disaster.

Like I replied above. I am not impressed by Biden's record on climate change. I know that he will be willing to work with the EU and China, big entities that have green new deal planning and will pressure the US for common standards. Biden will also listen to California and to Democratic politicians in Congress. He is not close to Warren or Sanders on this but he is also not Trump, who is doing some sort of death cult thing.

Biden's worst position is that on healthcare. I don't think he will achieve much, which is sadly in tune with a majority of Americans who are scared of loosing their insurances even though they are being robbed. So yeah, probably not more than an expansion of Medicare. On the other hand, he really moved on gay rights while he was the VP. Outside events may force his hand: I mentioned above that he may have to deal with the pandemic, and that may change his, and his voters' minds.

About the economy: it's complicated. Again, the pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis may take us all in a new direction that we haven't even thought about yet. Clinton and Obama were working in a world that took almost unrestricted capitalism for granted, almost as a natural force. They wanted to make sure that people had jobs, and were less concerned about things you and I worry about, because again, that was how a majority of Americans saw things. I'm not sure that world exists in 9 months. I do know that whatever the circumstances, Democrats have listened to people who knew stuff while Republicans have listened to Laffer since Reagan and still do. Biden isn't the best person to deal with this situation, but I trust he is a lot better than Trump. With Trump, we will surely get a new Great Depression. With Biden, we may get a pale green new deal(-ish) thing, or maybe he, or his team will rise to the occasion.
posted by mumimor at 1:09 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


rather than engaging the 100 million or so who didn't vote at all. Sanders and Warren, maybe even a milquetoast like Beto O'Rourke could have gotten to some of them

Bernie was the best funded candidate this cycle and he made and effort to get his voters to show up in the states with open primaries; they didn’t come. Also add on to this that a lot of minorities and poor people don’t vote in this country because of the Republican strategy of disenfranchising those voters by limiting polling stations, voter ID laws and other games.
posted by interogative mood at 1:11 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


It is worth repeating, over and over, that getting progressive and left-Democrats into the house and senate will also push Biden to the left on pretty much everything. If the house and senate craft a M4A bill and give it to Biden, you think he'll veto it? Not a snowball's chance in hell. The presidency is not everything.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:16 PM on April 14 [33 favorites]


If the house and senate craft a M4A bill and give it to Biden, you think he'll veto it? Not a snowball's chance in hell. The presidency is not everything.

If the Senate crafts a M4A bill, it will be snowing in hell.

Some sort of executive order-invoked action would be litigated to said snowy hell and back, but it is pretty much the only way for anything remotely useful to be moved forward for another generation.
posted by delfin at 1:22 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


One thing that has really struck me about people's reactions to this allegation is, other than in anti-colonial spaces, how much more weight direct individual violence is given compared to systemic proximal violence.

After all, we don't have to allege, wonder, or debate if Biden was a cheerleader for the Iraq War, a devastating and immoral action that has definitively harmed millions of people.

But for whatever reason, that much horror and sorrow inflicted on millions of people mean very little compared to the allegation of one person being discussed here.

How do people reconcile this disparity? Is it because the victim here is a white American woman with a name while the victims of the Iraq war are brown, far away, and nameless?

Is it like the deep personal moral differences that arise from how one thinks about the trolley problem?
posted by Ouverture at 1:24 PM on April 14 [13 favorites]


As I'm reading this thread I'm reminded of the concept of moral injury. I came across the term in the context of how physician "burnout" is more accurately described as moral injury, a term which originated in the setting of war:

The term “moral injury” was first used to describe soldiers’ responses to their actions in war. It represents “perpetrating, failing to prevent, bearing witness to, or learning about acts that transgress deeply held moral beliefs and expectations.” Journalist Diane Silver describes it as “a deep soul wound that pierces a person’s identity, sense of morality, and relationship to society.”

The moral injury of health care is not the offense of killing another human in the context of war. It is being unable to provide high-quality care and healing in the context of health care.


Even though there is so much wrong with the system, and we know we are constantly limited and making choices we don't want to make, etc- We continue to care for patients. We can't just stop because the system sucks. We take care of patients and keep fighting to make the system better.

I feel like voting for Joe Biden gets into this territory. He was not my first or second or nth choice, but now here he is, our candidate. I do not feel good about voting for him. I feel the sting of being hypocritical, of going against my morals. But that won't stop me from voting for him. I just have to sit with the knowledge of how we ended up with such a shit candidate and what can we do in the future to keep fighting for better. Sitting it out and not voting is not an option, for me. My own personal calculus is that the damage from four more years of Trump is greater than the damage I do by voting for a creepy dude like Joe. I don't like it, but I see voting as a duty just as much as my job is. And so I will continue to do it and make the best choices I can in the face of suboptimal conditions and choices. You can't let perfect be the enemy of good (or good enough, or just less bad even if still pretty bad.)

So, I don't know, maybe it would be helpful for some of you to use this framing. Engage in self-care, recognize that supporting someone like this may feel like a bit of moral injury to you, and that you aren't alone in it. You aren't a bad person if you dislike Joe but vote for him anyway. In many ways I think that makes you a well-rounded person with morals and a brain and can see the conflicts and benefits and make peace with it. These are not normal times. And just like how in healthcare during COVID there are even more distasteful choices to be made, and more moral injury to go around, I think voting in the time of Trump is the same. And ya know, I do think it's important to mourn too if you need to. I was pretty despondent about Elizabeth Warren, now a few weeks later the sting has lessened. I'm still unhappy about many things and plan to continue fighting. But I can walk and chew gum at the same time, I can vote for Biden and support him in this election while also supporting more progressive people and doing whatever the hell I can to make sure it's someone better next time.
posted by robotdevil at 1:26 PM on April 14 [22 favorites]


[Folks, to the above about fallback candidates or congressional races etc -- this isn't a general whither-Dems or election-hypotheticals thread, please reel it back.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:26 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


In one sense Biden's personal stance matters very little. I doubt he will veto legislation passed by a hypothetical Democratic Congress.

In another sense it matters a great deal because while in theory a president doesn't write laws they damn sure influence what is written and there's always the bully pulpit to try and influence public opinion.

On the campaign trail Biden has often derided many proposals that are newly popular not just among Democrats but all voters. Legalizing marijuana for example. He's a bit stuck in the past when it comes to what he thinks is possible or desirable.

Basically I think we can expect him to promote the middle to rightward end of the Democratic spectrum, but to sign whatever the Democrats pass through Congress.

I also expect we will depend a lot more on his VP and Cabinet picks to do the public side of things. He's elderly and not very energetic. Back in the before times when he did campaign events you could see he was tired.

I'm hoping he announces his VP pick quickly and that she is a younger women of color who at last leans slightly leftward.

Ouverture the most horrifying thing about empathy is that it seems not just to decline as the number of victims increase but basically just cuts off entirely. It's worse than Stalin said. One death is a tragedy, fifteen or twenty is a statistic.

Also, sadly, we are inured to colonial violence. Oh the US is bombing wedding parties and children again? Nothing new, ho hum.
posted by sotonohito at 1:35 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


I think there's a very human thing of viewing personally inflicted violence differently from institutionally inflicted violence. I say this as someone who cares much more about a politician's policy choices than their personal behaviors. But I do think it's just a very common feeling. There's also something about scale. And the way people with enormous power can create layers in between themselves and the results of their actions. Jeff Bezos isn't personally putting Amazon warehouse workers in close conditions together, nor is he commanding piece workers to assemble electronics in unsafe conditions. And Obama didn't personally go shoot wedding guests. Abstraction and bureaucracy and shell corporations and drones and layers of hierarchy are tools used intentionally, but also create real cognitive confusion and emotional distance - for both the public and for the people causing the harm.
posted by latkes at 1:39 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


I think there's a very human thing of viewing personally inflicted violence differently from institutionally inflicted violence. I say this as someone who cares much more about a politician's policy choices than their personal behaviors. But I do think it's just a very common feeling. There's also something about scale. And the way people with enormous power can create layers in between themselves and the results of their actions. Jeff Bezos isn't personally putting Amazon warehouse workers in close conditions together, nor is he commanding piece workers to assemble electronics in unsafe conditions. And Obama didn't personally go shoot wedding guests. Abstraction and bureaucracy and shell corporations and drones and layers of hierarchy are tools used intentionally, but also create real cognitive confusion and emotional distance - for both the public and for the people causing the harm.

Thank you for the response; yes, you are absolutely right. I am trying to understand it better because it was not how I was raised and it is not something I understand intuitively.
posted by Ouverture at 1:46 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


[Couple deleted; if you want to have a big policy discussion about medicare etc please make a new thread, this thread is about the Biden accusation.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:48 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


After all, we don't have to allege, wonder, or debate if Biden was a cheerleader for the Iraq War, a devastating and immoral action that has definitively harmed millions of people.

But for whatever reason, that much horror and sorrow inflicted on millions of people mean very little compared to the allegation of one person being discussed here.


I think that people can rationalize Biden's vote on the Iraq War as some sort of displaced, misguided patriotism. "He's a good man who wanted to do the right thing for the country, and he made a mistake in a very challenging situation." Sexual assault would be direct evidence that he as an individual is capable of willingly, knowingly committing horrible actions.

Also, what sotonohito and latkes said
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:58 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


rather than engaging the 100 million or so who didn't vote at all. Sanders and Warren, maybe even a milquetoast like Beto O'Rourke could have gotten to some of them; how is Biden going to attract the generally disaffected and disenfranchised?

I truly used to advance this argument myself, but, well...where are these people? Not showing up in the vast majority of primaries, that's for sure.

Weirdly, some people find Biden types reassuring, and he has the Obama halo. Do I think other candidates would've run well against Trump? Yes (obviously). Do I think he can't maintain that vague appeal? No.

People saying there'd be no real policy differences between Trump and basically any D candidate are, I'm sorry to say, reflecting a profound lack of knowledge about the reach of the administrative state, which is essentially in the hands of the president and his appointees. As someone whose work has been directly and repeatedly affected by agency action in the past four years, I can tell you who appoints agency heads matters a whole hell of a lot. Every time you hear about pollution standards being rolled back? That's an agency (or more). Every time you hear about heartless and stupid treatment of student loan borrowers? An agency (or three). Every time you hear about thuggery by ICE? That's an agency, too. Just having agency heads who believe in the legitimacy of the federal government as anything other than an instrument of cruelty and have a vague quantum of competence would be a drastic improvement on the present situation.
posted by praemunire at 2:03 PM on April 14 [40 favorites]


I truly used to advance this argument myself, but, well...where are these people? Not showing up in the vast majority of primaries, that's for sure.

Well, that's sort of my point... The system has profoundly failed the majority of Americans, and there's been very little effort by the Dems to do anything about that. And certainly Obama made better appointments, but let's not forget that however much "better" even a shitty democrat is than an average republican, it was after 8 years of Obama that we got Trump. As much as Trump's election was about racism, he was able to weaponize the very real dissatisfaction of a large part of the population -- enough to get him the electoral vote and convince 100 million people that there wasn't a difference between him and Clinton.

Obviously, the disaffected didn't turn out for Sanders this year the way he'd hoped, or even the way they did in 2016. There are lots of reasons for that, some the fault of the Sanders campaign and some external reasons (but I don't want to get into re-arguing the primaries). But at least part of it is 4 years of being battered by Trump and a feeling that their votes ultimately wouldn't matter.

I have no idea *how* to get those people involved, but it certainly seems like there's little to no effort being made. I'm not saying that the Dems should make non-voters the centerpiece of their campaign, but if the elections are just battles between party loyalists (who will vote blue/red no matter who) and a few wavering swing voters, then what credibility do we have as a democracy? We've just got a false, forced choice between totally terrible and half-terrible, and the body of targeted voters becomes smaller and smaller. Eventually, the edifice will lack all credibility, and it will topple, and it will likely be way worse than what we're facing now.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:28 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Every time you hear about pollution standards being rolled back? That's an agency (or more).

hi, i work in a field and state that is dealing with this and i'm here to tell you it doesn't matter if biden only kills the planet thrice over instead ten times over
posted by entropicamericana at 2:34 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Saxon Kane, with respect you've made 6 of the last 35 comments, with a pretty extreme position, and that has been going on for most of this thread. Maybe take a bit of a break for a while?
posted by msalt at 3:05 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


as others have said, survivors are not a monolith and so i am only speaking for myself here.

as a survivor, it will be very hard for me to hold my nose on biden. it's one of the reasons warren was my #1 - she is someone that i believe i can trust to have never sexually assaulted anyone.

if joe biden wants survivors to vote for him, he needs to make some serious efforts at directly acknowledging, apologizing, and committing to actions to atone for the things he has done. i will not hold my breath.

kanata thank you for speaking up.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:11 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


So, absolutely no one is going to hold him accountable, either, then? Is that where we are now?

Now???

hi, i work in a field and state that is dealing with this and i'm here to tell you it doesn't matter if biden only kills the planet thrice over instead ten times over

Putting aside the merits of that particular claim (I think it matters how many poor black kids get asthma right now even if we ultimately wreck the planet), if you think there aren't direct, measurable effects on vulnerable people of Republican administrative policies that are markedly different from the Democratic policies that preceded them, you're just factually wrong. The tens of thousands of people defrauded by Corinthian College (who, as attendees of for-profit institutions, are much likelier to be poor, women, people of color, and first-gen than attendees of non-profit schools)? Obama's Department of Education set up a process to discharge their student loans. Betsy DeVos undermined that process so badly and with such defiance of the rule of law that a court found her in contempt at one point. There's no reason to think that Biden is going to do anything other than revert to Obama admin policy on this point. This makes a huge difference in the life of vulnerable people, right now.
posted by praemunire at 3:50 PM on April 14 [39 favorites]


"Voting for Biden is like the US missile program bringing in Wernher von Braun, ugly but what choice do we have?"

So, Biden also wants to go to Mars.
posted by clavdivs at 4:00 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Would it be possible to start an independent investigation into Tara Reade's allegations and Joe Biden? What would happen if Tara was found to be credible? Would Biden be unable to be the dem nominee? If Biden isn't the nominee, would it go to the person with the next highest amount of delegates? Who would conduct the investigation?

I believe Tara Reade. She's a very imperfect victim so I seriously, seriously doubt this is politically motivated. Like, if this is some kind of set up, anyone else who didn't have ties to any kinds of opinions about Russia would obviously be better. We all need to let go of this concept of the perfect victim, the perfect crime, the perfect criminal. Biden's legislative track record reads to me a bit like John Wayne Gacey's track record for being a lovable clown to adoring neighborhood children. A little too crafted; a bit too much like a potemkin village (oops!) for my liking.
I mean, plus he's an old white guy centrist, which is practically the least of his problematic issues right now.
posted by erattacorrige at 4:02 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


hi, i work in a field and state that is dealing with this and i'm here to tell you it doesn't matter if biden only kills the planet thrice over instead ten times over

So if not voting for Biden is a half-vote for Trump and Trump is over three times worse, then not voting for Biden is voting for Trump to be twice as bad as Biden at the rate of degradation.
posted by Brian B. at 4:17 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to sacrifice women on the altar of some bullshit reluctance on the part of Democrats to replace their rapist candidate with someone viable against Trump.

As a survivor and a woman, I would prefer everyone do everything in their power to quit fucking infighting in order to defeat the serial rapist and fascist in power whose #1 goal is overthrowing the democracy and #2 goal is to use that power to subjugate anybody who's not a rich, white, cis-male. And when I say that's his goal, I don't mean "well he's a participant in our patriarchial queerphobic white supremacist society and thus every moment he is not trying to tear the system down he's supporting it", I mean if you are not a rich, white, cis-male he literally wants you dead or licking his boots. I mean if you are not a rich, white, cis-male you are literally not a person to him. It is a monstrous, monstrous act of privilege to pretend like there is a viable choice here and if you are feeling sorry for yourself over this then I urge you to re-read what MiraK wrote.

One thing that has really struck me about people's reactions to this allegation is, other than in anti-colonial spaces, how much more weight direct individual violence is given compared to systemic proximal violence.

If you give two shits about systemic oppression then you will do everything needed to get Trump out of office. Period.
posted by schroedinger at 4:18 PM on April 14 [43 favorites]


hi, i work in a field and state that is dealing with this and i'm here to tell you it doesn't matter if biden only kills the planet thrice over instead ten times over

As someone in the field, would you please detail how Obama-era policies were equivalent to Trump-era policies?
posted by schroedinger at 4:20 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


People for whom getting Trump out (and all that represents) is an existential, motivating goal are gonna go out and vote for Biden.

Normatively, I completely agree this should be sufficient. I completely agree about the profound risk Trump poses. I completely think this is a belief that literally any human should have. I think the vast majority of people in this thread basically agree.

Not everyone has this overriding belief. We can argue why. They may have some SERIOUS moral flaws. I want them to vote Trump out. I need to put every effort to convince those people in my life to do so. Democrats as a whole have to do so, whatever your theory as to who these people are.

Why in the good fuck am I, or any other person, being put in the position of having to possibly argue, "this candidate might be a rapist too, but he's a much less repugnant and dangerous rapist than Trump is?" I have to imagine those arguments are going to sound hypocritical and batshit to the average person who somehow isn't already on board with Trump being a world ending threat. I'm so pissed at Democrats who voted our way into this hole when we had a GIANT field of qualified individuals without a whiff of this on them, unlike Uncle Joe who has superclips of handling uncomfortable women.

I've been sexually assaulted! I have so many friends who have been sexually assaulted. I'm going to advocate for Joe Biden with as much passion and cunning as I can muster, and part of me is going to hate myself every step of the way and feel like I'm doing a disservice even if the world for survivors will be better without Trump! This is not purely rational, obviously. Again, I get how a Trump presidency is leagues and leagues worse. But it's a grotesque situation to have to worm myself through, and friends close to me are also having the same reckoning.
posted by The Sock Puppet Sentience Movement at 4:26 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


If Biden isn't the nominee, would it go to the person with the next highest amount of delegates?

In the case of the Democratic party, Biden wouldn't be forced to relinquish the nominee spot. He would have to step aside voluntarily. At the moment he's only the presumptive nominee but he also has 2/3 of the delegates required to win the nomination so it would be up to the voters to block him from here to the convention.

If the voters do block Biden from a majority of delegates the first round of voting will see the delegates vote for their pledged candidate. If there is no majority (i.e. Sanders doesn't sweep the rest) then the delegates become unbound and the superdelegates (elected Democrats, a few elder statespeople, and the entire DNC) become eligible to weigh in. The math becomes 2377 delegates to win and the superdelegates alone can provide a third of that number. They would probably be influential and instrumental to breaking any sort of stalemate. The chance of Bernie winning would be quite low.

We could see unity candidates being floated, there would probably be deals made about the VP and possibly even high level cabinet positions as part of those deals. Anyone would be an option but Warren and Klobuchar would probably have an edge being sitting Senators with pull within their various allies, caucuses, and factions. Buttigieg would face an uphill battle having very few allies on the national stage and would be unlikely to convert even a small minority of Bernie's delegates.

If he does become the nominee and the situation becomes untenable and Biden does step aside, the 350 or so members of the DNC national committee would come together and vote for a new nominee. Anyone would be an option. Bernie would probably not be considered, possibly Warren, possibly a compromise pick like Sherrod Brown, possibly even Bloomberg if the wheeling and dealing became that intense. It would be entirely up to that small group of party leaders to nominate a new candidate.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:27 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


As someone in the field, would you please detail how Obama-era policies were equivalent to Trump-era policies?

less bad but still wholly inadequate to address the realities of the problems—sorry—challenges facing us

for example, someone up there mentioned asthma. you know what is a big part of PM 2.5 emissions, which causes asthma? road dust (brake dust, tire wear). do you know how much electric cars reduce tire wear? i'll give you a hint—it rhymes with "none at all." do you know which demographic groups are more likely to live near freeways?
posted by entropicamericana at 4:29 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


There are a lot of legitimate complaints about Obama. But I'm not sure "didn't ban tires" is one of them.
posted by great_radio at 4:34 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


will happily continue this debate in PMs to stop the derail
posted by entropicamericana at 4:36 PM on April 14


All the folks here who are saying you won't vote for Biden because he's likely a rapist, what are you hoping will happen? What's your goal, your endgame, your ideal scenario?

The is/ought fallacy is going to be the death of us. Literally. We OUGHT to have a better system than being stuck in this nightmare world, choosing between voting for a likely rapist and a man who is proud of raping, murdering, and destroying people. But this IS the system we have. Recognize the difference and act accordingly.

What is your endgame if you don't want to ensure Biden becomes president?
posted by MiraK at 4:36 PM on April 14 [35 favorites]


less bad but still wholly inadequate to address the realities of the problems—sorry—challenges facing us

Having a constant pull towards a downwards trend will give us more time than subsidizing coal plants out of spite.

you know what is a big part of PM 2.5 emissions, which causes asthma? road dust (brake dust, tire wear).

N.B. This is because in the past 20 years PM 2.5 emissions from exhaust has gone from being 85% of PM 2.5 emissions to near zero. Even with the increase in fleet size between 2000 and 2020 the total amount of PM 2.5 emissions including brake wear and tire wear have gone down by about 2/3.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:38 PM on April 14 [13 favorites]


I'm not going to sacrifice women on the altar of some bullshit reluctance on the part of Democrats to replace their rapist candidate with someone viable against Trump.

Sign me up to be sacrificed, please. My sense of moral outrage against Biden is strong, but it's not stronger than my sense of mortal terror if Trump is re-elected.
posted by invincible summer at 4:47 PM on April 14 [34 favorites]


Where Biden literally just called for people to return to work against all reason.

Could you link to this please? I haven't seen it, and Google isn't helping me find it.
posted by invincible summer at 5:48 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Hold the man accountable

How?

Do you mean some legal recourse? How do we do that? Would not his alleged victims would have to do that?

Protest the DNC? He has the nomination. He'd have to withdraw. I see no public shaming mechanism to force him to withdraw. Not after Trump (and Bill Clinton) has demonstrated that most of America doesn't care about electing scum bags and rapists all that much. At this point is there anyone who doesn't accept that Biden is bit of a creeper? I think that was established.

We could just not vote for him. If that's what you mean. And that has other extremely dire consequences. He doesn't currently hold elected office. There is no mechanism there. If we DO elect him then he has the power of the executive that Trump has now set a standard that is a de-facto King and virtually immune.

Even Bernie Sanders has endorsed a known creeper and alleged potential rapist. If he wasn't a point guard able to hold a powerful dude accountable then I doubt anybody outside the power sphere is likely going to.

If somebody has any idea how "we" average Joes and Janes hold this guy accountable, or any power elite, I'm all ears.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 5:55 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


[Again, please recognize this is a thread specifically about the Biden allegations and make an effort to keep the discussion constrained to that territory. Endlessly proceeding into a widening gyre of general political argumentation and relitigation of previous administrations, to the extent that it is necessary to do at all ever, can happen somewhere else at some other time.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:04 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


as others have said, survivors are not a monolith and so i am only speaking for myself here.

as a survivor, it will be very hard for me to hold my nose on biden. it's one of the reasons warren was my #1 - she is someone that i believe i can trust to have never sexually assaulted anyone.

if joe biden wants survivors to vote for him, he needs to make some serious efforts at directly acknowledging, apologizing, and committing to actions to atone for the things he has done. i will not hold my breath.

kanata thank you for speaking up.

posted by lazaruslong

i said i was going to speak only for myself and then promptly fucked that up. first line of third graf should read

if joe biden wants me to vote for him...

sorry my brain isn't working very well

posted by lazaruslong at 6:33 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


The privilege to vote one's conscience; to have a private moral self; to do the right thing instead of the practical thing, when those two things conflict, despite the fact that the world intends to control and dominate every inch of us, including our mind, is a privilege that every subjugated person rightfully holds. Given that, perhaps we should not be so quick to attempt to impose our moral will, but instead, hold space for humility and some amount of deference to the independent thought and independent moral choice of the subjugated individual.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 6:40 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


In 1984 I was campaigning for Jesse Jackson (along with the rest of the progressives in town). Then Jackson made an anti-Semitic comment and we were horrified, but felt he could fix this by apologizing and recognizing the long history of Jewish support against racism in this country that he himself had witnessed during the Civil Rights Movement. We felt he could afford to be honest and do the right thing: it's not like a chance of winning hung in the balance. But he remained defensive, and while we continued to work for him, we understood we supported his platform rather than him.

He was the first in a long line of politicians I was prepared to forgive except they were in no way remorseful. I waited in vain for Biden to show remorse for his treatment of Anita Hill. I waited in vain for him to admit that his general behavior toward women showed a lack of empathy and needed to change. Now this, and I don't even have his platform to support. It's a good thing I have no illusions left.
posted by acrasis at 6:41 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Where Biden literally just called for people to return to work against all reason.

odinsdream, are you referring to the NYT op-ed from yesterday? Cuz that’s not at all what he says. If you’re just repeating inflammatory headlines you’ve read about it, you might want to actually give it a read.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:47 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


My favorite part of Stay At Home so far is helplessly watching the stentorian sniping back-and-forth about the presumptive Democratic nominee when the non-state where I just happen to reside hasn't even had a fucking primary yet, and I can't even go knock on doors.

Just a reminder. More than half of the states, DC, PR, Virgin Islands, and Guam haven't even had a primary yet. Wyoming and Ohio are this very month.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:39 PM on April 14


Would it be possible to start an independent investigation into Tara Reade's allegations and Joe Biden?

That's what the NYT story is. They independently investigated it and presented what they found. There's no reason to think another investigation would find anything different.

I don't know what people mean when they say this should be investigated. It's been investigated by NYT, by WaPo, by oppo teams. And what's there to be found is what's been reported in the NYT and WaPo; Reade's statement, and one or two people that sorta kinda confirm she told them about something that happened at the time, along with a bunch more people who say that a lot of what she said definitely happened didn't happen or at least not the way she said.

Those are the results of multiple independent investigations.
posted by Justinian at 8:16 PM on April 14 [7 favorites]


"Basing a campaign strategy on engaging people whose primary relevant characteristic is that *they don't vote* is pretty risky. Sanders' big hope was that he would energize a wave of new voters, and he had four years to get them ready--he couldn't get enough of them to vote for him in the primaries to make a difference. Why would it have been different in the general?"

My theory on this was: would more people who disliked Sanders hold their noses and vote for him anyways + people that wouldn't have voted at all gone out and voted for him be a greater number than people that would hold their noses and vote for Biden + people that wouldn't have voted at all gone out to vote for him? Personally given this calculus I think Bernie would be a more viable voter than Biden. Maybe not in all elections, but vs Trump, I think so. As it stands I don't think Biden will energize as many non-voters as Bernie would, and I think there a plenty of people who would have voted for a bunch of the candidates will stay home rather than vote for Biden.

To be clear, I think Biden would win, and would vote for him, but I think he's the weaker candidate (although certainly more appealing to moderates). I'd prefer Bernie to Biden (and Warren to both of those guys), but that's not where we are at yet.

I do hope that the next president is the last rapist president of the USA.
posted by el io at 8:16 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


That's basically motivated reasoning, though. It's not exactly a coincidence that you think your preferred candidates would be more electable despite the only data we have saying the opposite?
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on April 14 [2 favorites]


First of all, when it comes to allegations of sexual assualt, BELIEVE WOMEN.

Second of all... "“The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable."

So, "aside from the evidence of sexual harassment, we found no evidence of sexual harassment"?
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:39 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


Those are the results of multiple independent investigations.

No, sorry, the doggerel of ideologically idiosyncratic and profit-motivated media companies do not count as "independent investigations." I mean an actual legal investigation. Reporting raised (one of) the flag of Weinstein's rapeyness to the level of public awareness, but investigation---legal investigations--- got charges brought up against him in a way more meaningful than an indictment by public opinion.
Having been through a rape investigation myself, this would involve the police in the jurisdiction where these events allegedly occurred. Sorry, don't think that's the headquarters of the NYT.
posted by erattacorrige at 8:41 PM on April 14 [4 favorites]


There was a legal investigation of Weinstein because charges could be (and were) brought against him! That's not the case here, and any investigation by Barr&Co would be a politically motivated hit job aimed at maximum political damage with no thought to actual justice. You actually trust these guys to investigate Biden?
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on April 14 [8 favorites]


No, you did not read my comment, and you're spinning my words. Tara Reade needs to file a police report and the police need to do a separate investigation into Joe Biden. Why the hell would any other sitting politician be involved?
The police investigation is the FIRST step before any meaningful legal action could even be potentially brought up, such as charges, because the charges would be made using the data from the police investigation.
posted by erattacorrige at 8:53 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


I support #metoo, the thousands of surprisingly nuanced conversations it has provoked, and the reputational and career losses several high-powered men have suffered as a result. But I do not have one iota of sympathy for Reade.

Trump's administration waited 70 days to act in regard to the plague. In NYC alone, there are now more than 10,000 dead of coronavirus, a number that is so excessive the City is running out of space for all the bodies, so it has been conducting mass burials.

The economy has tanked. According to the International Monetary Fund, we are on track for a dramatic drop in activity unparalleled since the Great Depression. As a small business owner, I can tell you the roll out of assistance for business was so incompetent, millions will likely go under because Trump fiddled. Keep in mind that 98% of all business in New York State is a small business and there is a comparable statistic at the national level.

Trump has negatively impacted the republic and foreign relations in so many legal and illegal ways the mind spins, grows dizzy and then implodes. He is responsible for untold American death and economic loss. Is that not enough to keep us focused?

For all these reasons if Reade is legit — and I do think the timing and the Russian connection make her highly suspect — and she genuinely feels the need to speak her peace now, she is a raging narcissist of history-making proportions, rivaled only by Trump himself. She had 30 years to make a fuss. This is not the time.
posted by Violet Blue at 8:54 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


No, you did not read my comment, and you're spinning my words. Tara Reade needs to file a police report and the police need to do a separate investigation into Joe Biden. Why the hell would any other sitting politician be involved?

I did read your comment, I just don't think you get how the justice system works? Tara Reade did file a police report (a few days ago)... but conspicuously failed to name Joe Biden in it, which is kinda weird. But there won't be a police investigation because even if she named Biden, which she didn't, there is no prosecutable crime alleged. So any investigation would be intrinsically political.

Secondly, Barr isn't a "sitting politician" he's the Attorney General of the United States, head of the justice department, and would be inextricably involved in any federal investigation of Biden. And since there won't be a local investigation, as no prosecutable crime is alleged, any investigation would have to be a federal one.
posted by Justinian at 9:01 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


I would like to distance my comment from Violet Blue's even though they appear in succession, thank you.
posted by Justinian at 9:03 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


she is a raging narcissist of history-making proportions, rivaled only by Trump himself. She had 30 years to make a fuss. This is not the time.
posted by Violet Blue at 8:54 PM on April 14


This is hideous. "Make a fuss"? Right, remind me not to call you next time I've been raped or assaulted.

It's widely known that the chronology for survivors telling their stories is seemingly nonsensical to outside observers. Survivors often never tell their stories; for every 1 person who does, there are hundreds that do not. So unfortunately, courage is often inconvenient.

@justinian: I've been through the whole process myself, including the involved media and all the rest, so thanks please don't tell me that I don't know anything about the legal process. What I did not know is that she refused to file Biden's name in the police report. There's nowhere else to go with it, then.
posted by erattacorrige at 9:04 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


cite for not naming Biden, just uh for a cite if anyone is interested. I'm sure there are other sources.
posted by Justinian at 9:07 PM on April 14


Ohhh you meant the report filed in 1993. She didn't file his name at the time, bc, duh, she was afraid of retaliation. I thought you meant a NEW report.
No, for a new investigation, barring the statute of limitations (not sure what DC's are) expiring, with new witness interviews and an interview with Biden etcetc

Ok edit: she filed a recent report and I'm curious if a previous report was also filed w the police bc I understand she made mention of it to colleagues. But I would not blame her if she didn't file an initial report ages ago; that sort of immediacy during a time of upheaval and trauma is uncommon
posted by erattacorrige at 9:10 PM on April 14


No you were right the first time; she filed a new report this week about the alleged 1993 incident, not a report from 1993. The article is kinda weirdly worded but you had it correct.
posted by Justinian at 9:12 PM on April 14


Ok. Well speaking for myself this has shown me who really has the back of survivors and who doesn't. Other survivors can make their own decisions. I'll never mention being abused again to anyone. Don't want to make a fuss!
posted by kanata at 9:28 PM on April 14 [14 favorites]


Kanata, FWW, I got your back. I'm swords out.
posted by erattacorrige at 9:37 PM on April 14 [5 favorites]


and my axe. thank you again.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:42 PM on April 14 [3 favorites]


is it crazy to say yes, we believe women generally, given all the social and cultural history involved, but maybe not necessarily always when the accusation is highly aligned with the interests of the most savvy and destructive political propaganda machine--the american far-right--since the 1940s? a machine that is designed to end american democracy? in a pivotal election year?

can we hold those two thoughts at the same time?
posted by wibari at 11:19 PM on April 14 [11 favorites]


hi, i work in a field and state that is dealing with this and i'm here to tell you it doesn't matter if biden only kills the planet thrice over instead ten times over

Hi, I live in a city that is already being impacted by sea level rise. Please don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Slowing our emissions less than necessary still saves more lives and more heartache than continuing apace. Call it flattening the curve if you like. The destination still sucks, but by traveling more slowly we can better prepare.
posted by wierdo at 11:25 PM on April 14 [29 favorites]


Plus there's the whole "maybe the horse will learn to sing" aspect of climate plans which stretch out the problem rather than halt it. If you're set to be executed, it's not unreasonable to prefer it to be in a year rather than tomorrow morning because who knows what might happen in the meantime. And that's leaving aside the whole gotta-get-the-senate-to-pass-it thing with more ambitious plans.

In any case, re: the topic of this post... it's amazing how much the pandemic is changing the nature of the news cycle and election. Because while we're talking about this a lot here, and other Very Online places are doing the same, it isn't a significant topic on the teevee news and the NYT/WaPo main stories are basically it for mainstream press, and that will likely continue to be the case unless more news breaks. Even Fox News isn't running with it and they never met a damaging story they didn't like?
posted by Justinian at 3:30 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


This is all so terribly sad. My mother suffered assault and abuse as a young girl and during marriage. From a very young age I witnessed how gendered violence and intimidation are reinforced across generations, how it intersects with & is propped up by institutional misogyny and racial resentment. How it fucks people up. How coping becomes dysfunction, how power becomes corruption, how loyalty becomes betrayal. Can there be forgiveness? Can there be atonement? But what is mercy without the power to mete out terrible punishment in the first place? And what justifies asking the powerless to, yet again, relinquish the fiery sword of justice? But if this is war, is this the right battle? And what will he do next time? I have no answers. Our hearts have always been broken, always, always, always. ❤ MiraK
posted by dmh at 3:54 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Oh, great, here come the people saying what the ideal behavior for a victim of sexual assault is, and if she doesn't follow that rulebook, then she must be a raging narcissist. Amazing.

I'm not a fan of bringing too much of my personal history into this thread but I feel like it keeps on getting more and more relevant. My sexual assaults were at the hands of my ex husband. His ingrained misogyny and consequent sexual entitlement aside, he's a pretty great guy. Good dad! (Take my word for it, please. Rapists aren't literal monsters. They're complicated human beings. That's the experience of MOST victims of rape.)

Faced between the two evils of having to co-parent with my rapist vs. taking the kids' dad away from them, I picked the lesser evil. I didn't go to the police, I didn't seek full custody on the basis of the abuse he committed against me. I co-parent with my rapist. Because he really is a good dad, and my kids need him, and we share custody, there is active relationship-building from my end. God knows he won't do it, so I do, because the greater evil is that the kids have warring parents, not amicably divorced ones. I'm choosing the lesser evil over and over again, every day. I can neither forgive this guy nor hate him in peace.

Voting for another halfway-decent rapist in order to stop Trump is therefore a no-brainer for me, in comparison to the everyday reality of my life. That's point #1.

Point #2 is, I didn't fucking go to the police, did I!! I have done the opposite of everything in the Rulebook for Rape Victims. If years from now I do finally feel free to start talking about my story publicly with my real name attached - because my kids are old enough to know it and process it maturely - who of you are going to be screeching that I'm a raging narcissist, because I waited for the opportune moment, because I never went to the police? Perhaps you'll call me mendacious and calculating for holding off until the precise moment when my potential losses are minimized and my rapist has no hope of mounting a reasonable defense?

The truth about rape is never do simple as some folks want to think. We all have a lifetime of cultural training telling us to focus on the accuser - the victim - and scrutinize her actions, but folks, RESIST THE TEMPTATION.

Let's talk about Biden.
posted by MiraK at 4:08 AM on April 15 [37 favorites]


Oh MiraK, I didn't know how similar our stories are.

I had decided to stay away from this thread because it was very bad for my anxiety, but then I listened to this interview with Reade, and felt I had to post it here. (Was it maybe in the deleted post?) IMO, it confirms my thoughts about this. I believe her. I did already, but there is so much in there that I can recognize, not so much from my own experience, but from those of the students I have mentioned in this thread, and other young women who have been victimized by powerful older men and confided in me.
Reade is a complicated person, as we all are, each in our own way. It just doesn't matter. You don't get to assault people just because they aren't perfect.

I was thinking of writing a bit more about how I heard her, but I'll skip that and just mention one thing: Biden's staff clearly didn't like her, or like her being there, right from the outset. I can understand them. But that sort of gave me an explanation for why they ignored her then and why they pretend it never happened now. I wouldn't handle it that way, but I have seen it happen.
She seems to not understand why, and that is a huge part of her pain.
None of it surprises me, but it does make me sad that we have ended here, with Biden as the candidate.

The thing is, what she really wants is acknowledgment and an apology. If Biden were smart, he'd call her, or even invite her home, and apologize to her, and to Jill, goddamit. Maybe they are scared that she would do a media run, and she probably would. But that would peter out before November if they did it now. Denying what happened and spreading lies is stupid.

I still think the most important thing for the USA and the entire world is that Trump is kicked out. After that get back to eliminating rape culture.
posted by mumimor at 4:58 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


The interview is in the FPP. I'm just overwhelmed, I guess.
posted by mumimor at 4:58 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


We were all certain Amber Heard was telling the truth. She wasn’t.
Since no one else picked up on this weird little drop: no, that is not established at all, and the preponderance of evidence is still against Depp, with nothing pending but a defamation suit against Heard.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:24 AM on April 15 [16 favorites]


Yeah that was a really weird example to pick, so far as I am aware the case is still far from resolved.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]




Good for her. I hope she has a plan to oust Biden soon after he's elected, too, because BOY would I get behind that!!
posted by MiraK at 7:22 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


I have read it. And it is anti-science fantasy.

Your characterization of the NYT op ed is not consistent with having read it.

What you said it was: Joe Biden calling for a return to work against all reason.

What it was: Biden saying nothing exactly what every Dem politician right now is saying -- that we need a responsible plan for returning to work once it is safe, and that we need to follow the science on when it is safe.

Biden is the most recent example in a long and rarely-broken line of thanks I hate it Democratic candidates, and he's done some horrible things. Suggesting we return to work right now isn't one of them. That's what Trump is doing, and creating a false equivalency to promote your view is undermining to the views of other women, other survivors, who don't happen to agree with you.

In 2020-2024, a lot more women will get hurt with Trump in office than with a Democratic administration -- even one with a rapist as the titular head of it. You can cut the head off of a Democratic administration. I'm not so sure you can do that with a Trump administration; you basically have to burn the whole body.
posted by invincible summer at 7:47 AM on April 15 [19 favorites]


Look, the way I see it, we have two choices: 1) vote for the guy with one rape allegation who is too handsy with women and tried (in my opinion unsuccessfully) to apologize for being gropey, or 2) vote for the guy with multiple rape allegations who brags and laughs about how he enjoys abusing women (I mean, there's a whole wikipedia page of Donald Trump sexual misconduct allegations).

This is not a choice we should be being asked to make, but here we are.

Other possibilities:

- Not voting. I'm one of those who feel that not voting for one equals voting for the other, and that anyone trying to convince you not to vote is most interested in taking away democracy entirely, so that's a non-starter for me.

- Convincing the democratic party that Biden needs to be dropped and the primary needs a do-over, preferably by mail, and preferably every state on the same day so everyone actually gets a meaningful vote. So maybe this is possible? But there's no groundswell of complaints yet, so I don't see this as ever happening (but I desperately wish it would).

So that puts us back at voting for the guy with one rape allegation, or the guy with multiple allegations and whatever the opposite of remorse is.
posted by antinomia at 7:59 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


The angle for Warren’s endorsement video is interesting. It’s all about Joe’s empathy. With lots of videos of him... hugging and being touchy-feely with men and women. It kinda feels like trying to put a positive spin on this shit. Look, he’s just empathetic! All the touchy stuff is fiiiiiiiiine

I love Liz Warren but I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one
posted by robotdevil at 8:11 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


I'm honestly shocked that more people aren't commenting that the reason Reade would say something now and not thirty years ago is that it was a very different environment then and few would have cared about her then.

I remember 20 years ago, having a friend who was touched on the genitals while passed out. It's shocking for me to even type that and think about, because it would be a righteous crusade now, but twenty years ago, when it happened, I was outraged on her behalf, but what I was upset about was not that she was nonconsensually touched on the genitals, but that it happened while she was passed out so she couldn't fight. I - like her, like a lot of women at the time - accepted that men would constantly try to grab our genitals and that was like the fucking way of the world. That we couldn't go on a date without some dude trying to stick his hand down our pants at inappropriate times. It's why I wore pants for most of my twenties, because it was harder to get access to than a skirt. We just accepted the bullshit that we couldn't go to a man's room alone without him trying to flash us, or suddenly putting on porn and masturbating. That the act of being alone with a man meant that there was a 50/50 chance that he would "try something". I have /lost count/ of the number of times I have been nonconsensually masturbated to, much less nonconsensually grabbed, and it would take /actual effort/ for me to even try to recall the ballpark, much less the individual incidents. And all the things I remember are /nothing/ compared to what women my mother's age talk about.

It's good and right and just that people care now, but I assure you that a metric fuckload of people did not back then. Men felt entitled to use women's bodies. Even the 'nice ones'.

Which is I guess why I just feel exhausted about this. It happened so much. When I vote for a man of that era I just assume they've been shitty with women. So many have. So very, very many have.
posted by corb at 8:28 AM on April 15 [20 favorites]


I want to thank survivors for speaking up and those standing up for survivors as well.

Whether you do or don't vote for Joe Biden, you can try to discuss this with regard for survivors and how painful this situation is without minimizing the accusations or even the timing of them coming up the same way the republicans saw accusations against Trump. If that's how you see this, then at least stop judging the Trump voters for doing so. And if that doesn't feel right, then grapple with that rather than excusing it.

Men in leadership are often abusers or have violated boundaries is some uncomfortable way. We need to stand up to this more and the uncomfortable part is that we need to have the same standard for doing so to people on "our" team (whatever you count that as) as we do for judging others when they do the same. Abuse is embedded in our culture and these issues are hard and painful. We need to do better standing up for survivors within our own parties and groups and not just point fingers at others. I feel like it's been bizarre how accepted Bill Clinton remained by the democratic party, and all the crap that has been tolerated when it's "our" side doing it (as mentioned up thread the horrifying democratic managed immigrant policies that were ignored until Trump did them?). I've been tolerating that males in power are likely to have been abusers or consent violators for a long time, even those in progessive/leftist circles. Sure I'll vote for Biden, I've been enduring this shit long enough, it's not like I want to let Trump win.

But I do think we need to start changing our conversations around this and the level of ease with which we brush aside such accusations if it's someone on our team, unless we're willing to also have some sort of understanding that is part of what happens for people on other political "teams" excusing and accepting their shitty leaders.

Whatever arguments you want to make for or against tolerating Biden--- I do believe you can put regard for survivors and advocates and that these concerns are very valid.
posted by xarnop at 8:30 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


My dilemma is how can I weigh the credibility of Reade’s accusations without considering her character and possible motivations without also considering the fact that abusers use character assassination to escape justice?
posted by interogative mood at 8:30 AM on April 15


Nathan J Robinson: "WOW. @AOC deserves significant props for being the first prominent national Democrat to call out the rest of her party for turning a blind eye to Tara Reade’s allegations. Shameful that so few have basic consistent principles like this. Hope others follow her lead."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:30 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


I still think the most important thing for the USA and the entire world is that Trump is kicked out. After that get back to eliminating rape culture.

I guess I'm confused as to why Biden wouldn't undergo a police investigation before the November elections. I don't see why anyone should wait on this bit; is he somehow entitled to special treatment bc of his former/current political status? He should be investigated like the common criminal that he is. It's true that Tara Reade is not the perfect victim and decided to go to the police to file a report about this assault 27 years later, but now that that's the case, it should be treated like an ordinary crime.
Turning this case over to those with the authority to investigate it and who have the working knowledge of how to deal with crimes professionally doesn't have to be "character assassination". People are investigating by the police all the time; many of whom are innocent, but putting this ball in the court of the correct purveyors would put an end to this greater-evil-lesser-evil-deal-with-lesser-rapist-later bananas calculation. If he's guilty, he will have to deal with the legal repercussions of that (if there even are any...sexual assault charges are notorious for getting lax sentencing) and we can deal with a different Democratic nominee. If he's innocent, then we can all vote for this old white geezer and free up our brains to wrestle with all the other ways this is causing us cognitive dissonance.
posted by erattacorrige at 8:37 AM on April 15


Nobody needs to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations. Believe victims. End of story.

The hard part is then to sit on our hands and shut up even though we do believe Tara Reid. Even though Biden is a rapist, voting Trump out is paramount. Top priority. A very close second is voting the GOP out the the presidency. (I break this up into two separate priorities because even if Trump manages to die between now and the election, whoever comes to power will be almost as bad. The same administration, the same agency heads, the same threat against the Supreme Court.) The 2016 election result was the start of the apocalypse, and if the GOP wins the presidency again, the dystopia is cemented for the rest of our lives.

No other consideration can exist in this election. We can't afford to weaken our faith in our democratic processes any more than it's already been weakened by Trump, which means, no ousting Biden now and installing someone else before the election in an unprecedented subversion of the primary process. We can't afford to weaken our nominee's chances against Trump, which means, no talking about Biden's multitude of disqualifying attributes. We drive this rapist car to the finish line, because the alternative is literally death.

The minute we're home safe, the minute we avert the re-election of Trump, that's when we give voice to our anger against our "own" rapist, that's when we demand our justice and oust Biden.

...Or is it? Because as I type this now, it occurs to me that perhaps after the election, the top priority becomes holding Trump and his administration accountable. Due process MUST be enacted against this evil regime. We can't agitate against Joe Biden while not caring that Donald Trump walks free - what a perversion of justice that would be! Even after the election, I think we're going to have to keep swallowing our disgust at Biden-the-rapist because forcing Biden to bring Trump takes precedence over forcing Biden to step down. Priorities.

In the end, this is the another ransom the Trump presidency has extracted from us all. The cost of electing him includes all of these things: vote for a different rapist now, and judge this other rapist on whether or not he brings Trump to justice rather than on the fact that he's a rapist. That's what takes precedence.

Melissa McEwan once wrote a viral article on her blog that was titled something like "The Terrible Bargain That We Have Regretfully Struck". The article is about something else entirely, but that sentence encapsculates our position. This is the terrible bargain that we have to regretfully strike: to know that Biden is a rapist, and to set that aside to deal with a monumentally more urgent and more deadly evil.

is he somehow entitled to special treatment bc of his former/current political status?

No, we just have FAR bigger fish to fry.
posted by MiraK at 8:39 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


> I guess I'm confused as to why Biden wouldn't undergo a police investigation before the November elections.

@ReadeAlexandra: Thank you to the brave journalists @ryangrim @kthalps @RichMcHugh and And luminaries that have stood by me @SusanSarandon @johncusack @rosemcgowan I filed a police report for safety reasons only. All crim stats beyond limitations. Gratitude for all who have stood by me.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:41 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


My dilemma is how can I weigh the credibility of Reade’s accusations without considering her character and possible motivations without also considering the fact that abusers use character assassination to escape justice?

The sad truth about this is that while this MAY hurt Biden's presidential chances (or may not, who knows, apparently America loves a rapist; many have been rapidly supporting the current Rapist In Chief), it's by and large going to absolutely obliterate Tara Reade's chances of ever having a normal life again. I'm sure she's already received tons of death threats, people denying her experience is incredibly painful, and now she's famous and notorious and that will follow her forever. She doesn't stand to gain anything from this personally aside from the potential for justice, but she does stand to lose literally everything in her life.

We've seen that America will elect rapists, and proudly. Honestly, this might just make Joe even more popular, but I don't think it will have sort of character assassination impact that people are biting their nails over, bc the general American public doesn't care about rapists.
posted by erattacorrige at 8:43 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


We can't afford to weaken our faith in our democratic processes any more than it's already been weakened

Treating alleged rapists like they're above the law and not subject to legal scrutiny does tons to weaken our democracy IMO.

I'm not saying anything here one way or another about what "we" should do when it comes to the elections, the radioactive comments around that are too much for me.
posted by erattacorrige at 8:46 AM on April 15 [7 favorites]


the general American public doesn't care about rapists.

It really doesn't, and neither does anyone else in the world. It fucking SUCKS. I think all survivors have our own story of the way we make our peace with this reality. Rape is a maudlin, everyday crime. Nobody gives a shit about bringing rapists to justice.

Judith Herman says in her brilliant book, Trauma and Recovery, "Women quickly learn that rape is only a crime in theory; in practice the standard for what constitutes rape is set not at the level of women's experience of violation but just above the level of coercion acceptable to men."

Throughout history there has been no excuse for that... but in this specific instance, there is. If a rapist is the only thing that stands between us and a second Trump term, we gotta ignore his rape. For now. I wish there was a way around it, but there isn't.
posted by MiraK at 8:50 AM on April 15 [16 favorites]


interrogative mood: My dilemma is how can I weigh the credibility of Reade’s accusations without considering her character and possible motivations without also considering the fact that abusers use character assassination to escape justice?

Why would you, or any of us, need to weigh the credibility? Whether it's the truth or not, it's not going to change my actions.

Seeing so many of a certain class of men rise up in righteous anger over this makes me grit my teeth so hard. They would subject all of us to 4 more years of Trump over this, but I wonder what personal risks/costs they have made in their own lives for the sake of victimized women? Have they publicly told off and quit/risked jobs when they heard that a boss or colleague was a victimizer? Even publicly called out and quit hobbies? What about publicly called out and cut off relatives? What about even thoughtful creating the space in their relationships with women so they even have any chance of hearing about men who are victimizers?

If I thought there was even a chance they would the people who have power over them in their lives with the moral courage they act like they are calling for in this case, I would have a lot more hope for the future. In the mean time, I wish they would get off their high horse and focus these energies on holding all the men in their own personal and work circles to the standard they are calling for. That would go a long way to getting us to a future generation of male politicians that aren't rapists.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:50 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


Whether you do or don't vote for Joe Biden, you can try to discuss this with regard for survivors and how painful this situation is without minimizing the accusations or even the timing of them coming up the same way the republicans saw accusations against Trump. If that's how you see this, then at least stop judging the Trump voters for doing so. And if that doesn't feel right, then grapple with that rather than excusing it.

I think that is a valid point. If your only argument against Trump was and is that he is a misogynist and rapist, then you don't have a lot of arguments for Biden. My personal arguments against Trump were and are that he is a criminal, a grifter, a liar, most probably a foreign asset, a hate monger and also that he has no experience within government, which has since been demonstrated to be the problem I thought it would be. It turns out government is hard. I also thought he should serve time for his many crimes, including the rapes.
Biden is in many ways a weak person, he has flaws. Not as many flaws as Trump, but some serious flaws. There are good reasons he never made it to the top candidate before now. But he is undoubtably a patriot, someone who wants to do right, and someone with decades of experience in politics. He can rebuild government and the rule of law in America, and those are the most important tasks right now. The people who back him and who will be in the administration are the best people for real, not a trumpian hoax. And for some reason, a majority of Democratic voters prefer him as their candidate.

I have been trying to write about being alive as a woman back when this happened and I can just feel I can't do it, it's too upsetting. What corb wrote was so brave, and true. That doesn't mean that Tara Reade wasn't assaulted, she was, and I'm sure Biden knew he overstepped. It means that there was a huge grey zone where being a woman was being on permanent alert. Maybe Biden did this dozens of times with success, and thought it was a sexy move. (insert vomit emoji) Times have changed, and I don't see my daughters going through what I went through (and I was someone most men wouldn't come near, because I will fight back, mostly, and they could tell). That's why we should stop electing people from those bad old days, going forward. But now we are here.

Some months ago, a person I work with told me of a horrific sexist thing she had witnessed, which distressed her. Again, the perpetrator was a boomer man. But what shocked my colleague the most was that the other woman in the room hadn't even noticed what happened. To her, it was normal. So as an answer to those who say that America doesn't mind rapists, I think you are right in the sense that many women of a certain age have completely internalized rape culture. After that incident, we've been pointing out to our third colleague every time something happens, and she has become much more alert and outspoken. I think that is the best thing we can do.
posted by mumimor at 9:54 AM on April 15 [7 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren for VP. Then, the day after the inauguration, drop the "V".

What Do Countries With The Best Coronavirus Reponses Have In Common? Women Leaders
posted by kliuless at 10:05 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Please, odinsdream, explain what you think should happen in practical terms, not ideals. Millions have voted for Biden. If he doesn't step down, and he won't, who has the democratic authority to tell him to go? And then what? How shall the Democratic voters elect a new candidate, in a time where there can be no rallies, no debates, and probably no convention?
posted by mumimor at 10:07 AM on April 15 [19 favorites]


Powerful men are to be protected at all costs. It's disgusting.

This also means in the future when conservatives say "Liberals only care about sexual assault when it's not one of their guys, it's all virtue signaling," they will be seen as correct, as seen when many loud voices in #MeToo and Kavanaugh scrambled to delete their posts. And as much as liberals like to try nuanced explanations of things, "Okay actually you're wrong, I did care, but Trump was so bad I cared about that more" isn't going to come off well.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:19 AM on April 15 [11 favorites]


the general American public doesn't care about rapists.

Unless the rapist is black.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:19 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


The Democratic electorate voted for him and want him to be the nominee. Maybe they shouldn't but they did and they do. The DNC can't remove him.
posted by Justinian at 10:27 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


His candidacy should be dead. Figure it the fuck out.

Oh, that's simple. Anyone can do that. /s
posted by mumimor at 10:28 AM on April 15 [9 favorites]


Times have changed, and I don't see my daughters going through what I went through (and I was someone most men wouldn't come near, because I will fight back, mostly, and they could tell).

I'm not old, I don't know your daughters' ages. I'm sorry, I do believe this sort of thing will continue to happen, because I've experienced it personally and first-hand as a young woman. I honestly cannot count the number of times and ways I've been sexually assaulted or violated or harassed. I was doing yoga in the park once and as I was doing downward facing dog a man walked up to me and gave me $5 and said to keep it up. I got fired for telling a boss to stop touching me after experiencing months of sexual harassment. I got two black eyes from someone I was sleeping with who slapped me in the middle of sex- the sex was consensual up until that point. I was the personal assistant to the department chair of my major and he asked me to marry me (he was married already, and old, and I wasn't interested or involved with him in the slightest) when I was doing some routine office cleaning. I was walking down the street in Barcelona and some man slapped my ass and ran away. My shrink made several passes at me until I reported him to his own boss, who pointed out that I needed help paying my tuition money and said he could pull some strings. (This is just the tip of the iceberg of what's happened to me
I know. I can't believe I survived it all either.) Assault comes from top, bottom, sideways, 90°, you name it, sexual assault can and will happen. I'm sorry to put it like this, but saying that men didn't fuck with you because they could somehow tell you'd fight back creates a framework where any woman who doesn't look like she might fight back who's assaulted is then considered someone who, by nature of being one who won't fight back, asked for it. I can promise you that there was nothing about you that determined any level of assault you did or did not endure. By the way, in most cases, I did "fight" back, sometimes and most often at great personal cost to me, because getting people to believe what happened to you is work.
posted by erattacorrige at 10:29 AM on April 15 [12 favorites]


"Okay actually you're wrong, I did care, but Trump was so bad I cared about that more" isn't going to come off well.
This is one of the things I fear, I think. Less in the individual scale, but more that it feels like this particular devil's bargain is baking in the path & tools which let the next Trump back in.

I mean, hell, maybe that really is all the options available and we're walking into the setup for the next crisis because that means we lived long enough for there to be a next crisis.

But if that's the case, can we coordinate so we stop making hollow arguments from morality and stick to Beast vs. the Smiler style "It helps our 51% of the population, so it doesn't matter what happens to the other 49%" cold calculus?
posted by CrystalDave at 10:30 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


mumimor I'm not sure about the actual mechanism, but I'm sure that if Biden did something the Party elites and huge numbers of Democrats really thought was important, made a video declaring that he was a Satanist and pledging eternal loyalty to Hitler or whatever, they'd find a way to get rid of him.

I think they'd have a path to doing that in my hypothetical because the Democratic electorate would largely be in agreement they those things should disqualify him from being our Presidential candidate.

And what's really depressing and the root of this whole argument is that by and large the Democratic electorate does not appear to consider rape to be a disqualifying action for our candidate.

Ultimately it's about the informal agreement among Democrats on what constitutes a fair process. The overwhelming majority of Democrats would consider getting rid of a Satanic Biden to be fair. Apparently only a tiny minority its Democrats consider rape 30 years ago to be fair grounds to get rid of him.

Rape culture in action. And, also, a degree of presentism. I think if there ware allegations that Biden had assaulted someone last week that would create at least a little more widespread outrage. Since his crime was decades ago it seems distant and not as important to the majority of Democrats.

I think it's that realization, that if Biden's crime had been important in the eyes of the majority he would be forced out, that creates so much of the anguish we see in this thread. Because it forces us all to deal with the fact that in the eyes of most Democrats this just isn't really that important.
posted by sotonohito at 11:01 AM on April 15 [14 favorites]


What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in DC?
For the most serious types of sexual assault (first and second degree), the statute of limitations is 15 years. For third- and fourth-degree sexual assault, the statute of limitations is 10 years.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:14 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


I will vote for Joe Biden in November if I must, and then I will cheer on all efforts to impeach Joe Biden two months later, on day two of his administration.

Impeachment is only a remedy for misconduct committed by a president in office.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:18 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


The DNC can't remove him
The DNC has argued and won in court that it is a private Corporation that can do whatever it wants for any reason.

I bet if Biden had a stroke and then started talking about how he was all for M4A with a wealth tax on billionaires the DNC would find a way to get rid of him before November.
posted by Iax at 11:22 AM on April 15 [16 favorites]


A lot of people in this thread seem to think that whether to believe Reade and whether to vote for Biden are the same decision. They are not.

First, I'm surprised that anyone is surprised. Biden has crossed boundaries with women many times in the past. There are numerous videos of him pawing at women and minor girls in public. We knew all this before the primaries. The Lucy Flores article came out over a year ago. We (i.e. Democratic voters) still overwhelmingly voted for him above all others to be the presumptive nominee, because he fit our image of what we consider 'electable'. Bad behavior towards women clearly wasn't a disqualifier in the primaries.

So that's where we are today. This is what we chose. There's no going back. We can vote for Biden, knowing what we know, or we can vote for the infinitely worse Trump, or we can throw our votes away and risk misogynistic right-wing SC justices who will victimize women for decades and more immigrant babies in cages.

The right thing to do is to believe Reade and to vote for Biden in November.
posted by splitpeasoup at 11:38 AM on April 15 [18 favorites]


This also means in the future when conservatives say "Liberals only care about sexual assault when it's not one of their guys, it's all virtue signaling," they will be seen as correct, as seen when many loud voices in #MeToo and Kavanaugh scrambled to delete their posts. And as much as liberals like to try nuanced explanations of things, "Okay actually you're wrong, I did care, but Trump was so bad I cared about that more" isn't going to come off well.

Ok and so?

If it doesn't come off well to Republicans - what else is new? The party is off its rocker.

If it doesn't come off well to Democrats and it motivates them to keep their local game stepped up, support more women in positions of power, and do better at preventing letting us get to such a crappy position in the future - that sounds good to me.

If it doesn't come off well to some group of people on whom nuance is lost (as you stated) - well. I'm guessing many of them don't vote or generally find reasons to vote third party no matter what - the democrats lost them already anyway.

Also I'm not sure who the "many loud voices" in #MeToo that you're talking about consist of, but if I rack my brain I can think of 3 people, including one person who is a celebrity and not really involved in politics at all. They are a red herring and those who want to use them as an excuse will always find some excuse.

And yes, sotonhito, we are seeing rape culture in action. Because we live in rape culture and the Democratic Party is not immune and perhaps this is news to some people.

And what's really depressing and the root of this whole argument is that by and large the Democratic electorate does not appear to consider rape to be a disqualifying action for our candidate.


So, I believe the allegations. But many many people don't. I think if we were in a situation where there had been a rape conviction on the books, "the Democratic electorate" might act differently. But in the absence of that, I think your statement is, well, un-nuanced. The more correct thing to say would be either that "the Democratic electorate does not believe the allegations." Not believing the allegations is in itself problematic, sexist, and self-serving. But it creates the space for democrats to not have to engage in the question of whether it is disqualifying or not.

But the fact is... if the democratic electorate really believed that sexual assault was disqualifying, I'm not sure we could have any male candidates at all. Because really, as others have said, the rate of sexually coercive and violating actions by men is so high, and which man could we really have confidence in, that we could say, no - him - he really never did such a thing? Even in my own life, I can think of only a handful of men that I would confidently say that about - and even then, I wouldn't expect others who don't know them as well as I do to believe that - and even then, if someone did accuse them, I would have to at least reconsider.

As someone who is registered with the Democratic Party and votes and donates on the Working Families line and who thinks of herself as a progressive and who has, like pretty much every other woman, experienced sexual assault, well... I did not vote for Biden in the primary. He was not qualified for me as my nominee choice for any number of reasons even before this came to light. I'm dismayed that he was chosen by so many people over Warren and the other promising candidates. But now that he's the nominee - it's not a disqualifying action for me for him to be president when the other option is Trump. I think there are any number of rapists who would be better presidents than Donald Trump, and I would have voted for them too, if they were the nominee. I will still vote for him. I might not shake his hand, but I will vote for him.

Do I wish we weren't here? Of course I do. Do I sometimes have daydreams about somehow fantastically having President Pelosi or President Warren? YES. But I still need to work with all the democrats who chose Biden, even when they frustrate and infuriate me, and we are still stronger together.

Fantasies about ousting Biden are no more useful than speculative fiction about going back in time and stepping on the right butterfly that would end up with Trump never being president. Maybe they are therapeutic. But if we were in a situation where it could happen, we also would be in a situation where he never would have got this far anyway.

More useful is the work we do going forward to not be in this position again. Of which getting Trump out of office is a vital part.
posted by Salamandrous at 11:42 AM on April 15 [15 favorites]


erattacorrige, I'm so sorry for what you've been through, and also very sorry for how my comment about fighting back came across. I know exactly what you mean, and I hate that, and it wasn't what I meant to say. This is why this thread is so hard. I try to choose my words carefully, and still I make mistakes. I've tried to figure out how to write what I meant, but decided I can't without going into details I don't want to share.
I'm also sorry that this is still going on and that I didn't know. I often talk about this with my daughters, at 27 and 21, and they assure me they have never experienced it. Maybe there is some difference between countries or regions? Or maybe I'm just living in a bubble I've created for my own protection. I mean, rape is still going on everywhere, and women are demeaned and discriminated against all the time, but what you describe aligns with my experiences from the 80's onward. The constant, unrelenting pressure that forms your life in so many little ways.

And for a lot of women, it forms their life so much that they stop noticing. Maybe because it started when they were very young. Or because they are disassociating. Or because their own family have told them it is their own fault when it happens. And they internalize it. So when those women hear Tara Reade's story, they blame her, or think she just has to deal with it, or don't care because that's just life as they know it. And they may vote for Joe Biden. I hate that.

The thing is, that I also believe very strongly in democracy. You can't disenfranchise people because you disagree with them, like so many people here are suggesting. I find it sad that so many Democratic voters have voted for Joe Biden, but that happened. It is absurd to claim that they were secretly controlled by some cabal. Just look at those lines from Wisconsin. They voted for him because they believe he is the person who can oust Trump, regardless of his flaws. Some may disagree, but they are the voters, and they will vote for him again in November.
posted by mumimor at 11:42 AM on April 15 [4 favorites]


I'll just put this back here:
What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in DC?
For the most serious types of sexual assault (first and second degree), the statute of limitations is 15 years. For third- and fourth-degree sexual assault, the statute of limitations is 10 years.

posted by mumimor at 11:51 AM on April 15 [5 favorites]


Sexual assault is a crime. I'm expecting him to be held to account, criminally, and I want the Democratic party to lead that, because I want the party to actually care about victims. Please don't suggest this is a "fantasy." I recognize it's not likely to happen since that actually isn't the Democratic party. But it's not an unrealistic fantasy thing to call for.

Of course this is an unrealistic fantasy thing to call for. Regardless of anything else, it's outside the statute of limitations and therefore not possible to bring criminal charges. You're being absurd.
posted by leslietron at 12:01 PM on April 15 [13 favorites]


I don't think anyone here feels like this is just fine.
posted by all about eevee at 12:22 PM on April 15 [15 favorites]


Odinsdream, I am sorry this is hitting you so hard and so personally, but there is literally no way to do what you want.

There is no way for anyone -- the Democratic party or anyone -- to hold Biden to account criminally for something that happened outside of the statute of limitations. It's not legally possible.

In no way are the people telling you it is not legally possible to do this also saying rape is "fine, then."
posted by invincible summer at 12:23 PM on April 15 [21 favorites]


Of course this is an unrealistic fantasy thing to call for. Regardless of anything else, it's outside the statute of limitations and therefore not possible to bring criminal charges. You're being absurd.

Rude to call wanting this absurd.

It's absurd for us to expect any legal investigation. But now I want an intraparty investigation. We can't just accept, "well, he said it didn't happen, so that's fine then!" We should expect more from "our" party, which could absolutely arrange an investigation (without the expectation for legal consequences, but with the potential for political consequences.)

Man, Americans are so defeatist. We were all, "fuck a dollar and a dream! Spend trillions and decades to get terrorists!" but we refuse to act to do something as simple as check into a credible allegation for someone who is literally inches away from our noses.

Perhaps now is a time to lobby all states to pull an Illinois: "llinois has amended its criminal code in order to remove the statute of limitations on prosecutors filing sexual assault charges. The law previously required that prosecutors commence sexual assault charges within 10 years of the alleged offense. Now, the law simply states that sexual assault charges may be commenced at any time. Advocates for the new law argue that sexual assault victims may have personal reasons why they wait years to tell authorities about their assault." (Source)

@Muminor: Thank you. I'm not upset about what you said; I understand. I'm a childhood sexual abuse survivor (and childhood domestic abuse survivor) so I've been pretty much damned to repetition, statistically speaking, since so many traumatic things happened to me before age 18. (Since statistically, once rape etc happens to you, it's victims are 38% more experience another assault. Compound interest of being a survivor.)
posted by erattacorrige at 12:26 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]


weird how we hold stand-up comedians to higher standards than the potus
posted by entropicamericana at 12:27 PM on April 15 [12 favorites]


In a way, I'm quite proud of MetaFilter in this thread. Almost all commenters believe Tara Reade's account. Almost everyone is appalled by Biden. Most knew he was like that already and didn't support him. It's like a collective grief, where we are all trying to figure out how to move on.
I understand those who are really angry and want something to be done.
For me, the threat of another Trump term overrules all other issues, it really does. Trump has done what Biden has done, times ten or more, and on top of that he is criminal in other ways and criminally incompetent.
posted by mumimor at 12:35 PM on April 15 [23 favorites]


mumimor, that's how I feel exactly. I totally believe Reade, but I don't think there is an option for me except to vote for Biden. I have to do what I can to get Trump out of office.
posted by all about eevee at 12:38 PM on April 15 [9 favorites]


[One deleted. Sorry, let's please not echo hateful rhetoric (eg about who deserves assault or whose assault would matter more, etc), even intending to say it's wrong. It leads to confusion at best. And separately, even though anger and frustration is understandable please keep in mind when you're talking to survivors who are necessarily making their own compromises, and try to rein in the declarations of who doesn't care etc.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:38 PM on April 15 [6 favorites]


The overwhelming majority of Democrats would consider getting rid of a Satanic Biden to be fair. Apparently only a tiny minority its Democrats consider rape 30 years ago to be fair grounds to get rid of him.

It's pathetic, right? Satanism isn't even a crime, it doesn't even harm anyone. But of course this is how it plays out. Men raping women codes as "sex" rather than "violence" for our culture, still. Women are taught to expect men to rape us in the same way that we expect rain to fall. It's always rape season for women. So it's my job to carry an umbrella, not anyone else's job to hunt down a random cloud and bring him to justice just for doing the thing clouds are born to do at a moment that ~happens~ to be inconvenient for me.

Sexual assault is a crime. I'm expecting him to be held to account, criminally,

How on earth can you have this expectation? We have no hope of holding even Donald Trump accountable for his sexual assaults which he bragged about on tape - we live in a world where, far from being brought to justice after that confession, the man got ELECTED PRESIDENT. I have no bread and you're telling me ever so righteously that I should "expect" cake.
posted by MiraK at 12:44 PM on April 15 [28 favorites]


odinsdream - I totally understand where you are coming from. Hang in there.
posted by all about eevee at 1:37 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


I'm just fucking sad okay. Fuck. odinsdream: I'm with you. Sad, and sick. Ugh. it's fucking terrible.
posted by erattacorrige at 1:47 PM on April 15 [7 favorites]


I'm just fucking sad okay. Fuck.

God, I see you and I hear this.

I'm reminded of a quote that I shared here on Metafilter and elsewhere in various discussions on unarmed black men being killed by police officers and concerned citizens and then being found innocent or getting slaps on the wrist. A young black man wrote on Twitter after one of the murderers walked away free: How many times we gotta be told we ain't shit? We get the fucking message.

Looks like the same goddamn thing keeps happening with regard to women. How many times is the system -- political parties, news media, corporations, the criminal justice system -- going to tell them they ain't shit?
posted by lord_wolf at 5:09 PM on April 15 [14 favorites]


I think most Democrats are very skeptical because so many fake scandals have been drummed up by political dirty trixters over the years. I suspect it will take more than an accusation for most Democrats to start calling Biden a rapist as so many here are.
posted by interogative mood at 7:20 PM on April 15


Thanks for rubbing it in, I guess, but it's not news to any of us that nobody believes victims.
posted by MiraK at 7:31 PM on April 15 [6 favorites]


Just for the record, it is absolutely not the case that we only have two choices at this point and it's either Biden or (implicitly) Trump. As #MeToo has shown, dozens of politicians, movie stars, and other important folks can be forced by public pressure to resign within a few days of serious accusations, irrespective of where the legal process currently stands. I'm not saying whether this accusation by itself merits that, but there are most certainly party mechanisms in place for what to do should Biden resign before or after the convention. This recent 538 post discusses replacement mechanisms in detail apropos Covid-19, but they hold just as well should Biden resign from the race for any other reason. Again, I'm not saying it's a good idea based either on the accusations or the repercussions for whoever would replace him, but it's clearly both quite legal and quite doable to change horses now or any time before November. It may be better to choose Biden, but it's not true that he is now the only alternative to Trump.
posted by chortly at 9:25 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]


chortly, of course you are technically correct.
But since it is the voters and not some secret cabal who decide, I think everyone has been doing the math again and again and can see that this would be very difficult, particularly this election year. It's not as if Sanders could just step in, I'm guessing his threshold is in the forties among primary voters if Biden is out, and there isn't an obvious other moderate candidate to replace Biden. Internal pollsters probably have a very good picture of this.
If there could be a convention, it could be sorted out there, and while it would nourish the good old dems in disarray idiocy, the party could go on after that. In this situation, that may not be an option.

Elizabeth Warren, the only Democratic leader who answered Reade, has just endorsed Biden.
posted by mumimor at 12:14 AM on April 16


Huh? The response, ca. 2019, that Tara Reade got from Warren was a form letter. What source is spinning that fact as Warren being the "only Democratic leader who answered Reade"?
posted by polymodus at 1:26 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


What source is spinning that fact as Warren being the "only Democratic leader who answered Reade"?
Reade is, in the interview.
posted by mumimor at 1:35 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


but it's clearly both quite legal and quite doable to change horses now or any time before November

It's legal and not impossible, but it's more or less as doable (barring something additionally monumental happening in the future) as when people were hoping that the electoral college would pick somebody besides Trump after the 2016 election. There was a mechanism for that to happen and it wasn't theoretically impossible but I wouldn't have said it was doable.

With Sanders, Warren, and Obama endorsing him in the span of abour 24 hours Biden's got essentially the entire party apparatus from the furthest left to the most establishment behind him, and he has the backing of the big majority of the rank and file. I just don't see how it's anything but fanfic to seriously posit he won't be the nominee given what we currently know. Again, yes, if the situation changes the analysis could be different, though I think that's super highly unlikely.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


I suppose what I mean is that wondering about the mechanism has it backwards? The issue isn't that there's no mechanism, it's that there's no will among either the party or the voters. You have to move the voters and then the mechanism would be found.
posted by Justinian at 2:13 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


This is an example of the gymnastics we will see if this goes anywhere in the national media: Assessing Tara Reade’s allegations By Ruth Marcus/WaPo.
It's kind of triggering, so don't read if you don't feel you have to.
posted by mumimor at 2:21 AM on April 16


Reade is, in the interview.

I think that's a decontextualized interpretation of Reade's lived experience of the events. In this interview, she cites Warren not to give her organization credit, but in particular to point out that they sent a form letter. It is clear from that passage that Reade thinks both the form letter and the non-responses (like with the other politicians she contacted) materially contributed to her feelings of isolation. I think that's a fairer reading of what Reade was saying.
posted by polymodus at 3:45 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Biden is in many ways a weak person, he has flaws. Not as many flaws as Trump, but some serious flaws. There are good reasons he never made it to the top candidate before now. But he is undoubtably a patriot, someone who wants to do right, and someone with decades of experience in politics. He can rebuild government and the rule of law in America, and those are the most important tasks right now. The people who back him and who will be in the administration are the best people for real, not a trumpian hoax. And for some reason, a majority of Democratic voters prefer him as their candidate.

Let's not forget he has the blood of millions of Iraqis on his hands and was VP while Obama built up the deportation and drone strike/SOCOM war crime machinery that Trump then ramped up to even worse levels.

I'm not sure that makes him "someone who wants to do right" nor do I think that "someone with decades of experience in politics" is inherently a good thing.

My only hope at this point is that the Sanders/Warren coalition can edge out the liberal/neocon alliance in terms of influence in a Biden administration.
posted by Ouverture at 7:12 AM on April 16 [10 favorites]


You also think Obama wasn't someone who wanted to do right and I think that view would be roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the party. Which doesn't make your position wrong necessarily but it's certainly, ah, idiosyncratic.

Back to this post; it's odd that the Reade story is getting at least some coverage in the mainstream paper press but little to none on the television side. My best guess is that's because like a lot of folks they have no idea what to do with it. I realize that many commenters in this thread see it as very important to take the allegations at face value but that's not really how journalists do or should operate and so they're in a difficult position where any kind of significant coverage would mean they'd be doing uncomfortable work questioning an alleged victim's story and they probably don't want to be in that spot in this case.

It can't be as simple as "in the tank for Biden" since they went to town on the Clinton email stuff and that was utter horseshit and insignificant in terms of seriousness compared to this as I think literally everyone here can agree. And it can't be entirely "won't cover sexual misconduct by Democrats as a whole" since we could list a bunch of Democrats where they have done so, and in the recent past.

So there's something specific to television as opposed to print that makes them not want to dig in to this story in particular beyond the most cursory mentions and I'm not sure what it is unless it's just the general discomfort I guessed above.
posted by Justinian at 7:59 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]


You also think Obama wasn't someone who wanted to do right and I think that view would be roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of the party. Which doesn't make your position wrong necessarily but it's certainly, ah, idiosyncratic.
This is only, "ah, idiosyncratic" if the only opinions you consider are privileged American ones who never felt the impact of these policies. Is this the liberal version of "America first"?

When it comes to war crimes and sexual assault, intent is not magic. I don't care if Obama or Biden wanted to do right; I am much more interested in what they actually did and will do.
posted by Ouverture at 8:06 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


This is only, "ah, idiosyncratic" if the only opinions you consider are privileged American ones who never felt the impact of these policies. Is this the liberal version of "America first"?

I think that going into Iraq was a big mistake that wasn't Obama's fault, there were big messes to clean up, abruptly changing situations can cause huge unintended effects. I don't think he made every call correctly but I do believe that almost every decision that he made was at least in good faith to be the ones that he thought were the best available, even if they weren't necessarily right.

Trump may have pulled us almost completely out of the middle east but he completely botched the withdrawl from Iraq and the withdrawl from Syria. I know people wanted us out but we left a complete power vacuum and we left our potential allies in the lurch. We left the Kurds to be slaughtered from all directions.

Blanket anti-imperialism is just like the domestic "government can't do anything right" sentiment. There are certainly things that the US can do as Team America: World Police to make some regions a better place. If we carved out an autonomous Kurdish state from Iraq, made it clear we were going to support them, worked out a border between the Kurds, the Iraqis, and the Turks, got everyone on the same page fighting ISIS I'm sure we would have had a much better place. But those things take time, money, and a fuckton of diplomatic effort and El Donald just threw his hands up and said "fuck it, just kill each other".

That's before you even get to the interconnetedness of all our allies, our domestic politics, and the terrible people that some of them are. For instance, what do you do about Saudi Arabia? Flip them the bird and tell them to come back when they're a liberal democracy? The oil supply dries up and the price soars. Good, right? It's like a giant clean energy incentive! What about the poor of developing nations who will be unable to afford energy, fossil or renewable? What about the urban poor here that will go from on the edge to broke? The slowdown in so many industries that will domino into each other? Russia now has plenty of cash in its coffers. They start to use it to push more of their authoritarian agenda on the world. Destabilization in other countries because of rising energy and food prices along with agitation from other agents working for their own ends promotes further ethnic and sectarian tensions.

Being President isn't a matter of figuring out the good option and doing it because sometimes there aren't good options. It's a continual trolley problem. It's so easy to armchair quarterback "oh I would just do what's the most upstanding thing to do" but the consequences you may not perceive or even think possible may be far worse than sticking to principles. Not to mention those consequences will undoubtedly affect your friends, your political allies, your soul. Plus, now you've got an electorate that's furious at you and a fascist political wing telling everyone that only they can fix your fuck ups. What then?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:58 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


So there's something specific to television as opposed to print that makes them not want to dig in to this story in particular beyond the most cursory mentions and I'm not sure what it is unless it's just the general discomfort I guessed above.

I don't think Tara Reade makes for good TV
posted by mumimor at 10:04 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


If Obama’s foreign policy actions made him a war criminal then there has never been a president in the last eighty years that wasn’t a war criminal. So the norm for US presidents is war crime. And most American voters either do not care or don’t have much choice.

Perhaps the world and the post WWII order and capitalist system we exist within often requires decisions that inevitably end in a US President as a war criminal.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 10:08 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


I think you'd having a hard time arguing that Jimmy Carter was a war criminal.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:24 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure moving from "believe women" to "okay believe women except when their story seems a little shady, I dunno, i'm just saying" to "actually war crimes are fine too" is a great look.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:33 AM on April 16 [12 favorites]


I think you'd having a hard time arguing that Jimmy Carter was a war criminal.

The Carter Administration gave Indonesia $250 million of military aid so that they would "pacify" East Timor in what the Indonesians called the "final solution" via "encirclement and annihilation".
posted by Copronymus at 10:38 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


Why are we all of a sudden talking about war crimes? This thread sure is drifting.
posted by all about eevee at 10:51 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


I think we're talking about war crimes because apparently some of us still think it's possible to be president of USA and also morally upright at the same time. It's making me feel like a wizened old cynic that these kinds of expectations are laughable to me... weird, because I'm super idealistic, really!

But I do not look to the president of USA for moral purity, my god, this is someone who, by merely winning an elected office, assumes personal control over a vast capitalist genocidal machine that terrorizes and subjugates populations the world over, in too many different ways to count - outright military occupation being only one of them. The purest saintliest person on earth could become US president and would unavoidably become a genocidal war criminal -- unless they immediately dismantled the government of the US after taking their oath of office. The machine of the United States is way outside of any one person's control and even outside the control of the most powerful office in the land, and it will do what it does in spite of us all.

It's like The Bank in the Grapes of Wrath:
“Sure, cried the tenant men, but it’s our land…We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours….That’s what makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it."

"We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man."

"Yes, but the bank is only made of men."

"No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”
― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
posted by MiraK at 12:08 PM on April 16 [16 favorites]


It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does,

I will eat my left shoe if that statement is true.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:16 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


I don’t think the Washington Post opinion piece was mental gymnastics.

The writer rejects the rhetoric of believe all victims and seeks to find a way to give the accusations a fair public hearing including the reasons that she has doubts about the truth of the accusations.

It seems to me that one can disagree with the authors take without resorting to accusing them of mental gymnastics.

The notion of believe all victims is controversial among survivors and support groups. Just look at the damage done by Jussie Smollett’s stunt and the blowback to groups that defended him as police started to investigate.
posted by interogative mood at 2:16 PM on April 16 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure moving from "believe women" to "okay believe women except when their story seems a little shady, I dunno, i'm just saying" to "actually war crimes are fine too" is a great look.

Actually, I welcome the honesty and candor here. I sincerely value the discussion in this thread because it outlines the positions leftists will face off with liberals/centrists in the coming years over issues like rape culture, imperialism, and war crimes that I had previously assumed we were in agreement.

It is immensely useful to know where ideologies stand and where (and how) allyship ends.

It's not too dissimilar from the Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
posted by Ouverture at 2:29 PM on April 16 [13 favorites]


The notion of believe all victims is controversial among survivors and support groups. Just look at the damage done by Jussie Smollett’s stunt and the blowback to groups that defended him as police started to investigate.

If you really strictly follow that ethos you'd also have to believe that Senator Richard Blumenthal and former FBI Director Robert Mueller belong in jail. There's also that Warren thing but I think that one was alleged to be consensual? In any case I haven't met anyone who believes any of that stuff had any basis in fact. But once you acknowledge that everyone makes judgment calls, as in those cases, then you have a problem in that you also have to acknowledge that people of goodwill could come to a different conclusion than you did when looking at the same set of facts. Including in the Biden/Reade case.
posted by Justinian at 2:55 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


It's interesting that liberals are suddenly repeating the phrase as "believe all women" to one another now, even though no one had trouble remembering "believe women" before this. "Believe all women" is the "only black lives matter" transformation that conservatives did to "black lives matter" to twist the meaning. In this case from "please, actually believe a given women as your first reaction" becoming the straw man argument that no one is actually trying to assert.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:16 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


I mean, you can see exactly that here in this thread? For example, "Nobody needs to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations. Believe victims. End of story. ". How can you read "nobody needs to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations" as anything except what you're saying nobody is actually trying to assert?
posted by Justinian at 4:01 PM on April 16 [8 favorites]




Is is possible to discuss this without resorting to othering and labeling strangers into centrist/liberals vs the left?
posted by interogative mood at 6:23 PM on April 16 [9 favorites]


[Pressuring Biden to resign is] legal and not impossible, but it's more or less as doable (barring something additionally monumental happening in the future) as when people were hoping that the electoral college would pick somebody besides Trump after the 2016 election. There was a mechanism for that to happen and it wasn't theoretically impossible but I wouldn't have said it was doable... I just don't see how it's anything but fanfic to seriously posit he won't be the nominee given what we currently know... I suppose what I mean is that wondering about the mechanism has it backwards? The issue isn't that there's no mechanism, it's that there's no will among either the party or the voters. You have to move the voters and then the mechanism would be found.

I agree with your last point, but I would distinguish this from electoral college fanfic because the latter would require a titanic coordination among thousands or millions of voters and political elites to happen, which of course is vanishingly unlikely even if there was actually a will to make it happen. But a candidate resigning from a campaign requires just a single actor to take action, and we've seen it happen myriad times before, not just with candidates but with actual elected officials.

"The voters have decided" is the standard defense the accused and their defenders make, but when the accusations are strong enough, "the voters have decided" is often overruled by the social pressure to resign. I think most would agree that if there was a very credible, well-documented accusation of rape (eg, a blue dress), Biden would resign the next day -- it would not be sustainable against the public outcry among Democrats, particularly Democratic women. The party and voters would figure out what to do given the array of options discussed in the 538 piece and elsewhere, just as they do when an elected official abruptly resigns. There's nothing forcing us to stick with Biden, and there's nothing anti-democratic in saying "I'd prefer he resign" and working towards that end, just as one would with any other elected official with credible harassment or rape accusations.

Again, these specific accusations might not amount to enough, but if they did, it's perfectly reasonable to say that he is not our only option and work towards his removal; and if the current evidence seems unlikely to move sufficient Democrats to call for his ouster, that's no more inevitable than it is for any other elected official before they actually resign. I agree it's very unlikely to happen with just this accusation, but that doesn't mean that that's morally right, and I myself would not estimate that further accusations emerging is as unlikely as some crazy electoral-college coup. So it's not at all fanfic to discuss these alternative scenarios, or to work towards them if one believes that what we already know is already sufficient to push for his resignation.

Once again, I'm not saying that should happen. It's just seems like an odd failure of imagination when folks seem to believe that, unlike all the other elected officials (mostly Democrats) who have resigned in the face of accusations, in this case we are totally stuck with him because it's the will of the people and there is no alternative. #MeToo has shown that there is always an alternative, and that alternative does not have to wait until the next election.
posted by chortly at 7:07 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Is is possible to discuss this without resorting to othering and labeling strangers into centrist/liberals vs the left?

I don't think so. The way people see Joe Biden differs too drastically.

If he'd never sexually assaulted anyone there'd still be a massive difference between people who were struggling economically prior to Trump's election and people who were doing great in the Obama years and desperately want a return to normalcy.

You can see this in the polarisation of primary votes by age before Tara Reade came forward.
posted by zymil at 7:18 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


... Biden won working class voters in the primary.
posted by Justinian at 5:48 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]


Just to clarify, Justinian, when I wrote "Nobody needs to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations," I was responding to a commenter on this thread who has repeatedly expressed disbelief, and in context, I meant "Nobody HERE ON THIS THREAD needs to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations."

Journalists and courts of law do need to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations, because their task is fact-finding. But the rest of us - who have zero ability to fact-find, and therefore should not pretend to - have a different task: we who care fight rape culture can change rape culture by believing victims until victims have been proven to be lying. Our culture treats victims as the accused in the court of public opinion, first by disbelieving that victims are victimized at all, then by blaming victims for their own victimization. This is one of the ways rape culture is perpetuated. A remedy is to demand that the accused be treated as innocent until proven guilty in the court of public opinion. So, believe victims. End of story. Unless you are speaking in a journalistic or legal capacity.
posted by MiraK at 6:12 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


In the United States, courts of law have no real fact-finding mandate. We have an adversarial system, and once prosecutors decide to run with a charge, it's all about convincing the jury of guilt; evidence is only a tool. This is really tragic in rape cases, because prosecution decisions get made based on whether a jury can be convinced. Fact-finding is extraneous. And that's one of the things that leads prosecutors and law enforcement to not take accusations very seriously

The prospect of shifting the burden of proof in cases of rape strikes real fear into the hearts of men. One false accusation could be ruinous. What men don't like to consider (and often don't even think to consider) is that an unprosecuted rape can be equally ruinous and men just like the privilege of being the gender who doesn't have to worry about it. It's very hard to take power away from people who have it, and even harder to get them to give it up themselves and make themselves vulnerable.

We SHOULD believe victims as the default, but I hold very little faith in what few fact-finding organizations are out there. And when it comes down to an accusation without physical evidence, it just becomes an article of faith and a numbers game. But if that ever became widespread, the Right would surely weaponize it (no doubt they are already trying). There will always be undeserving victims, but it's men's turn.

Another reason Dems should run women candidates wherever possible. Not that women can't be abusers (they certainly can), but it seems that men in politics being creeps is the NORM, not the exception.
posted by rikschell at 9:13 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]


I was responding to a commenter on this thread who has repeatedly expressed disbelief, and in context, I meant "Nobody HERE ON THIS THREAD needs to weigh the credibility of Reade's accusations."

I haven’t said one way or another if I believe or doubt her. I’ve said that the accusations appear to be unprovable. I’ve said that l’m struggling to form an opinion about the credibility of her accusations without considering other information that has been shared about her; without also recognizing that a tactic to destroy victims is to destroy their credibility. I’ve also said that Democrats are likely to be skeptical of the claims because of fake scandals And Republican dirty tricks — that doesn’t mean her story is fake. It also points out a difference between the general social problem which Democrats including folks like Joe Biden have tried to solve with legislation, education and policies to help victims vs the circumstances of this case.
posted by interogative mood at 11:38 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


[Couple comments removed. It's okay to disagree with other folks here. It's not okay to frame that as literally "fuck off".]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:07 PM on April 17


Any citations you can provide suggesting VAWA "is not helpful to victims"?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:13 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


probably the part where he tied the vawa to the 1994 crime bill in order to ensure democrats voted for the horrible, awful crime bill that has been devastating communities and families for decades now
posted by entropicamericana at 12:15 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


If that's the case, then the argument would be that he expanded the police state *and* helped victims, no? Looks more to me like salvaging some good out of what was then near-unanimity across the political spectrum that increased incarceration and criminal punishment were good things.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:17 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


So, who should replace Biden if he withdraws? Candidates who choose to overlook such incidents and endorse him and exhort people to vote for him should be off the list as well.
posted by asra at 12:38 PM on April 17


Probably the person with the most votes?
posted by latkes at 12:41 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Stacy Abrams wants to be his VP. Does that not mean she is supporting his candidacy and not denouncing it?
posted by asra at 12:46 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


zombie eugene debs
posted by entropicamericana at 12:49 PM on April 17 [10 favorites]


In addition to the Violence Against Women aict Biden also was able to include a number of other important provisions in the 1994 Crime Bill — a bill that was compromise legislation between Republicans and Democrats.

- The Federal Assault Weapons Ban
- Drivers license privacy protections to stop the use of drivers license databases by stalkers, and anti-abortion groups to harass women.
- National registration for violent Sex offenders child predators.
- $30 billion in assistance to local law enforcement for training and hiring to implement community oriented policing.
- A provision requiring the FBI to track and report hate crimes.

As Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden did a lot of work on higher education policies with in the Obama administration to try to get better reporting of and support for women who were sexually assaulted in college — sadly much of this Has been rolled back by Trump. Biden also worked on crime bills after 1994 to try to fix the issues that arose with the bill. He worked on sentencing reform, eliminating the discrepancy in sentences for crack vs powder cocaine and other issues.
posted by interogative mood at 12:54 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


So, who should replace Biden if he withdraws? Candidates who choose to overlook such incidents and endorse him and exhort people to vote for him should be off the list as well.

There are degrees here. If he did it, he should resign; the problem is we don't know. If someone endorses or supports him during this period of uncertainty, even if strong evidence or more accusations later emerge, that is more forgivable. A staunch defender after it has been clear that he did do it, though, would be unsupportable. Basically the second-degree taint is a function of how certain you are, and how certain others should be, that he did it. Right now there seems to be lots of reasonable uncertainty, and if evidence mounts, one should probably only support as his replacement someone who drops their endorsement or tacit support once the evidence becomes sufficiently strong; but there's less blame for someone continuing to support him right now when things are uncertain.
posted by chortly at 6:42 PM on April 17


At the risk of confusing a dormant conversation, several people stated that the statute of limitations barred prosecution of charges against Biden concerning this allegation. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding a few sources, but I don't believe that's true.

I have read and heard (on NPR) that Washington DC removed the statute of limitations for sexual abuse last year. That is a significant development that cuts both ways. It means that Biden can be prosecuted, but imho it also makes her decision not to name him in the complaint strange, and cuts against her credibility. (Naming him would open her up to false accusation charges.) Sexual abuse (not rape) the is the most likely charge that her allegations would be prosecuted under.

Under the new Act, there will be no time limit by which a case must be brought for many sexual abuse offenses, including:
First, second, third, and fourth-degree sexual abuse
First- and second-degree child sexual abuse / sexual abuse of a minor
First- and second-degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student
First-and second-degree sexual abuse of a patient, client, or ward
The Act also requires police to keep evidence related to certain sex crimes for 65 years from the date of first reporting, eliminates the practice of using fictitious name indictments, and extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting failures to report child abuse and neglect as required by law.

posted by msalt at 12:06 AM on April 23




It means that Biden can be prosecuted

Not an attorney but IIRC courts have decided that that violates the ex post facto provision.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:21 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Stogner_vs_California from 2003. The liberal minority were joined by Sandra Day O'Connor in ruling California's law retroactively changing the statute of limitations was an unconstitutional ex post facto violation. 4 conservative justices dissented.

Essentially it's the statute of limitations at the time a crime is alleged to have been committed that matters, not what it is going forward. Of course with a conservative majority that could always be overturned but it doesn't seem like an issue that will come up again any time soon.

Tara Reade accused of stealing from non-profit organization

Not great, Bob.
posted by Justinian at 7:35 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


The important thing is that no matter what the victim must be demonized and portrayed as a bad person who deserved to be assaulted.
posted by sotonohito at 7:41 AM on April 23 [7 favorites]


Also, the writers of the non-profit story are Brian & Eddie Krassenstein who do not impress me with their objectivity on this matter to put it mildly. That doesn't mean they're wrong necessarily but this isn't exactly WaPo breaking a story.
posted by Justinian at 7:42 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


I agree that most victims are not saints and shouldn’t be expected to be and that shouldn’t give their abuser a pass. Perhaps I’m mistaken but I think most folks on Metafilter are aware of this social anti-pattern and are smart enough to consider reports like this with appropriate levels of skepticism.
posted by interogative mood at 2:27 PM on April 23


Ah, thank you, GCU Sweet and Full of Grace & Justinian. I was wondering why no one seemed to be taking this into account. So basically, this has no effect for 14 more years unless a conservative court reverses that ruling, apparently?
posted by msalt at 9:47 PM on April 23


Tara Reade accused of stealing from non-profit organization

An article in Medium? Feh. The same standard should apply here as to Reade's accusations -- have journalists with established reputations, or authorities, investigated it? What did they find?

Theft in the last few years is definitely something you would expect to result in some sort of legal action or at the very least formal complaints, so I give this no weight at all.
posted by msalt at 9:51 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


The Krassensteins are career scammers and anything they say, up to and including "the sky is blue on this cloudless day", should be assumed to be a lie unless confirmed by a third party.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:03 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


NEW EVIDENCE SUPPORTING CREDIBILITY OF TARA READE’S ALLEGATION AGAINST JOE BIDEN EMERGES


The Intercept reports that someone, who was most likely Tara Reade's mother, called into the Larry King Show in the 90s and discussed the incident without naming names.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:01 PM on April 24 [8 favorites]


The recording of the call is at the link FWIW. The issue is going to be that there is no discussion of what the "story" her daughter had to tell is, and Biden has not denied and already acknowledged the creepy hair & touching stuff, so basically this will be taken as evidence of what we already know.
posted by Justinian at 5:36 PM on April 24


I mean it could be, but I don’t see how in 1993 anyone would consider a Senator touching hair to be a “story”.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:47 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]


You could be right. I'm just saying that I don't think this makes it any more likely that Biden withdraws, not that I think it's not useful information.
posted by Justinian at 5:51 PM on April 24


Biden is not going to nobly withdraw, so I think that's a non-starter. But how likely do we think it is that this is the only corroborating evidence that will pop up? How likely, if this is how the man has always behaved, is this to be the only instance of this behavior that might bubble to the surface?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:40 PM on April 24


That depends on what you mean by "this behavior"... if you mean the stuff he has acknowledged and apologized for it wouldn't be surprising if there were other instances since that's apparently how he always behaved. If you mean the alleged sexual assault then it depends on whether the allegation is true or not? We can't know how likely more is to bubble up without knowing for sure if this allegation happened.

But like you said he isn't going to nobly withdraw so I guess we'll find out.
posted by Justinian at 9:00 PM on April 24


I'll give you very long odds that Putin/Trump already has and is sitting on incontrovertible evidence of Biden committing rape, or at least sexual assault, and will be using it in attack ads later this year.

There's no possible way a guy with the long and ugly history of assault that Biden has hasn't produced evidence that the FSB was able to dig up.
posted by sotonohito at 7:45 AM on April 25


The thing about predictions like that is you can make tons of them and when all or virtually all of them turn out to be false you can just memory hole them and move on to the next one.
posted by Justinian at 8:22 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


This allegation does not need further evidence supporting it for it to be devastating for Biden and for Democratic party this year.

Remember what they were able to do with the actual non-story about Clinton's emails?

This is only the beginning and it is only going to get worse.
posted by Ouverture at 10:25 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


If there were any justice in the world, Donald Trump Jr would have exploded in a fireball of hypocrisy the minute he hit "send tweet."
posted by Justinian at 12:02 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


The thing is that yes the republican are hypocrites for using Biden’s history of sexual assault against him, but the other thing that is true is that democrats are hypocrites for attacking or ignoring Tara Reade!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:27 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


If there were any justice in the world, Joe Biden would not be the democratic nominee.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:40 PM on April 25 [11 favorites]


I still don't get why the US keeps alternating between malicious sadists and ineffectual dignity addicts. It's there some long term plan I'm not seeing?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:50 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


It's there some long term plan I'm not seeing?
As anyone can see from our elections and the US's response to the coronavirus, no, you're not missing any kind of long term plan.
posted by erattacorrige at 5:01 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]




The neighbor would be the first non-family member to give contemporaneous backing of a relatively specific nature?
posted by Justinian at 10:46 AM on April 27


The neighbor remembers her conversation with Reade (including where they were when they were having it, and what sparked it) and confirms the details of Reade's account. The neighbor also says she's "a very strong Democrat" and still plans to vote for Biden. I'd say this is pretty much worst case scenario stuff.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 11:14 AM on April 27


An anonymous friend (n addition to LaCasse) has confirmed to journalists that Reade told them about the incident when it happened.

From the Business Insider article:

"Insider has verified, through publicly available records, that Reade and LaCasse were neighbors at a Morro Bay apartment complex in 1995. A review of LaCasse's social media presence shows a long history of anti-Trump sentiments. She has written approvingly of both Biden and his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders on Twitter. In March, she shared a link on Facebook to a story detailing Reade's allegations, with the message, "this is my good friend Tara Reade, who was assaulted by Joe Biden in 1993.""

This is big.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:17 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]




Also Jake Tapper of CNN has retweeted this story. This is going to be big natioanal news soon.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:50 AM on April 27


The Larry King phone call doesn’t seem to indicate what happened. The mother mentioned her daughter had a problem in a senators office but we don’t know what the problem was.

The report by a former neighbor seems much more important. A living witness who seems to conform that Ms Raede reported this in the mid 1990s. Of course anyone can someone one told them something.

The article about Raede’s work at the Horse Rescue show what is purported to be physical evidence including copies of emails and receipts. While the journalists are under the stake oversight at journalists at the New York Times they seem to be on the same level as The Intercept.
posted by interogative mood at 2:18 PM on April 27


I’ll add the neighbor seems very credible. We’ll have to see where this goes.
posted by interogative mood at 2:19 PM on April 27


If a Presidential debate were held today, a moderator would almost certainly ask a question about these allegations, and if not, Trump would certainly bring them up, not caring at all about the hypocrisy.

Biden has to publicly address this now.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:26 PM on April 27 [4 favorites]


Yeah the neighbor is the first piece of corroboration that is both specific (ie can't be dismissed as about something else) and not directly tied to Reade's inner circle (corroboration from a brother is sketchy for obvious reasons). So it elevates the credibility a bunch.

It's unclear to me that basically any story that isn't covid-19 can gain any traction right now, so a statement from Biden seems like both the right thing to do and the right thing to do politically (which isn't the same thing.) Since later you can be "we've said everything we're going to say, we refer you to our previous statement.)

Though he's said flat-out it didn't happen so I don't know what a statement would say that wasn't in the first statement from the campaign. I assume it would be mostly a reiteration: "All women should be heard, we encourage you to research the facts, the Vice President strongly denies this ever happened." At least that's what I assume would be released, I can't imagine they would be all like "oh THAT incident, we thought you meant something else."
posted by Justinian at 3:51 PM on April 27




The first response to this on Twitter and elsewhere by lots of folks seems to be gaming out the strategy for Biden or the media, and then sitting back to wait to see what happens. But that's kind of side-stepping the more immediate personal decision we all have to make: do you believe these women now, and if so, what does that entail for your support of Biden? Not versus Trump, of course: if Biden lasts until November we will almost all vote for him -- even LaCasse says she will. But right now, knowing what you know, do you personally want Biden to remain the Democratic candidate? As discussed upthread, at least through the summer there exist alternative mechanisms the Democratic party can still realistically pursue, although almost all of them would require pressuring Biden to resign first. Should we? It's a fairly common bit of #MeToo bystanderism to think, well, my own judgment doesn't have any effect, so I'll just hold it in abeyance and wait and see what happens. And for those of us -- possibly including myself -- who still feel there's not enough information to make a decision, we need to ask ourselves how much additional information should be required before we render a judgment, and take actions consistent with that judgment.
posted by chortly at 6:35 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


I'd suggest people begin by asking themselves what standards they would apply and what questions they would ask if these accusations were directed at a Republican.

If a person is evaluating these claims by different metrics than they did Dr Ford's, or Ms Hill's, or for that matter Ivana Trump's, I would suggest that person should reconsider their position.
posted by sotonohito at 8:18 AM on April 28 [8 favorites]


Of course I’ll use different metrics and I don’t see any problem. The core of the Republican Party’s political platform is misogyny and contempt for the rights of women. This is reflected in their stances on everything from equal pay to abortion rights. If a member of the klan was accused of racial discrimination; they doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt as a person who has actually spent their career championing civil rights.
posted by interogative mood at 10:11 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


But right now, knowing what you know, do you personally want Biden to remain the Democratic candidate?

This seems like a moral test of some sort than any kind of actual plan of action. Whether or not I or anyone here wants Biden to remain the nominee, he's going to remain the nominee. You can say that there are alternative mechanisms that can be realistically pursued but I don't think that's true. They can theoretically be pursued but not realistically. Biden's the nominee. If this stuff had come up 6 months ago maybe things would be different... maybe... but they didn't.

That's why there is talk about Biden's strategy or the media or whatever; whether or not the allegations are true is no longer something that will affect whether Biden is the nominee because that stopped being a question after Super Tuesday.

Should that be the case? I'm not god, I can't say. But it's where we're at. The only question is who we're gonna vote for in November (not Trump) and how to make sure other people don't vote for Trump.
posted by Justinian at 12:13 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


People shouldn't try discrediting Reade based on her timing, but it's fair to recognize that not airing her current accusation until after Biden de facto clinched the nomination (and the coronavirus paralyzed future primaries) means that Biden will almost certainly be the nominee. The only alternatives are him voluntarily stepping down, dying, or an unprecedented intra-party struggle to remove and replace him against his will and without an electoral mandate, which would be eagerly exploited by bad actors and greatly boost the odds of a Trump re-election.

So no, I don't want Biden to be the nominee -- always preferred Warren myself -- but I think trying to force him out would be incredibly damaging, and I don't think working to encourage such a fight is wise absent him losing popular support. Such a struggle would be worth the damage if his polling craters and he becomes a clear liability in the general, but so far voters writ large are sticking with him for better or worse. Similar to how Northam and Fairfax survived their blackface/assault scandals even in the face of widespread calls to resign, thanks largely to sustained support from Democrats in Virginia.

Personally, I hope he faces the music, picks an excellent VP, and that they have a plan in place for him to step down and defer to her at the convention, especially if the Republicans successfully drag his numbers down in the meantime. Let him draw all their hypocritical attacks, take the fall, and send an unimpeachable fresh face to do battle with the far greater monster who just spent the last few months talking about how awful sexual assault is.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:49 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I think those are the likely scenarios but there's not chance he voluntarily steps down as president if elected.

I couldn't be more disappointed in the DNC. The Democratic leadership rallied behind Biden AFTER these allegations were out there. There's video on the Daily Show when Jon Stewart was still hosting during the Obama era where Biden is routinely touching and groping women without their consent. This story broke late but for anyone interested, they could have found Tara Reade's accusation in early January after she went to TimesUp.

FFS Biden hired Harvey Weinstein's consultant. None of this is a coincidence.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:05 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Imagining that Biden will be elected and then step down, making room for some woke young woman VP, is a fun fantasy, but only that. I also have a fantasy that he will step down now, making room for the candidate with the next most votes (Sanders) but I must admit that is almost impossibly unlikley. We do live in very unpredictable times, but the idea that a powerful man who has been striving to win the presidency for most of his adult life would voluntarily just give that up, after winning it, goes against what we know of human nature. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
posted by latkes at 8:06 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


the devil we know
posted by philip-random at 8:14 AM on April 29


What do folks here make of Hillary’s decision to endorse Biden the day after the new witness came forward?
posted by interogative mood at 8:37 AM on April 29


That Hillary Clinton's habit of excusing sexual predators continues?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:55 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


That almost all public figures in the Democratic party are going to vocally support the Democratic candidate?
posted by latkes at 8:58 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Pressure should be put on Biden to withdraw. There is still time to undo this.
posted by Gadarene at 9:06 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


That even women can buy into rape culture?

I wish I could express how triggering it is for me to hear constant drumbeat that there's no choice. One can be aware of that and still be disgusted and repulsed and still vote for him without needing to pick apart her credibility.
posted by kanata at 9:09 AM on April 29 [8 favorites]


This seems like a moral test of some sort than any kind of actual plan of action. Whether or not I or anyone here wants Biden to remain the nominee, he's going to remain the nominee. You can say that there are alternative mechanisms that can be realistically pursued but I don't think that's true. They can theoretically be pursued but not realistically. Biden's the nominee. If this stuff had come up 6 months ago maybe things would be different... maybe... but they didn't.

This sort of flat declaration seems deeply mistaken. If, for instance, a second accusation of rape appears with corroboration, the pressure will be immense for him to resign now. No one is talking about after election, no one is talking about October, when it really will be too late. But if a lot of serious evidence appears in the next couple months, there's no reason why he would be uniquely able to resist calls for resignation. Now, it may be that this current accusation is not sufficient, either because people don't believe her or don't believe that one rape is enough to disqualify him; and maybe you think another accusation is unlikely to occur. But if new evidence does appear, the flat declaration that "he's going to remain the nominee" seems likely to be false, and resignation is quite realistic. So this confident assertion that he's guaranteed to remain the nominee is basically just a prediction that no further evidence sufficient to cause him to resign will appear. And given how these things snowball, that may be true, but it's not at all certain.

And the moral choice at this moment is, if you believe Reade, do you accept that politics today means that it will be utterly impossible to ever get Biden to resign over a single rape, or not? That is indeed a moral question, but one of the lessons of #MeToo is that if you do believe it, it is not hopeless to pursue resignation. That strategy has worked in the past and it is not at all guaranteed it won't work again. Again, the calculus is different if you don't believe her or believe that even if true it isn't sufficient to resign over. But if you do believe it, it is no more foolish to pursue resignation -- as a plan individual activism, not just a moral posture -- than it was to pursue resignation for Franken back when everyone dismissed that as utterly unrealistic.
posted by chortly at 9:20 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Stacey Abrams on Tara Reade sexual assault allegation: 'I believe Joe Biden'
"The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible," she added. "I believe Joe Biden."

The Times, in the report that Abrams referenced, said that the newspaper found "no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden" but didn't come to a conclusion on the credibility of Reade's allegations.
Yikes. Abrams is really gunning for the VP spot.
posted by Ouverture at 9:25 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


People shouldn't try discrediting Reade based on her timing

Yeah I want to be clear I was not saying "the timing means this is LIES", just what you said; the timing means there isn't anything we can realistically do about it.
posted by Justinian at 9:57 AM on April 29


FFS Biden hired Harvey Weinstein's consultant. None of this is a coincidence.

Of course it's not a coincidence. Dunn is managing director of the Democratic party's primary consulting firm (SKDKnickerbocker), was director of communications, senior advisor, and one of the 4 or 5 top people in Obama's campaign for President (thus working closely with Biden), and was the frikkin White House Communication's Director for the Obama/Biden administration. And was hired by Biden in 2019 well before any of this.

And she was not "Harvey Weinstein's consultant", she never worked for Weinstein, was not paid by Weinstein, and AFAIK spoke with him one time before the big NYT story exposing him publicly at the behest of a friend and told Weinstein to accept his fate.

But, yes, clearly some sort of cabal ringleader.

This is conspiracy nonsense of the sort we're not supposed to engage in.
posted by Justinian at 10:07 AM on April 29 [15 favorites]


Yeah I want to be clear I was not saying "the timing means this is LIES", just what you said; the timing means there isn't anything we can realistically do about it.

I mean this sincerely: not with that attitude.
posted by Gadarene at 10:30 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


There are six months between now and the election. Three months between now and a putative convention. There are plenty of people who could realistically do something about it, if enough of us agitate for them to do so.

But if we accept defeat, well...then we get "But Her Emails" times 100 and a significantly increased chance of a Trump re-election. Not to mention putting an ossified likely rapist in the White House of our own volition.
posted by Gadarene at 10:33 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


> a significantly increased chance of a Trump re-election

Compared to what alternate scenario? If 2016 taught us anything, it taught us that we should be skeptical of anyone who has a formula for gaming out what will and will not resonate with voters, or who's more "electable" given a particular set of assets and liabilities that may appeal to or dissuade particular segments of the electorate.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:39 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I can't speak to how it would actually affect the election (nor do I think anyone here or elsewhere can), but if Trump and the GOP was able to make such a massive firestorm over something as minor as Clinton's email server (and to do so for years!), I would be very surprised if they weren't able to do the same or much, much worse with a rape allegation (and all the accounts and images of Biden making women and young girls uncomfortable).

It doesn't matter that Trump has done worse. Hypocrisy has never stopped anyone from laying waste to another in a political campaign, especially when it's a conservative launching the attacks.
posted by Ouverture at 10:43 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Yes, I agree that this is extremely damaging to Biden, but we're not in the alternate universe where these allegations didn't happen, so someone claiming this will be "a significantly increased chance of a Trump re-election" needs to outline another scenario wherein the replacement candidate's liabilities aren't just as bad or worse than Biden with these allegations hanging over him.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:48 AM on April 29


Compared to what alternate scenario? If 2016 taught us anything, it taught us that we should be skeptical of anyone who has a formula for gaming out what will and will not resonate with voters, or who's more "electable" given a particular set of assets and liabilities that may appeal to or dissuade particular segments of the electorate.

What Ouverture said. Compared to the alternate scenario where we don't nominate someone with credible rape allegations against them.

(Maybe, say, someone whose wealth tax proposal is popular among more than 70 percent of the electorate, including a majority of self-identified Republicans!)
posted by Gadarene at 10:50 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Yes, I agree that this is extremely damaging to Biden, but we're not in the alternate universe where these allegations didn't happen, so someone claiming this will be "a significantly increased chance of a Trump re-election" needs to outline another scenario wherein the replacement candidate's liabilities aren't just as bad or worse than Biden with these allegations hanging over him.

Okay, I'll be clearer about it. Given all that has happened with the pandemic and the economy, and all that is likely to happen in-between now and Election Day, Warren in particular would crush Trump.
posted by Gadarene at 10:52 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


(Let me amend that to say "would have, in my view, far and away the best chance of crushing Trump for myriad reasons.")
posted by Gadarene at 10:53 AM on April 29


I'd love that scenario if Warren (my first choice) or Sanders (my second choice) had won the primary, but they did not, so you'd talking about a Warren or Sanders who will have lost legitimacy in the minds of many voters. Biden's polling average in head-to-head contests vs. Trump has been +6.3, while Bernie's has been +4.2, and Warren's was basically a dead heat until they stopped polling when she dropped out.

Once you add all of the liabilities that the Trump and the GOP would hammer on that aren't reflected in that polling, well... let's just say that I think there's a lot of work yet to be shown to support what seems to be self-evident in the minds of so many.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:56 AM on April 29


But if we accept defeat, well...then we get "But Her Emails" times 100 and a significantly increased chance of a Trump re-election.

Sure, but if we are caring what Trump and the Republicans will do, wouldn't they also hammer a "Biden was robbed! (Whichever candidate replaces Biden) stole the primary!" narrative too?
posted by FJT at 10:59 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


But that's a lot more defensible than having to say "he's a rapist, but at least he's our rapist"!
posted by sagc at 11:01 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


Warren had one of the largest head-to-head leads over Trump when she was the frontrunner in the Democratic primary last fall. In a world where we wave a magic wand and she becomes the unity candidate by acclamation between now and the convention -- and someone who is out there every day handling the coronavirus crisis with thoughtfulness, empathy, leadership, and intelligence, caring about the people whose lives and livelihoods are being affected by the pandemic the most -- it is extremely hard for me to believe that her numbers against Trump would not reach their previous levels at the very least.

Maybe I'm a dreamer.
posted by Gadarene at 11:01 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'll be clearer about it. Given all that has happened with the pandemic and the economy, and all that is likely to happen in-between now and Election Day, Warren in particular would crush Trump.

You added "in my view" of course but there is literally no evidence or data to support this. And "this just shows we should hand the nomination to my preferred candidate!" is about the least persuasive argument I can imagine.
posted by Justinian at 11:02 AM on April 29


You added "in my view" of course but there is literally no evidence or data to support this. And "this just shows we should hand the nomination to my preferred candidate!" is about the least persuasive argument I can imagine.

I disagree.

In every single debate, she was the perceived winner by the focus groups watching. Her policies are extremely popular when polled. She is by far the preferred choice among Democrats for Biden's VP according to polling last week. She was the candidate that most Democrats polled thought would be the best president, notwithstanding their "electability" concerns. She would be guaranteed to pull in a larger percentage of disaffected Bernie voters than Biden. She is a candidate with indefatigable energy who would only get stronger and more passionate as the culmination of the campaign drew near. She knows how to tell stories that make her points persuasively.

I understand it's not going to happen because the wealthy like their wealth too much, but to say that there is no evidence or data to suggest that she would do well against Trump is surpassingly silly. To me.
posted by Gadarene at 11:09 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


I can't think of any reason to believe that a replacement for a hypothetical Biden resignation/ouster would be Warren (other than it would make me happy to believe so). She wasn't second place, she had a chance to catch on with primary voters and never really got anywhere, she is not a particularly unifying figure, so it's hard for me to think of her as a unity candidate. During the brief moment when it looked like she was a real threat for the nomination, the non-progressive elements of the party started mobilizing against her and would likely have been as tough on her as Sanders. In my subjective view she was easily the best candidate, and if some wild set of circumstances ends up with her getting the nomination, I believe she would win the general. But she lost, and she's not the fallback option. That's a bitter pill to swallow, but this is the party that nominated Biden, and in the end it wasn't even very close.
posted by skewed at 11:12 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


You didn't say "do well against Trump", Gadarene, you said "Warren in particular would crush Trump". Her numbers in head to heads have tended to the mediocre compared to Biden and Sanders. Your comment showed that her issues poll well, but issue polling is not very predictive of how people vote.
posted by Justinian at 11:14 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


But that's a lot more defensible than having to say "he's a rapist, but at least he's our rapist"!

Sure, but it looks like the defense now is just to ignore and deny it, not to say he's a rapist.

But the point is, Trump and the Republicans will grab at whatever looks like a weapon to strike with. If you are arguing that Biden should step down, then it's better to stick with it's the right thing to do.
posted by FJT at 11:15 AM on April 29


I'm arguing that they are different attacks, with different levels of success. Saying "the Republicans will attack anyone" is not actually an argument against Biden stepping down, which is how it seems to have been rolled out upthread.

Or, if it is an argument against Biden stepping down, it's a telling one.
posted by sagc at 11:20 AM on April 29


You didn't say "do well against Trump", Gadarene, you said "Warren in particular would crush Trump". Her numbers in head to heads have tended to the mediocre compared to Biden and Sanders. Your comment showed that her issues poll well, but issue polling is not very predictive of how people vote.

This is simply not true. Her numbers in head to heads against Trump were among the strongest when she was leading in the field during the fall. When she fell back and became a perceived "loser" among the electorate, surprise, surprise, her head to head numbers fell also. America loves a winner.

And yes, Warren in particular would crush Trump, in my view, because she has the exact skillset that is needed to take advantage of how abominably, cruelly, and criminally the administration has handled the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

She has fought for consumers for literally her entire career. She is astonishingly well-situated to appeal to people who find themselves without jobs and health care while Republicans pass tax breaks for millionaires in the midst of what is likely to be a fricking depression.

This is not some out-there perspective.
posted by Gadarene at 11:21 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I'm arguing that they are different attacks, with different levels of success.

Okay if that's your point, then I simply disagree with that too.
posted by FJT at 11:23 AM on April 29


I think it's hard for all of us to fully grasp how different the economic climate is likely to be in this country by November, and how much a Democrat could appeal to voters by zeroing in on corruption, profiteering, and the enrichment of the wealthy while they try to juggle making their rent, their utilities, and their credit card bills without a job and with two kids at home because schools are closed.
posted by Gadarene at 11:26 AM on April 29


This is not some out-there perspective.

We remember the primary differently but that's fine I guess. Talking about her like there's any realistic possibility she gets installed as the nominee is fanfic. She isn't, and probably shouldn't be, the nominee.

Which brings us to the biggest problem with the "replace Biden" movement; who replaces him. Sanders? He got his ass kicked. Warren? She barely won any delegates. Bloomberg? Imagine the screaming. Harris? Klobs? Buttigieg?

There is no legitimate successor.
posted by Justinian at 11:26 AM on April 29


We remember the primary differently but that's fine I guess. Talking about her like there's any realistic possibility she gets installed as the nominee is fanfic. She isn't, and probably shouldn't be, the nominee.

Which brings us to the biggest problem with the "replace Biden" movement; who replaces him. Sanders? He got his ass kicked. Warren? She barely won any delegates. Bloomberg? Imagine the screaming. Harris? Klobs? Buttigieg?

There is no legitimate successor.


Legitimacy is a different issue. If Biden dropped dead tomorrow, though, someone would replace him. So legitimacy can get backfilled when needs must.

But in terms of legitimacy, I do think it is salient to observe that Warren is RESOUNDINGLY the preferred vice-presidential nominee for Biden, including among the African-American voters that make up a crucial segment of Biden's base.

Vice-presidents step in when the President has to step away. So to the extent that it is possible/plausible for Biden to name her as his running mate, the legitimacy legitimates itself.
posted by Gadarene at 11:31 AM on April 29


>[Dunn] was hired by Biden in 2019 well before any of this.

April 25, 2019: Former Obama aide Anita Dunn joins Biden team

April 2, 2019: FPP discussing Biden's long history and new allegations of nonconsensual touching and kissing
posted by Cezar Golescu at 11:32 AM on April 29 [5 favorites]


There's no legitimate successor, but there are varying degrees of illegitimacy depending on how the party chooses to replace him under such a scenario. We may not agree on the exact numbers, but "who got the next-most votes in a partial primary", "who gets the most votes in a brand new vote-by-mail and online nationwide referendum", and "the party just picks whoever the fuck they want" are all options I can see happening, each of which I believe would lead to a nominee I like a lot more than Biden, but each of which would be perceived as less legitimate than simply keeping Biden.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:32 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


We remember the primary differently but that's fine I guess.

Also, I don't understand this. You're a polling/quant guy. Are you saying I'm wrong about her doing well head-to-head against Trump in the fall when she was leading the field, or wrong in my supposition about why her head-to-head numbers subsequently dropped as she ended up back in the middle of the pack?

Because the second isn't a matter of recollection one way or the other, and I'm pretty sure I can substantiate the first with a few searches.
posted by Gadarene at 11:34 AM on April 29


And yes, Warren in particular would crush Trump,

Warren came in third in her home state in the primary. She may very well lose her Senate seat.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:37 AM on April 29


Warren came in third in her home state in the primary. She may very well lose her Senate seat.

Well, those are two very different statements!
posted by Gadarene at 11:38 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Anyway, sorry for monopolizing the thread; this conversation just makes me sad.

I'll bow out now.
posted by Gadarene at 11:41 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Are you saying I'm wrong about her doing well head-to-head against Trump in the fall when she was leading the field, or wrong in my supposition about why her head-to-head numbers subsequently dropped as she ended up back in the middle of the pack?

I'm saying that "doing well" is very relative. I remember her being ahead of Trump in the national polling, though by slightly less than Biden, but doing relatively poorly in the state polling of the electorally important states like Michigan and Wisconsin. I also, frankly, don't remember her "leading the field" at any point post when the polling was actually reasonably predictive because the campaigns had gotten going.

(she did lead last year, yes.)
posted by Justinian at 11:41 AM on April 29


The Daily Beast contacted 10 top national pro-women organizations for this story, including Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Organization for Women. Most organizations did not respond to a detailed request for comment about the allegation by Tara Reade.
posted by latkes at 11:52 AM on April 29


Maybe this is also absurd fan fiction but based on our current scenario I can definitely see a "draft Cuomo" movement picking up steam. I think that if somehow more allegations against Biden were to come out, and he became so toxic he had to resign, the DNC's move would be to try to recruit someone untainted by real-world results from the past primary. (At least that way you can't have people saying "only 8 percent of people voted for that guy!") I think in those circumstances the party really would quickly coalesce around the new nominee, especially someone like Cuomo who has been getting a lot of media attention as a kind of anti-Trump.

To be clear, this only works if Democratic public opinion shifts against Biden significantly more than it has so far, and Biden is convinced by party leaders to resign willingly, or at least be seen as doing so.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 11:53 AM on April 29


I remember Warren being received very well and seen as a front-runner until Sanders declared his candidacy and people sighed "oh good, a man we can get behind instead", but I guess that means I can go sit on the bench with Gadorene. Regardless, the party can do better than Joe "creepy uncle / probably worse / Anita Hill's persecutor" Biden as a candidate.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:55 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


Warren was the front runner in the fall, prior to Sanders's heart attack.
posted by Gadarene at 12:12 PM on April 29


In terms of who could replace him, I think most people who might end up supporting Biden's resignation would find that there are quite a few candidates they prefer to Biden. I still don't know who to believe yet, but if I decide to believe Reade based on accumulating evidence, I would certainly support Klobuchar or Harris or even Buttigieg over Biden, and that's as an avowed leftie. It's all about compromising after all, and if a leftie decides Biden is a probable rapist, then the pragmatic leftie should prefer almost any other centrist over Biden (though Warren would be even better, of course). So the only question of legitimacy for Biden's replacement would be not among those who believe Reade, but among those who don't believe Reade. For those who would rather just think about pragmatism than their own moral judgment, it then becomes a question of which will depress Democratic turnout more: a centrist hated by those who believe Reade, or a replacement centrist hated by those who disbelieve Reade. Right now the first group is much smaller than the second would be if Biden were forced to resign right now, but if that first group grows large enough, it's not at all clear that the party would be better with Biden than someone else. Either way the party is screwed if this snowballs any farther, in the sense that there will be a large disgruntled faction, over and above the Sanders dead-enders.
posted by chortly at 1:22 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Warren was the front runner in the fall, prior to Sanders's heart attack.
Warren was never ahead of Biden in national polling averages, though the media at the time was basically ignoring Biden for some reason.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:37 PM on April 29


One option is to pick someone who didn’t run in the primary. Everyone who is not Biden tried and failed. A cipher is better than Biden.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:44 PM on April 29


Regardless, the party can do better than Joe "creepy uncle / probably worse / Anita Hill's persecutor" Biden as a candidate.

switch "can do better" to "could have done better" and I doubt there's anyone in this thread that would disagree (ie: Uncle Joe was nobody's first choice).

I personally don't feel remotely expert enough to weigh in on what a full-on campaign to get rid of Biden would do now to the Dems chances of A. taking the presidency in November and (B and C) keeping the House and taking the Senate. But I do know I get a horrible feeling when I feel people arguing for doing just that without there really being a strategy that I can grasp beyond, "he's bad, he's got to go".
posted by philip-random at 3:05 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I'm not a politcologist but it seems pretty self evident to me that a drawn out and divisive campaign to replace the democratically chosen nominee with a person appointed by the establishment through fiat would be not super helpful to Dems chances. One might even characterize that as the DNC rigging the primary.
posted by Justinian at 8:45 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Simultaneous RCV ballot mailed to all registered Democrats on June 1, due July 1.

(Now that is fanfic.)
posted by chortly at 9:15 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


So there's nothing we can do; there's nothing to be done. Bite the bullet, vote in the old bastard? Focus on progressive policy development and enactment while a potential rapist drives the bus? Hone in on policy, policy, policy? The mental gymnastics required from voters like me if Reade's story is true is tantamount to cognitive dissonance as broad as the Mir Mine.

I wonder what Joe Biden's horcruxes are.
posted by erattacorrige at 9:16 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


At this point Clinton, Warren, Gillibrand, Abrams, and Harris have all formally endorsed Biden, publicly stated they believe him regarding the allegations, or have indicated they would be honored to be his pick for VP. The party leadership and VP candidate pool seems to have made its Faustian bargain.
posted by jedicus at 9:36 PM on April 29


April 2, 2019: FPP discussing Biden's long history and new allegations of nonconsensual touching and kissing

That's a hell of a thread
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:47 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


At this point Clinton, Warren, Gillibrand, Abrams, and Harris have all formally endorsed Biden, publicly stated they believe him regarding the allegations, or have indicated they would be honored to be his pick for VP. The party leadership and VP candidate pool seems to have made its Faustian bargain.

It's the "too big to fail" model, but for rapists and presidential elections.
posted by Ouverture at 8:38 AM on April 30 [10 favorites]


So there's nothing we can do; there's nothing to be done. Bite the bullet, vote in the old bastard? Focus on progressive policy development and enactment while a potential rapist drives the bus?

Putin is still driving the bus, and Biden is his non-choice and biggest fear, but still a long shot. Putin controls the GOP using cheap thought reform tactics, such as getting them all to change the story from Russia to Ukraine election meddling, plus Hillary's "lost" server, almost in cult-like unison. More is coming.

Reading in a firm voice from her opening statement, she went on to say that Russia’s goal was to weaken the United States, partly by sowing internal dissent. “President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” she said. “They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.” Hill also repeated the warning that Robert Mueller delivered during his testimony to Congress, in July, and she coupled that warning with another about the useful idiots inside the United States who, deliberately or not, serve to further Russia’s goals. “Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election,” she said. “We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”
posted by Brian B. at 10:12 AM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Biden is his non-choice and biggest fear

Could you expand on "biggest fear"? VP Biden is not mentioned in any of your support.
posted by avalonian at 10:34 AM on April 30




You know what? Fuck this.
posted by latkes at 1:06 PM on April 30 [4 favorites]


His ideology sucks. His voting history sucks. His judgment sucks. His attitude toward women sucks. Joe Biden sucks. Sure, if you live in Ohio, vote for the piece of shit; what choice do you have. But put your money, time and heart into real, structural change. The Democratic status quo is garbage.
posted by latkes at 1:09 PM on April 30 [8 favorites]


Apparently Biden will be addressing this tomorrow AM on MSNBC.
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


I would expect him to basically reiterate the campaign's previous position: All women should be heard and taken seriously and then people should weigh the evidence and make a judgment for themselves, and I (Biden) again strongly reiterate that this didn't happen and would never happen. News orgs have a responsibility not only to cover the controversy but to investigate the allegations themselves.
posted by Justinian at 1:50 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile #FireChrisHayes has been trending for hours on Twitter because Hayes addressed the story last night on his show and now Democrats (or accounts pretending to be Democrats) are hysterically accusing Hayes of promoting Russian propaganda and trying to get Trump reelected. How incredibly embarrassing.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 1:56 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


If that's all he's planning on saying then either he's counting on softball questions from Morning Joseph or he's going to spend a lot of time reiterating that reiteration Marshawn Lynch style. A lot of people are going to at least want to know his version of what did happen, not just that her version didn't happen.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:58 PM on April 30


We're talking more than 25 years ago though, right? He will just say he doesn't remember anything at all happening. That's what he would say if nothing happened, and it's what he'll likely say if something did happen. If nothing happened then he doesn't have a version beyond "that didn't happen."
posted by Justinian at 2:04 PM on April 30 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile #FireChrisHayes has been trending for hours on Twitter because Hayes addressed the story last night on his show and now Democrats (or accounts pretending to be Democrats) are hysterically accusing Hayes of promoting Russian propaganda and trying to get Trump reelected. How incredibly embarrassing.

It's striking how Republicans initially made more noise about Roy Moore than Democrats have about Biden. Of course, the Republicans also fell in line because the stakes were too high.

It turns out bipartisanship isn't completely dead in American politics.
posted by Ouverture at 2:27 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


> We're talking more than 25 years ago though, right? He will just say he doesn't remember anything at all happening. That's what he would say if nothing happened, and it's what he'll likely say if something did happen. If nothing happened then he doesn't have a version beyond "that didn't happen."

The statements "this did not happen" and "I can't remember" are very different, though, particularly when her evolving story is being used against her. Is he going to say he doesn't remember her at all when it's possible that there's evidence out there of him having interactions that he ought to be able to remember? The faulty memory excuse could also amplify the concerns about his age and fitness for office.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:29 PM on April 30


I don't see why he would say he doesn't remember her? I assume he does. Remembering her is in no way incriminating. He'll just say nothing like this happened with her or anyone else. I assume he'll be asked about the stuff he has apologized for and he'll again say he's learned to be better.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 PM on April 30 [1 favorite]


From the Washington Examiner:

2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is casting himself as the candidate Russian President Vladimir Putin fears the most.

So Biden's campaign position. Let's hold the pro-Biden propaganda to the same standard as anti-propaganda, please.

Regurgitating campaign spin is not news.
posted by avalonian at 3:29 PM on April 30


There are many elegant ways to reply to each foreseeable question without anything as crass as denying it outright or asserting you don't remember, as long as you have time to prepare. I have no doubt that at least a dozen incredibly accomplished women with long careers in public service are helping him craft his responses at this very moment.
posted by chortly at 5:57 PM on April 30


I agree about the prep but I don't see how you could possibly get around denying it outright. Anything but a denial is an admission.
posted by Justinian at 11:10 PM on April 30


MSNBC: Joe Biden: This is an open book, there is nothing for me to hide

Monring Mika asked him if he remembered her working for him, but he dodged the question, and she didn't follow up. Then there was a bunch of arguing about where record of a complaint might be (he's obviously assuming no record exists), followed by Mika pressing him on #MeToo and "believe women", with the expected answers about giving them the benefit of the doubt and then investigating to find the truth. Then a lot of arguing in circles about his papers at the University of Delaware, which he says wouldn't contain any records from the office where the alleged incident occurred.

WaPo: Joe Biden denies he sexually assaulted a former Senate aide, calls on National Archives to release complaint if it exists
In a tense exchange late in the interview, Biden repeatedly resisted the idea of querying his Senate papers at the University of Delaware, saying that they do not contain personnel records.

“Why not just do a search for Tara Reade’s name?” Brzezinski asked.

“Who does that search?” Biden replied. Brzezinski suggested the university or a commission could conduct it. Biden then returned to his initial point — that any complaint would be contained in the archives, not his papers.
Looks like "but his papers" is going to be the new "but her emails" for the foreseeable future.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:11 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]




That tweet just says she has no record of the complaint, not that she never filed one, right?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:57 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]


"What's in his papers?" is the perfect, four-word mystery box phrase for six months of attacks that will never come to any conclusion, one way or the other. But then again, it's not supposed to lead to a conclusion, is it? Its purpose is just to circulate in the press and keep the candidate from getting any message out. It's a classic Rovian smear.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:03 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


That tweet just says she has no record of the complaint, not that she never filed one, right?

That's how I read it, though note that it also says that what she was complaining about was that she was made to feel uncomfortable not a sexual assault. Which, yeah.
posted by Justinian at 9:57 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I guess "she complained to the Senate personnel office" is ambiguous. That could indicate a formal written complaint or it could mean she went in and talked to them briefly. Though the later "she has no record of the complaint" does tend towards the formal interpretation.
posted by Justinian at 10:02 AM on May 1


So is their story is that her mother called Larry King because her daughter had felt uncomfortable? And that her neighbor is either making it up, or confabulating a more vivid assault story when in fact Reade back then was just talking about being made to feel uncomfortable? In any case, the idea that she complained in only a vague and informal way to her superiors is a pretty common feature of assault complaints, whether or not Reade's current story is true.

As a separate thing, I don't know how much the Biden campaign is behind this talking point that's all over Twitter, but calling the fight over Biden's stonewalling on his papers (which I expect have nothing in them) an instance of "but-her-emails" is a pretty aggressive weaponization of the HRC bullshit against what is, again, a fairly common #MeToo action (fighting over sealed records).
posted by chortly at 10:08 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Her (and her mother's) past statements had given me the impression that her complaint to the Senate personnel office was (a) an actual official complaint and (b) was a complaint about specific misconduct by Biden.

Now it seems like (a) is in question (there seems to be no clear statement either way) and (b) went right out the window the minute Biden said he was happy to open up the files for inspection.

I fully believe that Biden did what she said he did, because his track record is - ah, hahaha - but I'm just taking a moment to vent some frustration at how both sides are playing politics with an issue that devastates women's lives and careers. Just. Stop. Every single entity in this fiasco SUCKS.
posted by MiraK at 10:21 AM on May 1


> is a pretty aggressive weaponization of the HRC bullshit against what is, again, a fairly common #MeToo action (fighting over sealed records).

The "but her emails" comparison refers to how the Republicans and the media will use this as a fishing expedition to rummage through Biden's entire Senate career, not to the request for release of records that may be relevant to assessing whether the alleged assault occurred.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:21 AM on May 1


There is absolutely no way that Biden can get everyone unfettered access to 100% of his records on everything, that should be clear to anybody who lived through the last 30 years of America. Anyone calling for it is trying to sell you something.
posted by Justinian at 11:20 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I believe the request is to have an independent third party do a search. The idea that anyone is calling for "unfettered access to 100% of his records" is itself a straw man and is an argument often made by those wishing to keep records sealed. There are 100 examples of legitimate #MeToo targets wanting to keep work and other records sealed for every 1 illegitimate example like HRC's emails. Most of the "but her emails" references I am seeing are being used against other factions of the left rather than the right, btw, but that may just reflect the bias in my social media bubbles.
posted by chortly at 11:28 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


> The idea that anyone is calling for "unfettered access to 100% of his records" is itself a straw man

@JonathanTurley: Biden just address the Delaware documents. He repeatedly refused tp agree to release those papers to the public. Those papers could include references to past complaints or allegations. Why the resistance to allowing full access to these papers in Delaware?

@igorbobic: McConnell on whether Biden's Senate papers should be released by the Univ of Delaware:

"When you run for president of the United States your life is an open book and I can't imagine he's not going to have to participate in releasing all the information in the allegations"


Any statement that calls for "full access" or makes "open book" analogies that does not mention a third party investigator can be assumed to be demanding full public release, especially when we're talking about Mitch McConnell. And if you think the media won't find reasons to demand more access if nothing is found, well, you have a very short memory.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:40 AM on May 1


The "but her emails" comparison refers to how the Republicans and the media will use this as a fishing expedition to rummage through Biden's entire Senate career, not to the request for release of records that may be relevant to assessing whether the alleged assault occurred.

GOP senator warns against 'fishing expedition' for Kavanaugh documents (7/29/18)

Jerry Nadler makes new push for Kavanaugh’s White House records (8/6/19)
“Chairman Nadler’s request is so far outside the scope of judicial ethics, it’s harassment,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.). “Senate Democrats spent months launching false accusations in an attempt to smear Justice Kavanaugh’s reputation and block his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now House Democrats want to follow suit with yet another fishing expedition to tarnish his good name.”
This is a legitimate worry when either side expresses it, which is why Nadler and Feinstein were very careful to have their requests administered by third parties. I'm sure there are bad versions on Reade's side who do in fact want to conduct a fishing expedition or don't know how to craft a legitimate search request, but there are also plenty of journalists are making the request properly and it's rebuffing them that the Biden folks need to explain.

[On edit, I see this was posted at the same time as the previous post. I don't doubt McConnell and other Republicans have nothing but the worst intentions, but that doesn't change the fact that many on the left have good intentions and that there are ways to respond to those intentions that don't open a pandora's box. And if not, well, that means "fishing expedition" can halt any document discovery for any future #MeToo political target.]
posted by chortly at 11:40 AM on May 1


Rebuffing is at this point probably a political calculation that there is no positive value in transparency and a lot of downside risk, which is probably the right call, even if Biden didn't do it, or if he did and they're certain there's no evidence in there that he did.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:44 AM on May 1


They're probably right; if they opened everything up and no record of the complaint was found, it would not be seen as entirely discrediting the allegation. Perhaps rightly so! Absence of such an official complaint is consistent with the allegation not happening but it isn't particularly good evidence that it didn't happen. Hell it's barely evidence at all.
posted by Justinian at 11:52 AM on May 1




> Absence of such an official complaint is consistent with the allegation not happening but it isn't particularly good evidence that it didn't happen.

Yeah, and there's a ready-made "Biden operatives walked out with the incriminating records" narrative.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:59 AM on May 1


Rebuffing is at this point probably a political calculation that there is no positive value in transparency and a lot of downside risk, which is probably the right call

They're probably right; if they opened everything up and no record of the complaint was found, it would not be seen as entirely discrediting the allegation.

I expect neither of you mean it this way, but "right" can mean both the morally right thing, and the strategically right thing. I presume you mean only that it's the strategically right thing, but that should probably be clearer unless you actually do mean it is the morally right thing to do as well.

But responding to #MeToo calls with strategic arguments about how what Biden is doing or Kavanaugh did was the (strategically) right thing to do (which it certainly was in Kavanaugh's case) is kind of changing to topic. I think we all agree that stonewalling works best, based on plentiful past examples. But the #MeToo activists are making a moral argument, not a strategic one.
posted by chortly at 12:05 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Woman Claims Biden Sexually Harassed Her When She Was 14 Years Old by Complimenting Her Breasts

I'm sure this will be the last one
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:07 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


Annnnd Reade seems to have changed her story yet again, and is now saying she never made a complaint about Biden touching her or assaulting her, so there will be nothing in the archived paperwork.

From my understanding, this is what Reade said in the interview with Katie Halper, but I think this has been missed by most people. Part of the problem is that in the interview, she goes back and forth through the chronology of events. And then a lot of the commentary after the interview has - intentionally or not - twisted what Reade said about the formal complaint.

From the interview transcript, here's Katie Halper trying to help Reade sum up what she had said up to that point:


KATIE:
Okay. So, okay. So you, there’s sexual harassment that you witness and experience. You go through protocol [this would be talking to her supervisor and then to Dennis Toner and Ted Kaufman], then nothing happens, then you have the incident in the alcove with Biden. You tell your mom, she encourages you to file a police report. You say, no, but I will do something external about the harassment, not the assault.

TARA:
Right. Yeah. And I thought about trying to talk about it. I did. I tried. I just couldn’t, I couldn’t even now, like I, it’s so hard. I mean, I, I’ve worked as an advocate for domestic violence cases and help[ed] kids…but it’s just, there was no framework back then and to be fully clear, my mom educated me after it happened that it was sexual assault. I felt, I felt like it was my fault, that I did bring it on.
posted by Mila at 12:10 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


> But responding to #MeToo calls with strategic arguments about how what Biden is doing or Kavanaugh did was the (strategically) right thing to do (which it certainly was in Kavanaugh's case) is kind of changing to topic

If Joe Biden were not a former US Senator and Vice President and current presidential candidate, there would be no public interest in this particular case of alleged sexual assault. Today's Morning Joe appearance was 100% political in nature, so that's the lens through which I'm evaluating the appearance and the potential next steps. I explicitly said I was referring to a political calculation on the part of his team, and my use of the phrase "right call" refers only to that. The thread is big enough to handle a discussion of the politics as well as the morality -- both are on topic.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:13 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah morally speaking releasing everything is probably the correct move, I just don't think it's likely and for good reason in terms of thep politics.

I'm sure this will be the last one

Oh Joe, ugh.

FWIW if people think we cannot move forward with Biden as the nominee the way to go about that seems to be to pressure other Democrats to call him to step down. Pelosi, the other candidates, etc. So I'd start there. Calling on him to do so directly is likely futile and counterproductive since if he's seen as being forced out rather than stepping down voluntarily that would be disastrous in November.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on May 1


I explicitly said I was referring to a political calculation on the part of his team, and my use of the phrase "right call" refers only to that. The thread is big enough to handle a discussion of the politics as well as the morality -- both are on topic.

Absolutely. From the sequence of comments, I took you and Justinian to be responding to the moral argument that document discovery should proceed, or the procedural argument that there are ways to proceed that aren't mere "fishing," with strategic arguments that discovery isn't in Biden's best interests. But if you were just making the stand-alone argument that stonewalling generally works well and is in Biden's best interests, that's of course correct.
posted by chortly at 12:27 PM on May 1


Further to the emails-ing discussion:
This was just published in one of the nation’s most prominent high brow news outlets:
Here is the transcript of Biden’s interview with Brzezinski, including annotations. . .
Biden: Look, from the beginning, I’ve said believing a woman means taking the woman’s claim seriously when she steps forward. And then vet it. Look into it. That’s true in this case as well. Women have a right to be heard, and the press should investigate claims they make. I will always uphold that principle.  But in the end, in every case, the truth is what matters. In this case, the truth is: The claims are false.
Biden’s answer here is a little disingenuous: During the Kavanaugh hearings, he stated clearly a number of times that he believed Christine Blasey Ford’s account should essentially be treated as true. Biden said she “gave courageous, credible and powerful testimony,” according to the Associated Press. He told the Today show that she “should be given the benefit of the doubt,” in part because “it takes enormous courage for a woman to come forward, under the bright lights of millions of people watching, and relive something that happened to her.” And he told reporters that “for a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts.”
The writer (Emma Green) apparently thinks it makes sense to demand that Biden make the same evidentiary presumptions about the truth or falsity of purported facts of which he has the most direct first-hand knowledge possible as the presumptions he should make about the truth or falsity of purported facts regarding which he has no such knowledge!
posted by tonycpsu at 12:52 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone is asking Biden to believe something he thinks didn't happen. But it's not unreasonable to ask Biden's supporters, who do not know the truth, to apply Biden's stated #MeToo principles, nor is it unreasonable to ask his supporters and Biden himself to support those who, not knowing the facts, are applying Biden's principles, such as "benefit of the doubt" and "the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real." I don't think anyone expects his team, who don't believe it happened, to suddenly start believing Reade out of a general principle of believing women. But I'm not sure how they can criticize anyone who chooses to believe Reade over Biden when those people are just applying Biden's own principles.

And apologies to the mods, but the discussion of the Delaware papers is worth quoting a chunk of. It's buried in a long interview that can't be easily anchor-linked into, but is worth reading:
Brzezinski: Personnel records aside, are you certain there was nothing about Tara Reade in those records?

Biden: I am absolutely certain.

Brzezinski: If so, why not approve a search of her name in those records?

Biden: Approve a search of her name?

Brzezinski: Yes, and reveal anything that might be related to Tara Reade in the University of Delaware records.

Biden: There is nothing. They are not there. And I don’t understand the point you are trying to make. There are no personnel records by definition.

Brzezinski: The point I’m trying to make is that you are approving and calling for a search of the National Archive records—

Biden: Yes.

Brzezinski: Of anything pertaining to Tara Reade. I’m asking why not do the same in the University of Delaware records, which have raised questions because they were supposed to be revealed to the public and then they were sealed for a longer period of time. Why not do it for both sets of records?

Biden: Because the material in the University of Delaware has no personnel files, but it does have a lot of confidential conversations I had with the president about a particular issue, that I had with heads of states of other places, that that would be something that would not be revealed while I was in public office, or while I was seeking public office. It just stands to reason. To the best of my knowledge, no one else has done that either.

Brzezinski: I’m just talking about her name, not anybody else in those records, a search for that. Nothing classified about the president or anybody else. I’m just asking why not do a search for Tara Reade’s name in the University of Delaware records?

Biden: I mean, look, who does that search?

Brzezinski: The University of Delaware? Perhaps you set up a commission that can do it? I don’t know. Whatever is the fairest way to create the most transparency.

Biden: Well, this is—Look, Mika, she said she filed a report. She still has her employment records still. She said she refiled a report with the only office that would have a report in the United States Senate at the time. If the report was ever filed, it was filed there, period.
IMHO, this is not the best of responses to someone who is seemingly in earnest trying to find a pathway forward and not a fishing trip. Again, I myself don't actually think there's likely to be anything in there, certainly nothing more definitive than the mother's call to Larry King and LaCasse's recollections, but that's separate from the question of how to consistently apply #MeToo rules when it's our side.
posted by chortly at 4:53 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


David Jolly (formerly a Republican rep from Florida among other government positions) has a better explainer on the Delaware Records than what Biden said, in this tweet thread. I'll reproduce it here:
Biden's request for the Secretary of the Senate to look for and produce any employee complaint fro. Tara Reade should be getting more coverage. When a congressional staff member is hired, they are hired as an employee of the House or Senate. Their tenure is w the institution, and under the administration of the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate. They work in the office of a member, senator, committee, etc.

They may choose to remain employed with another office when their member or senator leaves, or they may choose to separate from the Hill. But the exit paperwork, as with all paperwork, is handled by the Clerk or Secretary's office, re COBRA, retirement, final pay, etc. When a member or senator leaves, the House or Senate sends all of their office materials from both on-site and those in storage to the retiring member or senator's home, office or designated destination like a university. But those materials do not include employment records.

Employment records remain the custody of the House or Senate because the institution was, is, and remains the employer of all members, senators, and staff members. If records exist of a complaint filed with the Senate, they would not be with Biden's official and personal archives in Delaware. But they would be with the Secretary of the Senate under whatever storage protocols administered by that office for employee records.

Biden was right to request the Secretary of the Senate search for and release any complaints filed with the Secretary by Ms. Reade. Where other politicians seek to hide information, Biden deserves credit for trying to produce it.
I'm not saying everyone will find this satisfactory but it's certainly a more cogent explanation for why Biden did what he did with the records.
posted by Justinian at 5:00 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


The fact that neither Biden nor his people managed to come up with "staffers are not employed by Senators personally but rather by the Senate as an institution and that's why the relevant documents would be there rather than Delaware" is admittedly somewhat concerning in terms of campaigning effectiveness going forward tbh.
posted by Justinian at 5:39 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


"There are no relevant records in the Delaware papers and we are happy to help find a mutually agreeable third party to look through the papers and verify that."
posted by chortly at 5:47 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


> I don't think anyone is asking Biden to believe something he thinks didn't happen.

That's literally what she implied by saying Biden's answer was disingenuous. That he should have a different stance when he knows the accusation to be false because he's the accused. If she had suggested that his supporters apply Biden's standard during the Kavanaugh hearings, then I would agree wholeheartedly, but that's not what a person paid to write for a prominent media outlet wrote.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:17 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Chortly, I'm not sure if you know the scale of the papers you're referring to? It's thousands of boxes of unindexed hard copy. If we appointed a third party to begin looking through it for Reade's name, like, 7 days from now that person might have results for us sometime in 2023.
posted by Justinian at 8:24 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Kevin Kruse, who would know something about researching through documents, says he is speechless at the idea.

He also says it's a stupid wild goose chase from people who don't know what's involved.
posted by Justinian at 8:26 PM on May 1


This is very similar to what Kavanaugh argued about his records, and what Trump has said about his own at various times. I suppose if it's 1,850 boxes with absolutely no indexing whatsoever, including by date, then it truly is a Raiders of the Lost Ark problem. But is it truly just sheaves of papers chucked into unlabeled boxes? Does Kruse actually know, or is he just speculating? I have worked with "unindexed" files in at least hundreds of boxes, and often they are at least indexed by date, which would cut the problem down by a factor of 10 to 100 depending on whether it goes down to months. Mainly, though, I don't think the left would accept the argument that it's too hard to even be worth trying if this was Kavanaugh or Trump, but that's just speculative.
posted by chortly at 9:38 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


NYT Editorial Board
There are growing calls for Mr. Biden to make those records available to see if they contain any mention of Ms. Reade or perhaps others who raised similar complaints about his behavior.

In a Friday interview on MSNBC, Mr. Biden resisted these calls, insisting that his Senate papers do not contain any personnel files and so could not possibly shed light on Ms. Reade’s allegations. He added that they do, however, contain sensitive information about his past work that could be unfairly exploited in a presidential campaign.

While understandable, this concern is not prohibitive — and Mr. Biden’s word is insufficient to dispel the cloud. Any inventory should be strictly limited to information about Ms. Reade and conducted by an unbiased, apolitical panel, put together by the D.N.C. and chosen to foster as much trust in its findings as possible. Admittedly, this would be a major undertaking. Mr. Biden served 36 years in the Senate. He turned over nearly 2,000 boxes and more than 400 gigabytes of data to the University of Delaware; most of it has not been cataloged. But the question at hand is no less than Mr. Biden’s fitness for the presidency. No relevant memo should be left unexamined.
posted by chortly at 9:49 PM on May 1


Maybe you guys were right about the Hilary's Emails comparison (in purely political terms, not moral ones, since even if true the email thing was ridiculous.) Because Trump was accused at least as credibly by how many women? 20? 25? And nothing like that sort of investigation was called for by the NYT, was it? Maybe I just don't remember them writing an op-ed from the entire board about every one of those accusations.

Seems like he may have to do something like they suggest if only to prevent the NYT from running a front page story every day for 6 months like with the emails. I'm sure they'd find something else about it to write though.
posted by Justinian at 10:16 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


A search of NYT editorials gives 115 results for "Trump sexual" (mainly mentions of assault and harassment), a search for "Trump investigation" gives 476, "Trump sexual investigation" gives 46, and "Kavanaugh sexual investigation" gives 10. True, many of these are not calls for document disclosure per se, but the Times, like many media, frequently calls for major investigations into stuff, including sexual harassment. There are also 90 entries for "Clinton email investigation," so there's a long way to go before we have to worry about catching up to that dismal standard.
posted by chortly at 10:47 PM on May 1


...and more than 400 gigabytes of data to the University of Delaware

Most of that's texture maps though.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:00 AM on May 2


Speaking as a computer geek, that 400gb number is just meant to scare not to actually indicate that the task of searching it would be too difficult to bother with.

Much/most of it has to be scanned documents, it'd be really difficult to get that size out of plain text or even Word documents. And that almost certainly means either PDF or TIFF files. If PDF then they might well be OCR'ed already and searchable with a simple command. If TIFF they might need conversion and OCRing, but that's far from impossible and can be done with a decently powerful workstation PC in a few days or a week or three at the absolute most. And then you're back to the simple text search.

All you're looking for is the string "Reade", after that a human would need to look at the document. Given a standard business type workstation PC, 400gb of PDF's would take an hour or three, tops, to search for a string match.

If the documents were paper the search time would be orders of magnitude longer, but I don't care what big scary numbers they throw around, if it's in a computer format then searching it is simple and relatively quick. That's the thing about computers, they do simple repetitive tasks quickly, perfectly, and tirelessly. Text searching is one of the simpler and easier things to do.
posted by sotonohito at 9:28 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Electronic discovery tools have become extremely sophisticated and can handle basically every format imaginable, including automatic OCR of images. 400GB is nothing.
posted by jedicus at 12:11 PM on May 2




FTA: “ Reade was one of eight women who came forward last year with allegations that Biden made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate displays of affection. Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to be “more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.””

I still can’t believe this is the guy who is the presumptive democratic nominee for the presidency. Biden has been a documented creep for years.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:46 PM on May 2 [9 favorites]


fact check: true
posted by Justinian at 1:12 PM on May 2


In their defense, The Powers That Be really did try their best to find someone else, flailing around for months and almost losing the whole enchilada as they trialed one centrist after another, only to finally concede that the stubborn electorate really did prefer Biden to all the others.
posted by chortly at 8:59 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Warning triggers in the link for survivors...

Kurt Eichenwald talks about his experience as a rape victim and why he doesn’t believe Tara after the latest revelations.
posted by interogative mood at 9:20 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Woman Claims Biden Sexually Harassed Her When She Was 14 Years Old by Complimenting Her Breasts

The story is corroborated by six other people


Biden wasn’t at the dinner.
posted by interogative mood at 9:36 PM on May 2


blocked or deleted tweet.
posted by Iax at 10:27 PM on May 2


Re Biden Dinner allegation: Sasha Pezenik, a reporter for ABC, posted a tweet with the headline above, then went on about the allegations for two more tweets, before finally, at tweet four saying "Oh, yeah, but Biden wasn't there, everyone who was there says so, also his calendar shows who he sent in his stead", but by that time, the first tweet had spread like wildfire across the right wing.

Subsequently, after thousands of complaints, the post was removed, either by twitter or by someone at ABC. There has been no mention of it since, including no retraction, no apology, no mea culpa, no nothing.

Pezenik also failed to mention that the accuser was none other than "I'm not a witch" Christine O'Donnell, teahadist and rightwing lunatic, and her niece.

And the GOP is using Tara Reade to try and get into the sealed documents of a former senator and vice president of the country, to try and find something they can use against him. But people who work in Congress don't work for the individual Senators, their employment contracts and procedures are through a department which is independent of the members of congress.

Thus, Biden would have none of Tara Reade's personnel records, those would all be at the archives. Which, when Biden said "Yep, let's search those and find that complaint." Reade changed her story. For the seventh time, if I've counted correctly.

Sometimes, people make stuff up. Like Christine O'Donnell and her niece.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:53 PM on May 2 [5 favorites]


And that's why this whole thing is a clusterfuck.

That entire accusation, including the supposed corroboration, was completely fabricated but the usual suspects in rose twitter jumped all over it and we were ready in this thread to take it at face value.

It's an example of why we have to look at these things, including the Reade accusation, critically and not just assume everything is true.
posted by Justinian at 12:23 AM on May 3 [5 favorites]


> In their defense, The Powers That Be really did try their best to find someone else, flailing around for months and almost losing the whole enchilada as they trialed one centrist after another, only to finally concede that the stubborn electorate really did prefer Biden to all the others.

I do kinda believe that other centrists would have fared better if Biden weren't in the race. And maybe even one noteworthy candidate might have moved to the center / not moved to the left of Bernie.
posted by pwnguin at 12:26 AM on May 3


The part I still don't get is the one or two acquaintances (relatives? neighbor?) who had affirmed Reade's earlier accusation. Like, why would they go along with that. Because a solo liar making lies upon lies, that's totally plausible, but even one or two other people; what's their actual motivation for participating in a coordinated lie (if that turns out to be the case).
posted by polymodus at 12:58 AM on May 3


The so-called centrists had a perfect unity candidate in Warren. But they decided she was too left with all her crazy talk about making billionaires pay a little more in taxes so they sank her.
posted by sotonohito at 8:28 AM on May 3 [16 favorites]


The part I still don't get is the one or two acquaintances (relatives? neighbor?) who had affirmed Reade's earlier accusation. Like, why would they go along with that.

They are not affirming the accusation. They are only affirming what Reade told them.
posted by JackFlash at 8:32 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


That Eichenwald thread is... wow.

The one thing I'll say in Reade's defense, even as someone who finds her shifting accounts increasingly not credible, is that Eichenwald's experience as a victim and Reade's experience as a victim can be different without either of them necessarily lying. Eichenwald's "I would be hard pressed not to kill him" is certainly not the only feeling that victims display toward their assailants, and we have a lot of examples of victims who continued to express sympathy toward their assailants, blamed themselves for the assault, etc. We also know that memory is not flawless, so even if her accounts don't match reality, that may not mean she's intentionally fabricating the story as he suggests.

The fact that Reade is a woman and Eichenwald isn't is certainly relevant as well. I'm not saying being a male victim of sexual assault is any easier than being a woman -- in some ways I'd imagine it's more difficult for many to understand -- but being a man does afford one a lot of privileges that may insulate one from the negative effects of coming forward.

Still, the core of Eichenwald's argument -- that the pattern we're seeing is mirroring exactly that of someone who would be lying or unwittingly advancing a false version of events -- is certainly true. And this is where I'm at. I don't need to know Reade's intent or to speculate on whether the sexual assault occurred to be able to assess her credibility as a narrator, and it's basically zero at this point. That's not to defend Biden, as I don't find it difficult to believe he's gone past the behaviors he's already admitted to, and expect we'll hear from more accusers from now until November. But I think we're at the point where all of the informational value of this particular accusation has been exhausted. Not that I expect that to stop the press from relentlessly covering it for the next six months.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:37 AM on May 3 [6 favorites]


It's an example of why we have to look at these things, including the Reade accusation, critically and not just assume everything is true.

not long before #meToo erupted (and a damned good thing it did), I found myself on the periphery of a community where some accusations were made that ended up tearing that community apart (accusations that I personally found all too plausible) ... only for the accusations to be found to be almost completely lacking in substance. Very long and complicated story short, a handful of careers suffered major (perhaps fatal) blows and that community will never be the same.

My simple takeaway was that it's tactically not wise to just believe anybody when the stakes are so high, regardless of historical, cultural, social context. Accusations obviously MUST be taken very seriously, rigorously investigated etc ... but this demand that we leap to belief -- I just can't go there ever again.
posted by philip-random at 8:55 AM on May 3


The part I still don't get is the one or two acquaintances (relatives? neighbor?) who had affirmed Reade's earlier accusation. Like, why would they go along with that.

According to Wikipedia, there are version problems. Reade felt harassed by Biden and mentioned it to others, but the assault part is only held up by her brother, who texted in his confirmation after changing it.

Collin Moulton, Reade's brother, initially reported to the Washington Post that Reade told him in 1993 that Biden had touched her neck and shoulders. He said there was "a gym bag incident", and that Biden "was inappropriate". Several days after that interview, Moulton told the Post that Reade in the early 1990s told him Biden put his hand "under her clothes."[11] Moulton was also interviewed by ABC News, in which he said Reade earlier informed him about "harassment at work" by Biden, but that he only heard about the assault in 2020. Hours after the interview concluded, he told ABC News that he had heard from Reade in 1993 that Biden had "more or less cornered her against the wall" and "put his hands up her clothes".[37]

Reade told NBC News the identities of five people she had shared her story with, albeit with different amounts of detail. Three do not remember such a conversation. The fourth heard of assault at the time, and also heard that Reade had informed senior aides about harassment, not assault. The fifth heard in the mid-2000s that Biden had been inappropriate and touched her, but there were no details of assault.[38]

posted by Brian B. at 9:03 AM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Eichenwald's experience as a victim and Reade's experience as a victim can be different without either of them necessarily lying

QFT. That Eichenwald thread was primarily focused on his retelling of his own sexual assault, and him attempting to pinhole Reade's account into his experience. Inappropriate IMHO and also illogical. It's like comparing apples and oranges. I don't think being a survivor of a sexual assault which one quite literally has no memory (the assault itself, that is) of is in any way comparable to Reade's experience. He also comes off as really hysterical regarding this story- "I literally hate Tara Reade"- this type of reaction discredits his so-called critical analysis/his "fact checking". He also draws some false parallels, saying that her retelling is going to cause victims to not come forward in the future, which is victim blamey and a slippery slope. Many victims won't come forward for reasons far more personal than experiencing peripherally the potentially dubious sexual assault allegations in the news for a few months. And victims are coming forward now more than ever before in history, because the climate of discussion and understanding of power dynamics has surfaced in the public discourse.
In terms of her narrative changing: I'm reminded of Monica Lewinsky, who at one point several years ago states on the record that her relationship w Bill Clinton was 100% consensual, but she's completely reframed that in the time since then as she's gained a better understanding of the power dynamics at play and can experience her own naiivete and victimhood status in hindsight, as an older adult, as well as gained an understanding of how predatory behavior works.
posted by erattacorrige at 9:50 AM on May 3 [9 favorites]


Sorry, that's not what I was really asking about. The part I don't understand is that there are a couple of people who said they remembered something from decades ago. Is there not credibility to that, at least? If Reade is a liar then either she was already lying to them back then, or she recently in 2019 made them also misremember really badly e.g. through suggestion, or, third alternative, they are active participants in a lie. The problem is that there are two people who made temporal claims about their own event, namely the existence of some kind of conversation with Reade in the 90s/00s.
posted by polymodus at 11:06 AM on May 3


I think that's true of Reade's former neighbor who is clear that Reade told her of the the alleged assault back then. I don't know that it's true of Reade's brother who changed his story a day post-interview after hearing the new allegation. But your question remains valid even if it's just the neighbor who has a credible account of being told about the alleged assault back then since she seems very certain.
posted by Justinian at 11:27 AM on May 3


That entire accusation, including the supposed corroboration, was completely fabricated but the usual suspects in rose twitter jumped all over it and we were ready in this thread to take it at face value.

So is your take that there remain valid questions about Reade's story, or that it is "completely fabricated"? (That's a sincere question btw, I'm not trying to gotcha.)

Speaking just for myself, my position has always been less about the truth of the accusations (I'm still uncertain, though dubious of some aspects) than about how #MeToo should work. Originally, the argument in the media and on Twitter was that there was no point in discussing this because Biden is the nominee. After a few days of pointing out that he can always resign, and in fact would very likely resign if any hard evidence comes to light, and that there are replacement mechanisms ready, then the main argument shifted to practicalities such as document discovery (the NYT itself says this is surmountable), the reliability of coached witnesses (almost always an issue, which is why sequestered juries are so hard), shifting stories (a definite problem for her), and to judge by Twitter, throughout it all her association with Putin or Sanders. It's these issues with how to deal with an uncertain claim that are at the heart of #MeToo, since almost all such claims lack hard evidence.

In the ideal case, I take Biden's Kavanaugh/Ford principles of "benefit of the doubt" and "believe" not to mean believe without criticism, but to be supportive of these sort of claims, which are often by their very nature without hard evidence, and give them a full airing and investigation before either dismissing them, or declaring them undecidable and moving on. Early on when Reade was being ignored or dismissed based on Putin, no hard evidence or impossible document discovery, lack of corroboration, and shifting stories/recollection, that seemed mistaken and the wrong way to deal with such accusations. But once the media have thoroughly investigated the timeline, written a bunch of articles on it, looked hard for corroboration, done whatever document search they could, and aired the story -- all of which I take to be requirements for a #MeToo accusation, especially one targeting the powerful -- then if the whole thing sputters out in uncertainty, well, that's the way it goes.

The strategic lesson from this for powerful (mostly) men is to deny hard and hope than no good corroboration appears, which is a good bet because that is unlikely to occur. If the witness is totally spotless, like Ford, then you take a bit of a hit but are unlikely to lose your position, and if the witness is spotty, like Reade, then you maybe take a short-term hit but nothing substantial. And I guess that's the way it should go. As long as (mostly) men target their harassment so that there's no evidence and few "victims" who might step forward later, they should be fine. But it's hard to know what the alternative is besides encouraging targets to lodge formal complaints going forward and at least give a decent airing to past complaints during the decades (and centuries) when that was impossible.

The Reade business may be nearing its end (though I still support the kind of guarded, third-party document discover advocated by the NYT) but at least it got a better airing than originally appeared likely, and that was my goal (not that I have any effect on anything). Biden takes a slight hit but it won't last and he can afford it. Until anyone else comes forward, we are likely soon back where we began, a serial sexual harasser versus a world-class sexual assaulter and megalomaniac.
posted by chortly at 12:20 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I would said "valid questions" chortly. "Fabricated" refers to the Gridiron Dinner story, though I do think it's problematic that it was being pushed by exactly the same folks who were the first to jump on Reade's accusation; Nathan Robinson, Katie Halper, etc.
posted by Justinian at 12:34 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


(Problematic for the "journalists" involved, I mean, since it indicates they are pretty obviously motivated by partisanship rather than finding the truth. But anybody who is familiar with Robinson et al probably knew that already.)
posted by Justinian at 12:39 PM on May 3


I do not, at all, support document discovery being pushed by the GOP and their mouthpieces, Fox and NYT editorials, and the angry Bernie supporters like Chapo.

Again; Tara Reade was never an employee of Biden. She was an employee overseen, managed and paid by the Senate personnel office. Senate rules governing the preservation of documents means that personnel records are held by the General Services Administration ... which said the documents are located at the National Archives.


They would, under no circumstances be in Biden's files. Searching Biden's files is purely a fishing trip for stuff that has no relevance to Ms. Reade's allegations.

Biden has said:
“There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be — the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices.”

“I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there,” he said.

On Friday evening, he sent a formal letter to the Secretary of the Senate, Julie E. Adams, to figure out exactly where the office records in question might be.

“We had understood that the Senate stores records from this office, and from this period, in the National Archives. The Archives now states that the records would have remained under the control of the Senate,” Biden wrote.

“Accordingly, I request that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this Office, and once they have been located, to direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search,” Biden wrote. “ I would ask that the public release include not only a complaint if one exists, but any and all other documents in the records that relate to the allegation.
Which, I mean, what else is the man supposed to do to clear his name? Opening the confidential records only empowers Trump and his operatives, and could serve no purpose in proving/disproving this allegation.

Look, I'm not happy about Biden. I think he's overly friendly and kinda creepy. I voted for Warren, and would happily do it again. I too am a survivor, and I always start on the side of the accuser, which is why I haven't weighed in on this at all while it was playing out.

But Tara Reade has ceased to be a credible narrator, to me, at least.

In April of 2019, so a year ago, her story was first published in The Union on April 3. She followed it up with a Medium post on April 6, and an opinion piece, also in The Union, on April 19. In these pieces, she says that in addition to the shoulder touching, she was told by a superior that she should serve drinks at an event because Biden “liked her legs.” She asserts that when she refused, Biden’s staff made life hard for her, and she eventually resigned and left DC.

Despite sharing her story hundreds of times in 2019, she never described her experience with Biden as “sexual harassment.” Then, in December 2019 she then wrote 37 tweets about experiencing “sexual harassment” from Biden.

On January 9, 2020, she wrote an article re-telling the drinks-serving episode. That same day, she said she'd filed a harassment complaint.

March 24 2020, was the day the big interview story broke. Reade went back to her April 6, 2019 Medium post and edited it to remove details that contradicted her current telling.

Subsequently, her story has gone from Biden touched her shoulder inappropriately, to Biden pushing her against a wall and putting his hands under her clothes, to Biden being accused of rape.

Reade told NBC that she had shared the story with five friends, but four of the five deny this. Three of them denied her ever sharing any story with them, and the fourth only remembered her mentioning Biden’s shoulder-touching. The fifth agreed with her account, but refused to do so on the record.

On April 27, Lynda LaCasse, a friend of Tara Reade who was not on the list of five friends, said that Reade had told her about the shoulder touching in 1996, that she had forgotten about it, but Tara reached out to her in 2019 to remind her, and then again in March of 2020 Ms Reade contacted LaCasse to remind her of the story. LaCasse has subsequently said that she never heard about sexual assault, and isn't sure she believes Ms. Reade anymore.

Re her brother's story; it's important to note that his story has changed as Ms. Reade's has changed. It's also important to note that both of them are being coached by Nathan Robinson.

Ms. Reade has a long history of being a confabulator; she just makes stuff up. Her Junior Olympics story, her dad being a millionaire jet setter, the various universities she's claimed to have graduated from, there's so many to choose from.

I think she may believe whatever her current story is. I think she may have believed all of the versions of her story. I am absolutely willing to believe that Biden touched her shoulder and she thought it was creepy.

I am unwilling to believe that subsequent version of the story are anything but a ratfuck being directed by forces that are manipulating Ms. Reade so as to gain access to the legally protected documents of a political opponent of the GOP.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:21 PM on May 3 [13 favorites]


If her name wouldn't appear in Biden's records, it seems pretty trivial to confirm that, as Sotonohito mentioned above.
posted by kafziel at 1:56 PM on May 3


There is nothing about her story that seems worthy of abrogating the Presidential Records Act. And it’s not a trivial request, and who would you trust, in 2020 to not see all the papers they would have to go through to find out if her name is mentioned? Most of the records from that period are hard copy, not a searchable database.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:15 PM on May 3


For what purpose would we search the records now She's already acknowledging that she didn't allege sexual assault, and that the behavior she alleged in the report is along the lines of what he's already acknowledged doing to other women -- harassment, for sure, but not to the level of digital penetration.

And "trivial" is overstating the case. For one thing, even if it were all text that we could just grep through, which it almost certainly is not, there would still be "nearly 2,000 boxes" of physical records. Are we going to scan all of those in? And even if we did, would the people JAQing off on this accept a lack of finding them as legitimate, or would they just create even more elaborate stories about how the trailing "e" in Reade's name was interpreted as an "a", which caused the search to fail? And when that's proven, that Biden's campaign simply walked out with the records?

The thing that was alleged to have been newsworthy about those records has now been recanted by the accuser, and the people who know these things believe there's no reason those records would be in his personal files. The only reason to order a search of the records at this point is to keep the story in the news and damage him politically, with the fig leaf of finding a "truth" that the accuser herself has distanced herself from.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:15 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


The so-called centrists had a perfect unity candidate in Warren. But they decided she was too left with all her crazy talk about making billionaires pay a little more in taxes so they sank her

I didn't see the leftists jumping on board Warren's candidacy either. Snake emojis were involved.
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


LEFTISTS (before Warren suspended her campaign): Warren is nothing but an ex-Republican capitalist who betrayed Sanders.

LEFTISTS (now): Warren could have brought us all together!
posted by tonycpsu at 3:09 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


Shake emoji nonsense all happened after she pivoted to the right, having failed to pick up any centrist steam.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


I’d also add that Biden’s clear and obvious deficits as a candidate are absolutely the fault of people who wanted him and not “rose emoji twitter”, and revisionist history on that front is pointless. You knew he was grabby, inarticulate and unlikely to push much of a policy agenda, so you might as well go ahead and own it.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on May 3 [7 favorites]


Shake emoji nonsense all happened after she pivoted to the right, having failed to pick up any centrist steam.

That is.. revisionist history, to put it kindly.
posted by wierdo at 3:45 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


Also, who the hell is "you" supposed to be in this context? I can't recall a single instance of anyone on Metafilter stating a preference for Biden in favor of anyone but Trump or some other shitty Republican.
posted by wierdo at 3:46 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


> Also, who the hell is "you" supposed to be in this context? I can't recall a single instance of anyone on Metafilter stating a preference for Biden in favor of anyone but Trump or some other shitty Republican.

Painting anyone who supports Biden now that he's the Democratic nominee as a Biden die-hard is a standard play out of the anti-anti-Trump playbook.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:51 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


In fairness, I preferred Biden to Pete Buttigieg or Tulsi Gabbard.
posted by Justinian at 3:53 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Meh. I have no interest in kicking off a rehash of the other thread, but in general, yes, people who fought tooth and nail to elect anyone but Bernie are super invested in the sanctity of the Democratic Party primary process and who now react aggressively to any criticism of that candidate are pretty much Biden guys, in my book. The “only neutral player in the room” schtick is kind of garbage.
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


That is.. revisionist history, to put it kindly

Your recollection may differ but I’m It appeared directly after she backed away from M4A and started a bunch of weird attacks, which is roughly when I and probably a bunch of other people lost interest in her for one consultant driven flounder too many.
posted by Artw at 4:36 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure Bernie himself is more of a Biden guy than anyone you're throwing shade at right now.
posted by wierdo at 4:49 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


Bernie is certainly all-in for Joe Biden.
posted by Justinian at 4:51 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


The snake twitter nonsense against twitter started when Elizabeth Warren declined to endorse Bernie Sanders when she dropped out. It was a serious mistake by the Bernie twitter followers because it just pissed off Warren supporters rather than try to win them over.
posted by interogative mood at 5:57 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


I’d say that it had already gotten rolling by then, though that certainly didn’t help, but wherever you are on any of these things the problems with Biden aren’t a problem now because of some cabal of emoji wielding leftists, they are the obvious and predictable problems with Biden that were always going to bd there if he was the candidate.

If anything Bernie run helped forestall this by acting as a media punchbag until now, and you’re seeing the effect of it being gone.
posted by Artw at 6:17 PM on May 3


The details of the Warren thing don't matter for this post, the point was simply that denouncing "centrists" for not falling in behind Warren is disingenuous at best when leftists didn't do so either. When she fell out of favor with them is irrelevant since she wasn't winning the primary before that either.
posted by Justinian at 6:38 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


but wherever you are on any of these things the problems with Biden aren’t a problem now because of some cabal of emoji wielding leftists, they are the obvious and predictable problems with Biden that were always going to bd there if he was the candidate.

Am I misunderstanding you, or are you really trying to suggest that metafilter is a place where some non-trivial number of people "fought tooth and nail to elect anyone but Bernie"? That's just crazy talk. Other than Bloomberg, I'm not sure any other "serious" candidate (sorry Tulsi) had less support on metafilter than Biden. The place to stomp your feet and say "I told you so!" about Biden being a weak candidate is somewhere where a significant number of people thought Biden was one of our best choices.
posted by skewed at 7:07 PM on May 3 [7 favorites]


*shrug* honestly I’ve been through enough politics thread on Mefi, especially in the recent past, that I don’t consider “MeFi leans centrist/establishment dem” even the slightest bit controversial, your milage may vary.
posted by Artw at 7:16 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


the point was simply that denouncing "centrists" for not falling in behind Warren is disingenuous at best when leftists didn't do so either.

If she was going to be the compromise candidate that required support from both sides, for the most part she only got that from one. Again I’m not sure why that’s all that controversial.
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Because it's wrong? Warren's support was split fairly evenly between Biden and Sanders when you looked at 2nd choices.
posted by Justinian at 7:36 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


Lol, if you think most MeFites (especially the mega-thread denizens) are “centrist/establishment dems” you really need to get off the internet and take a look at the reality of the US populace.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:37 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


Honestly coming back to MeFi after a bit away makes me surer of that than anything else. Anyway, clearly a mistake so I’ll leave you guys to it. I’d advise some solution to your Biden problem other than left punching though, it’s not going to work.
posted by Artw at 7:54 PM on May 3 [11 favorites]


please god y'all leave it alone already. we haven't scrounged the 1,000 gold pieces the temple wants to resurrect this dead horse
posted by lazaruslong at 8:07 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


It seems a bit off to complain about people punching at leftists when you're tripling down on punching at centrists who have acquiesced to literally the most leftist platform the Democratic Party has adopted in 30 years..in two consecutive Presidential elections.

And that's coming from someone who doesn't consider themselves a centrist. (I do fully accept the incrementalist label, though)
posted by wierdo at 9:15 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


I think that is because no leftist actually believes the platforms of the centrists. People got burned by Obama and are now less trusting.
Tired of them pre-compromising with the GOP on anything actually to the left.
posted by Iax at 10:46 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


*shrug* honestly I’ve been through enough politics thread on Mefi, especially in the recent past, that I don’t consider “MeFi leans centrist/establishment dem” even the slightest bit controversial, your milage may vary.

Today's centrists are those who fall between communism and fascism, both of which are the same as thought control and displays of loyalty are concerned. One is pseudo-religious and wants us to eat from their hand, while the other is partial to bullying people into conformity.
posted by Brian B. at 11:27 PM on May 3


I'm a communist BTW.
posted by polymodus at 11:39 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


Iax, I agree with your conclusion. Regardless of how progressive the party platform is, I'm hesitant to believe that a candidate with Biden's record is going to fight very hard to implement it.
posted by MrBadExample at 11:51 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


There have been a number of people in twitter alleging that Reade’s stories have a number of inconsistencies that show she’s lying. Does anyone have a good article laying those out?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:12 AM on May 4


woke up this morning to this on my Facebook, not for the first time:

"If you decide you want to vote for the destruction of organized human life on Earth. . . then do it openly. . . . But that's the meaning of 'Never Biden.'" —Noam Chomsky

But did he actually say that, I wondered? The answer is yes.

Some googling eventually gets me to this April-15 interview with the Intercept's Mehdi Hasan. The topic of the "malignancy in the White House" comes up around the 6:40 point. The actual comment quoted above comes in response to a subsequent question from Mehdi at around the 7:20 point. The actual quote comes around the 8:45 point and is as follows:

"So if you decide you want to vote for the destruction of organized human life on Earth, for the sharp increase in the threat of nuclear war, for stuffing the judiciary with young lawyers who will make it impossible to do anything for a generation, then do it openly, say, 'yeah, that's what I want'. But that's the meaning of 'Never Biden'."

And so on ...
posted by philip-random at 8:38 AM on May 4 [6 favorites]


Leftists have already unpersonned Chomsky, so the point is moot.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:30 AM on May 4


There have been a number of people in twitter alleging that Reade’s stories have a number of inconsistencies that show she’s lying. Does anyone have a good article laying those out?

I haven't seen anything definitive. It seems more like there is a long history of her changing her story somewhat in relation to new details that emerge. I'm not sure that's uncommon in cases like these, especially old ones. At bottom, I'm not sure Reade's accusations can be disproven. There is simply too much ambiguity, too much time has passed, etc.

Where I am also frustrated, and this is a separate issue, is her changing story in regards to her support of Russia. It has nothing to do with her assault allegations, but her account of her support has shifted from her writing a romance novel, to writing a serious book, to being brainwashed by Chomsky, et al. as more archived material is found online. Maybe she was doing all those things at once, I don't know. All I know is that the number of conflicting statements she's made about it has made it impossible to understand. I don't even care if she supports Russia.
posted by xammerboy at 9:38 AM on May 4


Someone above said the neighbor seems like a strong witness, or something to that effect. She does, and she appears to the only person with whom Reade shared the full details of her story. One thing I don't understand is why Reade did not point investigators to her earlier. The neighbor apparently reached out and said she remembered their conversation. Had Reade asked a journalist to talk with her neighbor before she publicly leaked the details of her story, her neighbor's testimony would have been far more impactful. Moreover, why did Reade not refer other journalists in followup investigations to her neighbor, who, again, had reached out.
posted by xammerboy at 9:49 AM on May 4



Leftists have already unpersonned Chomsky, so the point is moot.

the wise old man had come down from the mountain and not confirmed their bias. How dare he?
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


It seems more like there is a long history of her changing her story somewhat in relation to new details that emerge. I'm not sure that's uncommon in cases like these, especially old ones.

Yeah, but one of the difficulties with there being no one way people react to assault (which is true!) is that it makes it extraordinarily difficult to judge credibility based on criteria that serve us well in other contexts. Someone constantly changing their story about how their car got wrecked and we'd be like "yeah that's obviously some bullshit" but in a case like this, changing your story a bunch could be evidence of untruth or it could just be something that happens sometimes with assault allegations.

I don't know where the line is but somehow we have to try to distinguish between "inconsistencies because not true" and "inconsistencies because that's what happens sometimes".
posted by Justinian at 10:45 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Or maybe we just leave it as an unknown until new credible information comes to light? That's an option, too. How many people who weren't already against him being the nominee and who wouldn't already be willing to replace him with someone else are truly using the outcome of this specific case to decide their vote?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:55 AM on May 4


posted by MisantropicPainforest: There have been a number of people in twitter alleging that Reade’s stories have a number of inconsistencies that show she’s lying. Does anyone have a good article laying those out?


See a few comments above yours for a quick rundown:
https://www.metafilter.com/186556/The-New-York-Times-Reports-on-Joe-Biden#7921534
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:57 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


tonypsu: I do think "don't do much of anything and wait to see what happens" is the most likely course by far, yes. But there are a bunch of people here calling for his immediate ouster as the nominee which requires making a judgment about it right now. You're probably right that, like Bruenig in the NYT editorial today (yesterday?), those are mostly people who already wanted him out as the nominee though.
posted by Justinian at 10:59 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


A person with a pro-Biden bias has laid out various claims by Tara in this Medium Post
posted by interogative mood at 1:41 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


I didn’t see bias in that medium story, ymmv.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:56 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


This is problematic to me. Someone can be partisan and use the truth for partisan ends but it does also raise questions about partisanship overriding truth.
posted by Justinian at 4:07 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Michelle Goldberg, NYT: Democrats, Tara Reade and the #MeToo TrapDon’t compare the case against Joe Biden to the one against Brett Kavanaugh.
Again: None of this means an assault didn’t happen. Reade’s former neighbor Lynda LaCasse says she recently remembered that Reade told her the story in 1995 or 1996. Other people have told reporters that Reade shared her account with them years ago, but without going on the record by name. (Her brother has said the same thing, but his recounting of the story has changed.)

Still, where things stand now, it’s hard to compare Blasey’s case with Reade’s. Blasey had four sworn affidavits from people whom she’d told that she’d been assaulted, as well as therapist’s notes and the results from a polygraph. She testified, and was cross-examined, under oath. The Democratic plea, at the time, was for a thorough F.B.I. investigation.

Initially, Democrats were credulous when the now-disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti introduced another accuser, Julie Swetnick, but many eventually realized her story didn’t hold up. In the end that allegation probably helped Kavanaugh by discrediting Blasey’s case against him. The episode showed that everyone is best served when “believe women” is taken as a starting point rather than a conclusion.

Now feminists are caught in a trap. They don’t want to repeat the errors many of them made when they dismissed Bill Clinton’s accusers, nor do they want to erode the #MeToo taboo against picking apart the motives and histories of women who recount sexual assault. But just as Reade’s story can’t be wished away because it’s politically inconvenient, neither can its contradictions.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:22 PM on May 5


We've memory holed how credulous many folks were about Swetnick and Avenatti's allegations. Hell, I'm sure there are still people here who insist it must have happened.

But it's an example of how allegations against Kavanaugh were weighed and some were acknowledged as very likely true and some were recognized as quite possibly false. Which seems like a model to emulate going forward.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


The other big difference being Kavanaugh’s disqualifying reaction to the accusation, blowing up indignantly on national TV and calling the whole thing a hit job by the Clintons and other Democrats. Biden has so far been a model of restraint, despite his reputation for verbal gaffes and hotheadedness when confronted.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:45 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


(Not that that has any bearing on the truth of the allegations, but it certainly justifies Democratic opposition to Kavanaugh on judicial temperament grounds)
posted by Rhaomi at 1:52 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]


From Jacobin: If Joe Biden Drops Out, Bernie Sanders Must Be the Democratic Nominee.

Which is what this was about for Jacobin all along.
posted by Justinian at 5:02 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


Biden has so far been a model of restraint, despite his reputation for verbal gaffes and hotheadedness when confronted.

He distributed talking points that lied about the conclusions of the NYT investigation and convinced a bunch of prominent democratic women to tie their reputations to his by rehashing them to the media.

You can already see the result in polling that shows fewer voters will hold politicians accountable for sexual misconduct.

He's made it less likely for people who have been assaulted by politicians to come forward in the future and if further evidence of this assault comes to light a lot of female politicians are going down with him.
posted by zymil at 12:15 AM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Which is what this was about for Jacobin all along.

Even if Jacobin isn't everyone's favorite... in this moment, it's bad form to worry that in a hypothetical case they support the next most popular candidate, as opposed to the most popular one who doesn't always ask first before touching people (women and children, on video, repeatedly).
posted by el gran combo at 12:20 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Which is what this was about for Jacobin all along.

Is there any evidence that Jacobin would stand in support of a politician accused of sexual assault due to partisanship? They don't strike me to be cut from the same ethical cloth as Biden's boosters at Politico and National Review.
posted by Ouverture at 9:14 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


> Is there any evidence that Jacobin would stand in support of a politician accused of sexual assault due to partisanship? They don't strike me to be cut from the same ethical cloth as Biden's boosters at Politico and National Review.

Does near total silence about a politician with an entire Wikipedia page devoted just to their rape and sexual assault history while relentlessly attacking that politician's opponent count? Sometimes, it's the notes you don't play.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:33 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


"Partisan" is what was used to dismiss Ford, Hill, Broaddrick, Daniels, Tweeden, and about 95% of women who have made such accusations -- and in almost all cases it was correct, they were in fact partisan. And that's worth taking into account, but the fact that people who like the accused are more likely to stay quiet while those who dislike him are more likely to speak up is a poor reason to dismiss their stories, if only from a Bayesian point of view. The vast majority of bad information about anyone is likely to come from those who dislike the accused, and that seems especially understandable for those who have shifted their partisan views after the fact, such as Hill, Broaddrick, Daniels, Tweeden, and Reade, who by all accounts liked the men they accused prior to the events in question.

And it seems like a similarly reasonable bias that the attacks on Biden come from those who also dislike him; it's a bias, but a common one and one that we can take into account. Just as those who attack Trump over sexual assault generally hate him for other reasons, and the newspapers attacking Kavanaugh tended to be left of center, and those attacking Bill Clinton from the left in the 90s tended to be on the far left, just as those attacking Biden over Anita Hill tend to be. Human motivation is multi-pronged, and that's worth taking into account, but it doesn't qualify the accuser or the journalist if they are prompted to take additional actions because they also dislike the politics of the accused. Unless you think the dozens of previous female-written feminist articles on Jacobin are just deep cover for the Bernie agenda, their feminist and #MeToo concerns are sincere, just accelerated by their anti-Biden feelings. That's not meant as a special defense of Jacobin though, and it cuts both ways: they were very ready to leap to Bernie's defense against Warren, accusing her of weaponizing #MeToo during the whole "women can't win" thing, and went too far with that. But again, that's just standard bias that no one is free from: they have views about candidates and views about feminist issues and those things can synergize or clash and that affects what they report on and how -- and how we should read them -- but that doesn't disqualify them or reveal that it's all a "mask" any more than it disqualifies any of us who have pre-existing opinions about politics. It's just another thing we need to take into account in reading the news and trying to figure out the truth.
posted by chortly at 9:36 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


Does near total silence about a politician with an entire Wikipedia page devoted just to their rape and sexual assault history while relentlessly attacking that politician's opponent count? Sometimes, it's the notes you don't play.

Please use names because I don't know which politicians you are talking about here.
posted by Ouverture at 9:46 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Please use names because I don't know which politicians you are talking about here.

I can't tell if this is a joke or not, but here you go
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:52 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


If you really think Jacobin has maintained "near total silence" about Donald Trump over the last few years, I suggest actually reading the publication instead of getting a summary about it from the war criminal centrists Jacobin regularly criticizes.
posted by Ouverture at 9:57 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


I was quite obviously speaking about the lack of discussion of his sexual assault history.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:58 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


See: site:jacobinmag.com "sexual assault" "trump" -biden with 27 results, only one of which is relevant, vs. site:jacobinmag.com "sexual assault" biden with 500 results, with at least the first entire page directly attacking Biden for his.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:02 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Ah. It makes sense to me that leftists would spend more time holding liberals accountable because at least there is some shared ground (or at least liberals would have been able to credibly claim before this) around being anti-rape, among other things. It's also not as though there is a shortage of writing around Trump's awful behavior and crimes.

It's the same reason why I, as a person of color, would rather spend my time changing the views of liberals than Neo-Nazis.
posted by Ouverture at 10:09 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, here is the founder of Politico:
Washington journalist Martin Tolchin in a letter to the editor published Tuesday in The New York Times argued that he wants a "coronation" for former Vice President Joe Biden and not an investigation of a sexual assault allegation against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

“I don’t want an investigation. I want a coronation of Joe Biden," Tolchin, a founder of Politico who is also a former top editor of The Hill, wrote in the piece.
I can't imagine someone writing that in Jacobin about Bernie Sanders, but then again, Sanders isn't the one being accused of sexual assault and making many women and girls uncomfortable.
posted by Ouverture at 10:15 AM on May 6


> Ah. It makes sense to me that leftists would spend more time holding liberals accountable because at least there is some shared ground

Then why did you dispute the premise until it was proven false?

> (or at least liberals would have been able to credibly claim before this)

This is a despicable thing to say in regards what to amounts to differences in views on the credibility of the allegations of a single accuser. As said above, "believe women" is a starting point, not a conclusion.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:20 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


It's the same reason why I, as a person of color, would rather spend my time changing the views of liberals than Neo-Nazis.

I would reconsider. The far right and the far left are almost identical. Their appeals to populism solve the same problems. They both need a savior who promises revolution. They both believe in top-down morality from public office and they both follow the leader from a sense of guilt and self-righteousness that create their inner turmoil and zeal. The only difference is that one is exclusive in their view of power, while the other only claims to represent all the rest, but secretly shares the same power exclusion once power is achieved. It all comes down to PR over who represents the supply-side.
posted by Brian B. at 10:25 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Jacobin is extremely eager to write up every negative aspect of any candidate that isn't currently the furthest-left in the field. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is not a perfect human being.

Why is Jacobin totally silent on Sanders' less-than-stellar record on gun control? Jacobin acknowledges that nuclear power is a critical piece of any climate change plan, but has nothing to say about Sanders' refusal to allow nuclear power as part of his climate change revolution. Sanders is widely said to be deeply unpopular among his colleagues in the Senate; where are the critiques questioning his ability to get anything done in office if elected?

It is totally their prerogative to hype up the bad aspects of candidates who aren't the ones they prefer, and gloss over the bad aspects of candidates they do prefer. But let's not pretend it isn't happening, whether it be in Jacobin or Politico or anywhere else.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:27 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Then why did you dispute the premise until it was proven false?

The premise of Jacobin sticking up for Sanders if he was accused of the same as many liberal "feminist" leaders and writers have stuck up for Biden? That was the premise I initially asked about.

This is a despicable thing to say in regards what to amounts to differences in views on the credibility of the allegations of a single accuser. As said above, "believe women" is a starting point, not a conclusion.

It's not just a single accuser. The New York Times wrote that Biden made many women and young girls uncomfortable (and only deleted that once the Biden campaign complained).

Imagine the outrage if the Times did that after the Trump campaign complained.
posted by Ouverture at 10:28 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I would reconsider. The far right and the far left are almost identical.

Please tell me more about how people of color and the neo-Nazis who want to exterminate them are almost identical.
posted by Ouverture at 10:34 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]


> It's not just a single accuser. The New York Times wrote that Biden made many women and young girls uncomfortable (and only deleted that once the Biden campaign complained).

Mostly False
An article from the website of a conservative organization claimed "New York Times Editor Admits Biden Sexual Assault Story was Censored at Behest of Biden Campaign."

The Times removed 13 words from a 2,500-word story about a new sexual assault allegation against Biden.

The Times’ editor said that after being contacted by the Biden campaign, the paper deleted, for better clarity, a portion of a sentence that referred to Biden’s previous physical contact with women.

The same words that were taken out of the sentence remain in the story two paragraphs before, stating that women had spoken out about Biden "kissing, hugging or touching them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable."

For a statement that contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, our rating is Mostly False.
But if your trusted circle of legitimate media sources includes Current Affairs, The Young Turks, and The Intercept, I can see why you'd come to a different conclusion.

Wait, sorry, those links actually go to Fox News, The Washington Examiner, and The National Review. My mistake.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:35 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


That actually matches up with what I read (which was the explanation by Dean Baquet). I don't follow anyone on Twitter because it's a waste of time.

The New York Times removing something from an article because the Biden campaign complained (but still left it earlier in the article because it is so concerning and indefensible) doesn't somehow make Biden or his campaign look better.
posted by Ouverture at 10:47 AM on May 6


I can't imagine someone writing that in Jacobin about Bernie Sanders

Sure, and nobody wrote it in Politico either. It's from a Letter to the Editor, the same place you can find people arguing about chemtrails and aliens.
posted by Justinian at 10:49 AM on May 6


Sure, and nobody wrote it in Politico either. It's from a Letter to the Editor, the same place you can find people arguing about chemtrails and aliens.

It's from the founder of Politico, not some obscure conspiracy theorist.

I'm curious by what it would take for Biden supporters to turn away from him. Video footage? DNA evidence?

Or is it really that it doesn't matter because the stakes are too high?
posted by Ouverture at 10:52 AM on May 6


Please tell me more about how people of color and the neo-Nazis who want to exterminate them are almost identical.

You mean the far left? The far left and far right want to eliminate each other in the same ways. Idealism expresses itself that way, by eliminating the other competing idealists, especially first among themselves (because their mass appeal to power emanates from purism and thought control).
posted by Brian B. at 10:52 AM on May 6


You mean the far left? The far left and far right want to eliminate each other in the same ways. Idealism expresses itself that way, by eliminating the other competing idealists, especially first among themselves (because their mass appeal to power emanates from purity and thought control).

As a "far leftist", I want people to have healthcare, education, good jobs with dignity, and political leadership who aren't rapists or war criminals. How is that the same as the far right's dream of mass lynchings and concentration camps?
posted by Ouverture at 10:55 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


It's from the founder of Politico, not some obscure conspiracy theorist.

... in a Letter to the Editor. Who cares what he did before he was retired? He didn't publish his letter in Politico.

I'm curious by what it would take for Biden supporters to turn away from him.

I'm curious what it would take for you to actually spend a tiny fraction of the time, effort, and energy you put into attacking Democrats into fighting against Trump.
posted by Justinian at 10:58 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Well see they both (far left and right) want people to do stuff they don't want. And both of them get angry! Where is the decorum?
posted by Iax at 10:59 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


> The New York Times removing something from an article because the Biden campaign complained (but still left it earlier in the article because it is so concerning and indefensible) doesn't somehow make Biden or his campaign look better.

You keep saying "deleted" and "removed" despite the fact that nothing was actually removed, as the PolitiFact analysis clearly shows. The words you say were deleted are still there in the NYT story if you click through to it.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:00 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


... in a Letter to the Editor. Who cares what he did before he was retired. He didn't publish his letter in Politico.

This seems like a strange distinction to get hung up over. Is this one so bothersome because he is saying the quiet part loud? Because the stakes are so high?

I'm curious what it would take for you to actually spend a tiny fraction of the time, effort, and energy you put into attacking Democrats into fighting against Trump.

Once I see a Democratic party who isn't a rapist or a war criminal or ineffectual on climate change, I'd love to shift my energy on not worrying about getting stabbed in the back by woke drone murderers.

But instead, we got Biden.

I answered your question. How about you do the courtesy of answering mine?
posted by Ouverture at 11:06 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


You keep saying "deleted" and "removed" despite the fact that nothing was actually removed, as the PolitiFact analysis clearly shows. The words you say were deleted are still there in the NYT story if you click through to it.

From the analysis you linked:
It concerns a 2,500-word New York Times article published April 12 that examined the allegation. Following its publication, the Times removed 13 words from one sentence after receiving an objection from the Biden campaign.
So is the Politifact analysis you linked correct or not?
posted by Ouverture at 11:07 AM on May 6


Oh my god you're going to die on the hill of the "cut" part of a "cut and paste" being a deletion, aren't you?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:09 AM on May 6


This seems like a strange distinction to get hung up over.

Your point was literally that nobody would write that in Jacobin. The only way that point has any relevance is if somebody would write that in Politico. But nobody wrote it in Politico or anywhere else, it's in a Letter to the Editor. Where people can write any old bullshit without regard to facts, truth, or journalistic integrity. Your point seems to be that some dude who helped found Politico then later, not in Politico, on his own wrote a Letter saying something dumb and that somehow reflects Politico or other mainstream news places being in the tank for Biden? It's dumb. (His letter, not you, sorry.)
posted by Justinian at 11:11 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


How about you do the courtesy of answering mine?

sure, but it depends on what you mean by "turn away from him"? Do you mean not vote for him in November if he's running against Trump, or do you mean calling for him to be replaced on the ticket now?
posted by Justinian at 11:12 AM on May 6


sure, but it depends on what you mean by "turn away from him"? Do you mean not vote for him in November if he's running against Trump, or do you mean calling for him to be replaced on the ticket now?

If Biden's still on the ticket in November, I don't think there is any other choice. I'm talking about before November.
posted by Ouverture at 11:15 AM on May 6


[Brian B, please drop it, this isn't the place for a super broad "does leftism invitably turn into stalinism" discussion. This is specifically about the Biden accusation. Everybody else please let's try to keep this on a footing of "we're here because we want to be talking to the other people who are here". Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:17 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, here is the founder of Politico:

No, Martin Tolchin wasn't a founder of Politico. He was a founder of The Hill 26 years ago. He hasn't worked for the New York Times in almost 3 decades. The dude is 91 years old and hasn't worked as a journalist since -- well, a very long time.

Kind of weird to use him as a symbol of biased journalism.
posted by JackFlash at 11:21 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


To support replacing Biden before November I'd have to see allegations which seemed bad enough and likely to be true enough to override the serious damage which would likely be done to the chances of replacing Trump in November. Reade's new allegation is bad but I think the evidence for it being true is substantially below that threshold.
posted by Justinian at 11:22 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


The far right and the far left are almost identical.

Interjectionally, the above claim is not supported by public opinion data, even in its milder more common formulations. If you look at the ANES, CCES, GSS, or most other well-established social science surveys, they all show that even when you get to the self-defined far-left 5-10% (about a fine a resolution as you can get with a 2,000-10,000 person survey), those folks are far less racist, less sexist, less interventionist, more in favor of helping the poor, more in favor of active government, and basically more everything generally associated with "liberalism" than the far right is. In fact, they are more liberal than the center, and are more liberal than the center-left (those that define themselves as a 2 or 3 on the standard 7-point left-to-right scale) based on specific questions about African-Americans, women, the poor, and the government. There may be a 10,000 assholes on Twitter who are similar in disposition and behavior to the far right, but they are a tiny segment of a tiny segment; the vast majority of the self-described far left are genuinely more liberal in almost all opinion measures.
posted by chortly at 11:23 AM on May 6 [14 favorites]


I have been giving the matter a lot of thought. I watched the Tara Reade interview on Democracy Now back in March and was surprised at my lack of reaction to it. As a rape survivor who has had visceral reactions to these kinds of stories in the past I wondered why. I have very little regard for Joe Biden, once he started surging in the primaries even as a political junkie i had to tune his victories out.  Biden brings nothing to the ticket, he's been in the pocket of the the big banks et al (the Senator from DuPont) and will do nothing to foment real change. It's all very disheartening.

But I can't get behind Tara Reade either and not just because this is not going to get the DNC to drop Biden in favor of Sanders. The story as described would be entirely believable if Biden had Bill Clinton's reputation. Joe is not the guy to take chances with women in the halls, he's a smarmy glad-hander who is constantly looking for approval. He's the pious, hard working Amtrak shuffler  - it's his brand, all the while his siblings and son trade on the name taking in millions.  

And I don't forgive him his mistreatment of Anita Hill. the one positive is Hill's call for a thorough investigation of Ms Reade's claims. Very pleasing on some level.

I hope it is thoroughly investigated, the first step being uncovering the initial complaint with the Capitol Hill personnel office. The three staffers that she said she went to have no memory of it, either all three are lying or sexual harassment complaints were so commonplace as to be routine. Can they sign affidavits?
But this has to be dealt with. Just because Trump is a proven creep does not make this better, it leaves us apathetic and disgusted.

I worry that Jacobin is going all in on this. They are an important part of the political dialog, but they are insisting that Ms Reade's accusation should be acted on. I have seen the call for Biden to be dropped repeatedly. What does this serve? What precedent are we setting? Can any largely uncorroborated accusation be enough to counter millions of primary votes? 

The litmus test that you must assert that Joe Biden raped Tara Reade in 1993 or you are no true progressive is foolhardy and ridiculous. I voted for Bernie after Warren dropped out and have always cleaved to the left wing of the party but this nonsense leaves me exhausted.

After the initial interview left me without the familiar visceral reaction I sat with that for a while. I've given it a lot of thought. Reade went to law school and is no fool, there are some things from her past when brought to light make her seem like someone willing to stretch the truth, but to what end?

I'm inclined to leave it to Anita Hill. Let Professor Hill set the parameters for an investigation. And get it done.
posted by readery at 5:02 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


No, Martin Tolchin wasn't a founder of Politico. He was a founder of The Hill 26 years ago. He hasn't worked for the New York Times in almost 3 decades. The dude is 91 years old and hasn't worked as a journalist since -- well, a very long time.

That's what it said in The Hill piece. Mediate has this to say instead:
Update 4:55 p.m. EST: This article has been updated to clarify Tolchin’s role at Politico. While he helped launch the site, a Politico spokesman told Mediaite he was not a co-founder.
Being a founder of The Hill sounds even more important to me, but maybe it isn't? I'm an outsider here so I'll take the word of others here for it.

And why keep bringing up his advanced age? Aren't elder white statesmen a big part of the liberal/centrist political world that Biden proudly operates in?

Kind of weird to use him as a symbol of biased journalism.

I don't think I said anything about journalism, biased or otherwise? I was initially talking about Jacobin defending someone like Sanders if he had done something as grotesque and unacceptable as Biden.
posted by Ouverture at 5:29 PM on May 6


Because you're equating "a letter to a newspaper written by a dude who no longer works for or at Politico/The Hill" with "Politico/TheHill being in the tank for Biden". Those aren't remotely the same thing. Do you think I can't dig up stuff that writers and editors have said which are not in the magazine Jacobin itself which you would object to me attributing to the magazine? I see they published some stuff by Jeremy Corbyn. Want to bet I can find some problematic stuff he's written? Does Jacobin endorse it?
posted by Justinian at 5:41 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


> Joe is not the guy to take chances with women in the halls, he's a smarmy glad-hander who is constantly looking for approval. He's the pious, hard working Amtrak shuffler - it's his brand, all the while his siblings and son trade on the name taking in millions.

Er, I get that your experience as a victim entitles you to speak with some authority about the topic that I can not, but this notion that only certain types of men (or women) commit these awful acts is at odds with everything else I've read about the topic, including from other survivors. I think Reade has serious credibility problems, to the point where I've gone from "Biden probably did it" to completely undecided about whether he did it, but he seems just as capable of something like this as anyone else.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:56 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm with you. I am not saying he isn't capable of it. But what Joe Biden is above all is unbridled ambition packaged as the poor kid from Scranton with the common touch. He told people he wanted to be president in college. What's this, his fourth run?
So that leads me to lean towards less likely, why take the risk?
But it would not shock me to find out otherwise.
posted by readery at 6:57 PM on May 6


That's just not the way it works AFAIK. It's like saying Bill Cosby would never dare to assault a woman because his entire brand, career, and life was built upon an image of wholesomeness. Assaulters gonna assault.
posted by Justinian at 7:27 PM on May 6 [6 favorites]


It's also well known that most abusers have multiple victims. Biden has been subject to multiple background checks and nothing else like this has come out. These are the same kinds of background checks that Democrats wanted to reopen for Kavanaugh. Arguably, Biden has already undergone the kind of investigation asked for in Kavanaugh's case.
posted by xammerboy at 9:01 PM on May 6


A genuine question I have is how they do a background check on Senate complaints when the relevant office declared that they can't release that information to anyone ever and can't even let it be known what might or might not be in their records. Is this just a new bit of McConnell calvinball and heretofore those records were searchable?
posted by chortly at 9:12 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


The Jacobin article is troublesome because it's taking seriously what they know to be a conspiracy theory, namely that Biden will be replaced and if his supporters are vocal enough his replacement will be Bernie. Most articles don't begin with apologies for being written. This one does, along the lines that Jacobin must write about this theory because it's being talked about, and, by the way, if it does happen, and who knows really, it's true that means Bernie is the new candidate. It's designed to foment calls for Biden to step down so that Bernie can take his place.
posted by xammerboy at 9:26 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Is this just a new bit of McConnell calvinball and heretofore those records were searchable?

The short answer is that it's calvinball. The longer answer for me is that it fits the pattern of Republicans calling into legal question that which no one thought to question before. If the senate cannot release the records of a legal complaint, to anyone, not even a court of law, then what is the point of making a complaint?
posted by xammerboy at 9:31 PM on May 6


> A genuine question I have is how they do a background check on Senate complaints when the relevant office declared that they can't release that information to anyone ever and can't even let it be known what might or might not be in their records. Is this just a new bit of McConnell calvinball and heretofore those records were searchable?

Yeah, that's kind of a weird twist. If McConnell knows or believes there's nothing incriminating in the records, then he'd love to drag this out, and Biden's lawyers may want to sue to have them released. If there were something bad in them, it seems like Moscow Mitch would probably have enough connections to get them leaked, depending on how securely they're stored and who has access. (Where's Nic Cage when you need him?)

If Biden really does want them released, the most straightforward way to find out what's in them would be to have Democrats attach a rider to the next bill they consider that amends the law. If McConnell balks, then that's a sign there's nothing there.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:34 PM on May 6


One concern I have is that bad actors will weaponize being able to hurt a candidate with an accusation that is very difficult to disprove because it does not include a place or time. There have been several bad actors making false accusations during the primaries, and for the most part their allegations were debunked through fact checking.
posted by xammerboy at 11:20 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Is this just a new bit of McConnell calvinball and heretofore those records were searchable?

The Secretary of the Senate who wrote the letter denying release of information is Julie Adams who spent six years as an aide to McConnell before he promoted her to her current position. She does nothing without McConnell's direction.

McConnell has no interest in doing anything that might help exonerate Biden. Which gets back to Biden's claim about his "Republican friends" in the Senate. This is exactly how it's going to go for four years if Biden is president and McConnell remains majority leader. This is how it goes if any Democrat is president.
posted by JackFlash at 11:33 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]


bad actors will weaponize being able to hurt a candidate with an accusation that is very difficult to disprove because it does not include a place or time.

in a rational world "very difficult to disprove because it does not include a place or time" wouldn't so much disqualify an accusation as immediately put it in the "look into this after the election" file.
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on May 6


Further, the fact that nothing has been released strongly suggests that there is nothing significant in Biden's records about Reade because I can guarantee that McConnell has had Julie Adams carefully scour through the files for any dirt she could find.
posted by JackFlash at 11:41 PM on May 6


Reade herself says there wouldn't be anything significant in the records. Biden likely wants them released for that very reason. Either because he didn't do it and wants to show that, or because he did do it and thinks it will bolster the lie. Either way, we know there isn't anything in the records in as much as we can know anything.
posted by Justinian at 12:02 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Do any of the articles out there discuss past examples, when such documents were released either publicly or privately to background checkers? What was the standard practice for this for all the past Senators who have run for P or VP? It seems like past cases would at least be useful for pressuring the Senate to be consistent or explain the rule change.
posted by chortly at 9:27 AM on May 7


Sanders isn't the one being accused of sexual assault and making many women and girls uncomfortable.

Sanders was accused of enabling a culture of sexual harassment in his 2016 campaign and ignoring complaints about his senior staffers. He gave a standard non-apology apology for it in 2019.

This follows a similar pattern complaints regarding racial discrimination. His campaign and supporting PACs have also made extensive use of Non-Disclosure Agreements that block workers who leave from speaking out.
posted by interogative mood at 10:09 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


xammerboy: "One concern I have is that bad actors will weaponize being able to hurt a candidate with an accusation that is very difficult to disprove because it does not include a place or time. There have been several bad actors making false accusations during the primaries, and for the most part their allegations were debunked through fact checking."

Not just candidates, either. From earlier today:

She Said Anthony Fauci Sexually Assaulted Her. Now She Says Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Paid Her to Lie.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:15 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Do any of the articles out there discuss past examples, when such documents were released either publicly or privately to background checkers?

I have not seen anything and would be interested in knowing if other people know of past examples. It sounds unprecedented to me. The only comparable investigation that comes to mind is Hillary's emails.
posted by xammerboy at 10:19 AM on May 7


From the Fauci story:
"He looked rich and powerful, and I love smart men with grey hair. He told me all about his fantastic career in medicine, so I went upstairs," Rodriguez wrote of her fictional meeting with Fauci at the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. After detailing some ineffective hotel bed wrestling and managing to flee with her honor intact, Rodriguez closed with the statement, "Now, when I see him on TV touted as some kind of hero, I want the nation to know the truth. This is my truth. This is my story."
posted by xammerboy at 10:36 AM on May 7


I have not seen anything and would be interested in knowing if other people know of past examples. It sounds unprecedented to me. The only comparable investigation that comes to mind is Hillary's emails.

Keep in mind that precedence has absolutely nothing to do with anything that McConnell does. It's one-off pure politics every time.
posted by JackFlash at 10:47 AM on May 7


I do have a couple points where I'm confused.

How did Biden defenders reach the conclusion that it is simply inconceivable that Biden would commit sexual assault? We literally had a thread on MeFi only a few months ago about Biden's long, well documented, videotaped, history of being really creepy and hugging, touching, and sniffing women and young girls. Not that all creeps are rapists, or all rapists are creeps, but the idea that it simply beggars the imagination to think of Biden as a sexual predator seems to be at odds with his well documented history of being among the Democratic Party's most prominent creeps.

I'm also confused as to what it is that the Biden defenders want from the detractors. With only a couple of exceptions those of us who are deeply unhappy with Biden's selection as the nominee have (often repeatedly) said that we'd be voting for him despite our unhappiness. This, however, seems insufficient to the Biden defenders, and I'm not sure what those defenders want.
posted by sotonohito at 10:56 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


How did Biden defenders reach the conclusion that it is simply inconceivable that Biden would commit sexual assault?

There's been, like, one person in the entire thread who said anything that could even remotely be interpreted that way and it received pretty immediate pushback.
posted by Justinian at 11:03 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Further, the fact that nothing has been released strongly suggests that there is nothing significant in Biden's records about Reade because I can guarantee that McConnell has had Julie Adams carefully scour through the files for any dirt she could find.

Why would they release it now, when it would be relatively easy to replace Biden?
If nothing is released in December I could buy this argument, but right now it would be much smarter for them to sit on any hard evidence. Let even more people hitch their wagon to the Biden train, and then blow it up.
posted by Iax at 11:04 AM on May 7


Again, even Reade says she thinks her Senate report is just a general complaint of feeling uncomfortable working for Biden.
posted by xammerboy at 12:00 PM on May 7


Also I'm pretty sure that releasing any info in December would not have much effect on Trump's re-election chances.
posted by Justinian at 12:01 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


How did Biden defenders reach the conclusion that it is simply inconceivable that Biden would commit sexual assault?

No one is saying this.

We literally had a thread on MeFi only a few months ago about Biden's long, well documented, videotaped, history of being really creepy and hugging, touching, and sniffing women and young girls.

None of which means he's a rapist.
posted by xammerboy at 12:01 PM on May 7


From nycsouthpaw: Tara Reade cancelled interviews last weekend w/ Chris Wallace and Don Lemon, citing security concerns and a desire to look for more paperwork. This afternoon BI’s Rich McHugh says she’ll first be interviewed independently of traditional tv by Megyn Kelly.

Megyn Kelly is definitely your go-to journalist when you're trying to get truth out there into the public sphere.
posted by Justinian at 12:05 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Former Fox News professional liar, but left because of sexual harassment, and is now trying to be perceived as mainstream. Perfect choice if your intent is to troll the Democrats.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:11 PM on May 7


None of which means he's a rapist.

At the least, a very powerful, very unrepentant, propagator of rape culture.
posted by avalonian at 12:12 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Josh Barro:: In which one of Tara Reade’s allegedly corroborating witnesses claims to have misled a reporter in 2019 because of Reade’s own wishes.

Links to this vox piece by Vox's editorial director, Laura McCann.
posted by Justinian at 12:24 PM on May 7


Quote from the vox piece:
All of this leaves me where no reporter wants to be: mired in the miasma of uncertainty. I wanted to believe Reade when she first came to me, and I worked hard to find the evidence to make certain others would believe her, too. I couldn’t find it.
posted by Justinian at 12:25 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


(Laura McGann, sorry for the typo)
posted by Justinian at 12:38 PM on May 7


All of this leaves me where no reporter wants to be: mired in the miasma of uncertainty. I wanted to believe Reade when she first came to me, and I worked hard to find the evidence to make certain others would believe her, too. I couldn’t find it.

Continued:

None of that means Reade is lying, but it leaves us in the limbo of Me Too: a story that may be true but that we can’t prove.

The article also touches on on the hypocrisy between the treatment of Biden in 2020 and the treatment of Franken in 2017.
posted by avalonian at 12:54 PM on May 7


My bet is that in a month we won't even be talking about this. There are serious problems with the case for Reade, but its not clear she's lying, and she definitely isn't an obvious bullshitting right-wing plant. Polls are showing that this isn't really going to change anyone's voting behavior.

A much better scenario would have been that Biden was disqualified months ago because of his repeated sexual harassment of women. This is well documented. Its also less serious than assault.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:33 PM on May 7


> My bet is that in a month we won't even be talking about this.

I'll take you up on this bet depending on who "we" is. Certainly, right-wing outlets and the anti-anti-Trump left will be talking about it a month from now, demanding investigations and the release of documents no matter how many investigations are conducted or how many documents are released. And I'd be willing to bet mainstream outlets like the NYT, Politico, and CNN are doing the "questions raised shadows cast clouds emailsed" act as well.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:53 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm greatly looking forward to months of "there is no new information but here is a story about the controversy!" articles.
posted by Justinian at 3:08 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


I don't think Biden will ever be able to do an interview without being asked about Reade.
posted by xammerboy at 3:28 PM on May 7


"A much better scenario would have been that Biden was disqualified months ago because of his repeated sexual harassment of women. This is well documented. Its also less serious than assault."

An even better scenario would have been if self-identified/registered democrats & primary voters didn't overwhelmingly throw their support behind his candidacy despite knowing all of this.
posted by asra at 4:05 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Wait, I thought it was a candidate's job to get people to vote for them, not the electorate's fault for choosing the wrong candidate. Or does that just apply when the candidate is a Clinton?
posted by tonycpsu at 4:13 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Theres enough fault to go all around.
posted by asra at 4:16 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]






Because that's not enough of a plot twist, he's also represented several Weinstein accusers, claims to have vocally supported Blasey-Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings (and has the video clips to prove it), and brought claims against Fox News over the Seth Rich controversy. Of course that doesn't insulate him from a conflict of interest in terms of his support for Trump, but he doesn't appear to be a complete partisan hack on first glance. Still, the "indistinguishable from trolling" vibe is strong.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:17 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


That Vox article is good. After a fairly careful and agonized journey, it does come down as basically doubting the assault claim, mainly because the story changed in the middle to add the assault. But she also mentions her own anonymous source who only later added the assault memory, who may be the same as the anonymous building-neighbor interviewed by Time, who presumably overlap with the two anonymous AP and NYT sources, and are different from LaCasse and the brother (the mother being dead). There seem to be a number of others who corroborate the harassment, but for the assault itself we have five people, all of whom, Vox and others eventually conclude, must be lying about the assault. I suppose I am leaning in that direction myself, but it's odd that we seem to be collectively deciding that a conspiracy among five people, three of them only indirectly connected to Reade, is more likely than that a famously handsy man assaulted a woman in a hallway in the 90s.
posted by chortly at 6:48 PM on May 7


Court records appear to indicate that Tara Raede was charged with check fraud in August of 1993. This is the same month she resigned from Biden's office. The same month her mother called Larry King and talked about her problems.
posted by interogative mood at 7:44 PM on May 7


but for the assault itself we have five people, all of whom, Vox and others eventually conclude, must be lying about the assault.

Are you sure about the 5 people? I think a couple of them are overlapping anonymous sources. For corroboration that Reade told them about the assault I count Reade's brother, Reade's ex-neighbor LaCasse, and Reade's friend the former intern for Ted Kennedy. AFAIK any other sources only corroborate that she talked about harassment. That's not in any way a defense of workplace harassment, only not what we're talking about in terms of a sexual assault.

I admit I'm having trouble keeping the overlapping anonymous sources apart though. News outlets do not say whether their source is the same source as other outlets are using and I wish they would.

Court records appear to indicate that Tara Raede was charged with check fraud in August of 1993. This is the same month she resigned from Biden's office.

Is this real? I don't want to propagate false info. Have news outlets confirmed it because I don't see it anywhere?
posted by Justinian at 8:02 PM on May 7


FWIW that screenshot of a purported court case is really setting off my scooby sense. I would be quite careful spreading it around unless there is actual confirmation it is for real.
posted by Justinian at 8:13 PM on May 7


It looks pretty legit from what I've seen of similar databases in other states, but it may well not be the Tara Reade. If it is, it certainly calls her narrative of the circumstances of her departure from Biden's office into question.

What would be delightful is if sexual harassment and assault were taken seriously enough by the authorities that people making accusations didn't have their entire lives aired to the public. It shouldn't be any of my damn business whether or not she got in trouble for check kiting or not, but it kinda has to be when we are expected to evaluate the veracity of women's claims about public figures because the (in)justice system doesn't do anything about it.
posted by wierdo at 8:22 PM on May 7


Are you sure about the 5 people?

Yes, you may be right, it may just be four. Reade, her brother, and LaCasse make three publicly. Vox's source (who like Reade and her brother, only later added the assault detail) may be the same as the NYT source, WaPo source and AP source. The AP article does mention another two people, one public and one anonymous, who corroborate the harassment story, but they don't seem to have heard the assault story. So that's eight for harassment (counting the mother and ex-husband), but perhaps only four for assault, though it may be more if the anonymous source isn't the same for everyone. LaCasse and the anonymous source I guess are the hardest ones: what we're saying is that we think it's more likely to be a conspiracy between Reade, her brother, her neighbor from 30 years ago, and some anonymous co-worker/friend, than it is that Biden the serial harasser and likely harasser of Reade, assaulted her once in a hallway in the 90s. I guess I myself am leaning that way, but it's a shitty world that an assault claim with three corroborators and another four harassment corroborators is over-ruled by the belated addition of an assault accusation, a lack of documentary evidence, and the firm word of a man in power.
posted by chortly at 8:32 PM on May 7


About a week before she was made to resign from Biden’s office she was charged with check fraud. It seems probable that those two events were related. I’m not a fan of making her entire life public and based on what I’ve seen elsewhere on other sites this thread seems to be practicing reasonable restraint.
posted by interogative mood at 9:38 PM on May 7


1996 court document confirms Tara Reade told of harassment in Biden’s office
In the filing dated March 25, 1996, Dronen testified that he met Reade in the spring of 1993 while the two worked for separate members of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Dronen wrote that Reade told him she “eventually struck a deal with the chief of staff of the Senator’s office and left her position.”

“It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on (Reade), and that she is still sensitive and effected (sic) by it today,” Dronen wrote.
posted by Cezar Golescu at 9:50 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


About a week before she was made to resign from Biden’s office she was charged with check fraud.

Again, based on what are you making this assertion? That dubious screenshot by a rando on twitter?
posted by Justinian at 10:28 PM on May 7


For what its worth, to my understanding the chief of staff referred to in the court document would have been Ted Kaufman. Kaufman later served as Biden's replacement as senator from Delaware when Biden become VP. He was succeeded by Chris Coons in 2010. Ted Kaufman denies ever receiving any such complaint.
posted by Justinian at 10:34 PM on May 7


About a week before she was made to resign from Biden’s office she was charged with check fraud. It seems probable that those two events were related. I’m not a fan of making her entire life public and based on what I’ve seen elsewhere on other sites this thread seems to be practicing reasonable restraint.

The NY Times hit piece even mentions that she changed her name in the late 90s. Her last name was Moulton at the time that was filed.

Sometimes, more than one person has the same name.
posted by kafziel at 10:46 PM on May 7


I woke up gobsmacked that the debate many people are having is whether Biden is a rapist or someone who is not a rapist just a sexual harasser. I don’t know what to do with this information.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:08 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


This New York Times Article includes a picture of her official Senate ID card. The name on the ID card is Tara Reade.
posted by interogative mood at 4:44 AM on May 8


I woke up gobsmacked that the debate many people are having is whether Biden is a rapist or someone who is not a rapist just a sexual harasser. I don’t know what to do with this information.

It seems Al Franken's error was not to run for president.
posted by Ouverture at 6:03 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Oh, COME ON
Over the weekend, another attorney, William Moran, told the AP he was working with Reade.

Moran, who works at a law firm in Columbia, Maryland, previously wrote and edited for Sputnik, a news agency founded and supported by the Russian state-owned media company Rossiya Segodnya. A January 2017 report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign said Sputnik was part of “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine,” which “contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”
posted by tonycpsu at 7:06 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


I woke up gobsmacked that the debate many people are having is whether Biden is a rapist or someone who is not a rapist just a sexual harasser. I don’t know what to do with this information.

Given he's one of the two people who will be the President in January of 2020 what else are we supposed to do? Just... not care? "I don't care if the nominee sexually assaulted someone 'cause I'm voting for him either way"? Is that actually better than trying to determine if he did it as well as we can on incomplete information?
posted by Justinian at 8:58 AM on May 8


Honestly, wtf does it matter if he sexually assaulted or “just” sexually harassed someone? His actions matter to Reade but this isn’t a jury.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:35 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


So close up the thread we're done here I guess? If it doesn't matter what he's done or not done because you're voting for him anyway then might as well not look at the news for 8 months and just show up on election day.
posted by Justinian at 9:56 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


I mean, some people will change their voting and/or advocacy behaviors based on the allegations, and other people do not believe that they have the luxury of that choice given the abhorrent-ness of Trump. Some people believe we may be able to get a definitive answer and others do not. Each of these truths can coexist, and from my perspective, none of them are really inherently wrong. Or intended maliciously.
posted by mosst at 10:12 AM on May 8 [7 favorites]


I mean, if someone’s decision calculus is such that, “I’ll vote for Biden if he committed sexual harassment, but not if he committed sexual assault”, I understand the logic of it but it’s a really weird principle to abide by.

Matt Yglesias has been on a tirade attacking Reade and effectively arguing that Biden is lying about everything, Reade is lying about some things, and the story should go away.

The evidence that Biden committed sexual harassment and has lied and continues to lie about it is really strong! This is a big fucking deal!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:34 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I don't think "I'd feel less bad about voting for someone who creepily touches hair than someone who rapes people" is a particularly weird principle and doesn't actually require defense of creepily touching hair.

Biden has admitted and apologized for the unacceptable touching stuff so I can't see how that constitutes continuing to lie about everything.
posted by Justinian at 10:39 AM on May 8


[I'm going to suggest that if we're pretty much at a point in the discussion where it's an argument between "sexual harassment and sexual assault are a fucking problem that shouldn't be ignored, but we'll probably need to grudgingly vote for not-Trump given the circumstances and stakes" vs "we'll probably need to grudgingly vote for not-Trump given the circumstances and stakes, but sexual harassment and sexual assault are a fucking problem that shouldn't be ignored", there may not be a whole lot of light left to be found in having the same few folks keep at it in here. Maybe let's aim to just leave this to well-substantiated contentful updates on the story for now instead of looking for disagreements on the margins to loop on.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


For a change of pace instead of reaching though a victims past looking for lies, lets take a look at the accused?

Biden does have a history of lies.
He lied for years about his first wife and daughter getting killed by a drunk driver, when there was no evidence the other driver was drinking at all, and the authorities actually believe it was her fault as she went through a stop sign.
After lying about it for years, causing pain to an innocent family Biden sent them an apology letter in 2001, after the daughter of the driver asked him to stop lying. And he did stop for a few years. Then in 2007 Biden started it up again.
posted by Iax at 11:15 AM on May 8 [9 favorites]


One problem is that many people online generally are claiming that Biden is a rapist and his sexual harassment equivalent to Trump's. The first accusation is far from clearly true, and the second lacks all sense of proportion. It's important, because there seems to be an effort on the right and left to hurt Biden's candidacy by promoting conspiracy theories, false equivalencies, and confusion designed to mislead and exhaust the public in an effort to depress voting. These same kinds of attacks were instrumental to Trump's win in 2016.

We will likely never know whether or not Reade's accusation of sexual assault or harassment is definitively true. Reade has said the evidence likely does not exist. This isn't a court of law. If someone wants to believe Reade as a conclusion rather than as a starting point, one has every right to do so, but let's not pretend that there isn't room for legitimate doubt as well, or that someone who has doubt is hypocrite, a betrayer of women, complicit in rape (as Reade has accused AOC), etc. Let's not join the collective calls for Biden to step down as if that's the only justified response to this accusation.

As far as Biden's sexual harassment, I would hope we can also agree that this is not equivalent to Trump's. None of Biden's accusers call his inappropriate touching harassment or assault other than Reade. Again, it's a free country, and I think it's fair to characterize repeated invasion of personal space, as well as touching, sexual harassment, but it risks blurring the distinction between Trump and Biden's behavior, especially when the characterization is repeated online and many people are unaware of the specifics of the allegations.
posted by xammerboy at 12:24 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Biden has admitted and apologized for the unacceptable touching stuff so I can't see how that constitutes continuing to lie about everything

Genuine question: can you point me to where/when this happened? I don't remember hearing about admissions and apologies from Biden about that.
posted by Gadarene at 12:35 PM on May 8


Joe Biden pledges to respect women's 'personal space'.

It's more of an acknowledgement than an apology than I remembered. So admitted yes, apologized... sorta half-assed.
posted by Justinian at 12:39 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Thanks!
posted by Gadarene at 12:51 PM on May 8


From the BBC article:

An acknowledgement "social norms are changing" but still "it's the way [he's] always been, it's the way I try to show I care about them and I'm listening."

"The boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset."

So less an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and more an acknowledgement of a change of rules that - while he doesn't seem to agree with the change - he does agree to abide by said changes.

So no apology and debatable whether he acknowledged anything other than a moving of goalposts.

Great.
posted by avalonian at 12:52 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


One problem is that many people online generally are claiming that Biden is a rapist and his sexual harassment equivalent to Trump's.

I mean Trumpists are doing this, but can’t we ignore them?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:57 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Biden has been referred to as a powerful, unrepentant, promoter of rape culture several times in this thread. Many of the accusations of equivalency come from the left.
posted by xammerboy at 1:26 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


Biden has been referred to as a powerful, unrepentant, promoter of rape culture several times in this thread. Many of the accusations of equivalency come from the left.

That's uncharitable and a logical stretch, especially if pertaining to the participants in this thread.

Joe Biden can absolutely be a powerful promoter of rape culture (video shows he has been) and yet not equivalent to the current president. I don't believe anyone here has said the two men are in sum total the same poison.
posted by el gran combo at 4:16 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


Joe Biden pledges to respect women's 'personal space'.

Two days after his pledge, here's Joe Biden, joking about consent: I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie (crowd: laughter, applause)
posted by AceRock at 7:18 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]


The fact that E. Jean Carroll's extremely credible allegations against Trump got virtually no traction in the media is absolutely incensing to me.

Everything is terrible.
posted by Gadarene at 7:27 AM on May 9 [9 favorites]


Yesterday I said that I believed the screenshot showing the check fraud stuff may well be fake but there's enough confirmation today (Ryan Grim, for example) that I withdraw that. The relevance is still up for debate but the charges themselves roughly contemporaneous with her departure from Biden's office are apparently real.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 PM on May 9


For a change of pace instead of reaching though a victims past looking for lies, lets take a look at the accused?

This rundown by Lyta Gold seems rather damning:
You know who’s not a very credible narrator? Joe Biden. His 1988 presidential campaign fell apart when it was revealed that he had plagiarized speeches by a British MP (including a line about being the first college graduate in his family “in a thousand generations” which wasn’t just plagiarism but a lie, since Biden “in fact did have relatives who attended college.”) His 1988 campaign was also damaged by the revelation that he had invented a number of fake academic accomplishments, such as graduating at the top of his class at Syracuse University College of Law (he finished 76th out of 85, and also plagiarized a law review paper when he was a student.) Since then, Biden has said on several occasions that he used to be a civil rights activist: “I was one of those guys that sat in and marched and all that stuff,” he said at a campaign event in 1987. But in the same year he also said, “I was not an activist. I worked at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Delaware. I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. I was involved, but I was not out marching.” Biden has also claimed to have been arrested while protesting apartheid in South Africa, but this never, ever happened. He recently said he opposed the Iraq war from the start, a lie which CNN called him out on; he claimed in March that he opposed the bankruptcy bill, when he in fact wrote it!

Biden has told more lies than I have the time or the stomach to recount. In Counterpunch, Bruce Levine has an excellent overview of Biden’s most egregious falsehoods. The most disturbing might be the one where Biden repeatedly claimed in public that his wife had been killed by a drunk driver who “drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch.” But this isn’t true at all—the driver, Curtis Dunn, was not at fault, and wasn’t drunk. The whole thing was just a horrible accident. Levine reports: “This falsehood of course deeply hurt Dunn. His family made many attempts to get Biden to correct it, and finally in 2009, after Curtis Dunn was dead, Biden called Dunn’s daughter to apologize.” (Incidentally, Biden is running for President in 2020 on a promise to restore “decency and honesty and character” to the White House.)
posted by Ouverture at 5:04 PM on May 9 [11 favorites]


Very convincing, he was not a good choice for nominee, glad I didn’t vote for him.
posted by skewed at 6:19 PM on May 9


Breathalyzers were not routine in 1972, drunk driving rules were a lot more lax and the police reports regarding the crash have long since been either lost or destroyed. Biden has said he was told at the time the guy was drinking.
posted by interogative mood at 9:00 PM on May 9


"A pal of Biden at the time" asked Delaware Judge Jerome Herlihy to investigate the accident. He told CBS News, "There was no indication that the truck driver had been drinking." "She had a stop sign. The truck driver did not," Jerome Herlihy told [Politico]..."I concurred in [the state police's] decision that there was no fault on his part." And last fall, a spokesman for Biden said that the senator "fully accepts the Dunn family's word that these rumors were false."

But who among us has not repeated a rumor for decades despite protestations it was false? You go to war with the lying, plagiarizing, groping, incarcerating and bankrupting candidate you have, not the one you might want.
posted by chortly at 10:02 PM on May 9 [6 favorites]


I find Biden problematic and flawed, but I do not find him evil or intentionally criminal. A lot this reads like an attempt to make to paint him as the latter.
posted by xammerboy at 11:43 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I find Biden problematic and flawed, but I do not find him evil or intentionally criminal. A lot this reads like an attempt to make to paint him as the latter.

What does it matter if he unintentionally supported the greatest act of white supremacy in the 21st century thus far and then lied about it? He still supported it and then lied about it.

Intent is not magic, especially when it comes to genocide. The fact that Biden has a consistent record of lying, both when it matters and when it doesn't, should be incredibly concerning, not whether or not he's intentionally lying all the time.
posted by Ouverture at 7:41 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


Concerning to what end, though? It's like when the articles freaking out that McConnell is relentlessly packing the judiciary are published like clockwork. Yes, we know. Yes, it's not good. No, there's not really anything we can do about it until November. So... ok I guess, thanks for reminding me for the billionth time.

Frankly what I think about Biden's past statements is that Donald Trump has killed 100,000 Americans so far through his malfeasance and that number is growing by thousands every day. That's what I think about Biden's bad campaigns in the past and his statements about drunk driving.
posted by Justinian at 11:18 AM on May 10 [9 favorites]


I dunno, I like to know about things even if there's nothing I can do immediately about them. I've been aware of the court packing, but knowing about the scope of it will help me make the moral case for retaliative court packing if we're fortunate enough to live long enough to see a Democratic Senate. When it comes to attacking Biden's record in election, there does come a point at which relentlessly hammering the anti-Trump candidate begins to become indistinguishable from Trump advocacy, such as toward the end of that Lyta Gold piece where she downplays Trump's sexual assault history in order to make Biden's look comparable, but holding Biden accountable for his actions and expecting him to do better is going to be necessary if he does win in November.

Now, do enough of such discussions dissuade a certain number of people from turning out for Biden, from encouraging their friends and family members to do the same, or from volunteering / donating to defeat Trump in November? Certainly. Is that number small, relative to the total size of the electorate? Probably. Is that small number big enough that it could be a significant component of some purple states going red? Probably. But, is it small enough that any number of other factors, including the fact that our shitty primary process led to the selection of one of the worst possible choices, could have far more of an effect the outcome? Yeah, I think it is.

So, while I think calling it "genocide" is a bit much considering Trump's multi-pronged assault on people of color over the past three years, I do accept the point that the BAPACP was terrible legislation that ruined many Americans financially, with the burden falling disproportionately on people of color. And while Biden's history of lies and embellishments isn't even measurable on the same instruments we would use to try to measure Trump's complete disregard for the truth, they're still concerning, and something we'll have to be mindful of if he's elected. It's still important to put Biden's misdeeds in context with Trump's, though, and I think a lot of the anti-anti-Trumpers see Democrats as the real enemy in a way that's dangerous, but they are few in number, and their influence isn't nearly what it looks like on Twitter.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:59 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


I actually agree with everything you wrote, tonycpsu, I just think we've reached the point you identify where anti-anti-Trumpers are becoming indistinguishable from Trump boosters. I'm not advocating ignoring Biden's sins, I'm saying that when we strip them of context we lose all meaning.

Chris Hayes was interviewed by Isaac Chotiner in an article published today and part of it addresses Reade, Hayes' coverage, and the hate he has received for that coverage. I encourage people to read it since he makes the same kind of point in likely more eloquent terms.
posted by Justinian at 12:27 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Frankly what I think about Biden's past statements is that Donald Trump has killed 100,000 Americans so far through his malfeasance and that number is growing by thousands every day. That's what I think about Biden's bad campaigns in the past and his statements about drunk driving.

Is this some form of "America First" liberalism where the lives of millions of Iraqis and Syrians just aren't worth as much as the lives of Americans?

That's the genocide I'm talking about, not the BAPACP.

If there was nothing wrong about cheerleading for the Iraq war, why does Biden keep lying about it?
posted by Ouverture at 6:23 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


So, while I think calling it "genocide" is a bit much considering Trump's multi-pronged assault on people of color over the past three years, I do accept the point that the BAPACP was terrible legislation that ruined many Americans financially, with the burden falling disproportionately on people of color

I'm 95% certain that Ouverture is referring to the second war in Iraq in which, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of innocent people who look like me were murdered.

In a previous thread, they explain my frustration better than I can:
I still can't understand why Americans refuse to see the Iraq War (and the sanctions before them) as one of the deadliest and most significant acts of white supremacy in our lifetimes. A handful of loud leftist voices being mean online gets so much attention and that seems to be enough to discount and disqualify a leader, but where is the moral outrage for the leaders who have the blood and suffering of millions on their hands?
posted by el gran combo at 6:26 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Whoops, sorry I didn't preview. Make that 100% certain.
posted by el gran combo at 6:28 PM on May 10


I don’t know why you would ever think that Americans would or even could see the Iraq War in the context of white supremacy and racism. That’s a very unique take on it; but I don’t think it resonated in terms of the national conversation on those topics. It feels a bit like you are just trying to brainstorm ways to attack Biden in hopes something sticks.
posted by interogative mood at 6:48 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


I don’t know why you would ever think that Americans would or even could see the Iraq War in the context of white supremacy and racism. That’s a very unique take on it; but I don’t think it resonated in terms of the national conversation on those topics. It feels a bit like you are just trying to brainstorm ways to attack Biden in hopes something sticks.

Most Americans don't see mass incarceration in the context of white supremacy and racism. I imagine most Republicans don't see the Civil War in the context of white supremacy and racism.

That doesn't somehow change the white supremacist and racist impact of all these things, including the Iraq War.

It's interesting how even just bringing up facts is now "brainstorm[ing] ways to attack Biden". That's a very unique take, but the accusation is incredibly grotesque.
posted by Ouverture at 6:54 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


I don’t know why you would ever think that Americans would or even could see the Iraq War in the context of white supremacy and racism. That’s a very unique take on it; but I don’t think it resonated in terms of the national conversation on those topics. It feels a bit like you are just trying to brainstorm ways to attack Biden in hopes something sticks.

Is it reasonable to expect people on Metafilter to be able to recognize those facts?
posted by kafziel at 9:47 PM on May 10


> Is this some form of "America First" liberalism where the lives of millions of Iraqis and Syrians just aren't worth as much as the lives of Americans?

Or maybe it's that you made a vague reference, so I scrolled back to try to find the context from your previous post and made a different connection than you intended. But go ahead and blame me for missing your point instead of making it clearly. Maybe get some new material, though, since you already used the "America First" epithet on someone else earlier in the thread.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:04 PM on May 10


Ouverture, what's your end game here? Is it to convince people not to vote for Biden or just to try to make them feel shitty and hate themselves when they do? 'Cause I don't see what else you could be doing? It's either Biden or Trump.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 PM on May 10 [13 favorites]


I was already feeling shitty and hating myself at the mere thought of doing it, so I'm all set on that score.

Really, though, is anyone who's planning to vote for Biden not feeling shitty and hating themselves about it? Knowing something has to be done to stop literal fucking fascism is a lot different from feeling good about the non-fascist choice. Has there been even one comment in this long-for-the-post-megathread-era discussion saying complementary things about Biden that don't require a "compared to Trump" qualifier?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:29 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


Is it to convince people not to vote for Biden or just to try to make them feel shitty and hate themselves when they do?

You're a member I consider very informative and thoughtful, and I wish you wouldn't (in the form of a question) imply that someone who doesn't quite agree with you is an accelerationist or intentionally mean.
posted by el gran combo at 7:34 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


No problems with another member accusing two others of adhering to a nationalist slogan popularized by Nazi sympathizers, though?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:50 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


If you're talking about "America First", I wasn't aware that was the implication, but I can see how it reads that way. Thanks for the heads up, and on second look, I dislike that comparison as well.
posted by el gran combo at 8:07 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Must be nice to be in a position where you have the luxury of feeling shitty about voting for Biden in the General election. To be so free of the consequences of prolonging the Trump administration that you’ll spend your energy attacking Biden rather than enthusiastically backing the all but certain democratic nominee.
posted by interogative mood at 8:12 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


is anyone who's planning to vote for Biden not feeling shitty and hating themselves about it?

Irrespective of who the nominee was going to be, I was always going to be happy and proud to stand in solidarity with so many good people working to elect him or her.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:26 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Must be nice to be in a position where you have the luxury of feeling shitty about voting for Biden in the General election. To be so free of the consequences of prolonging the Trump administration that you’ll spend your energy attacking Biden rather than enthusiastically backing the all but certain democratic nominee.

The idea that only privileged cis white males are not voting for Biden or Trump is empirically false. Many women and POC on the left are not voting for Biden and whatever your viewpoint is do not erase them.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:06 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


I 2008 and 2012 I was stoked to vote for Barack Obama. The same Barack Obama that was against gay marriage until someone named "Joe Biden" got out in front of him and forced the issue. I wonder what that Biden guy is up to today?

On election night 2008, of 2,000 comments, there were maybe two people willing to give Obama any shit for not being in favor of gay marriage. It's not like it wasn't on people's minds - Prop 8 was up for a huge vote in CA. There were more people willing to claim that Obama was secretly in favor of gay marriage, but was just cannily refusing to admit it. Hey, why bother talking about the candidate's stating position when you can just give 'em a mulligan and credit them for a position they've explicitly disavowed?

So I utterly reject the idea that I have to feel shitty and bad about voting for Biden, who's running on a platform well to the left of Obama on any number of issues, when everyone in 2008 was just patting themselves on the back in giddy excitement for a guy unwilling to stick up for the obvious moral imperative to prioritize marriage equality as part of his campaign.

To be clear, this isn't me saying you should feel bad if you happily voted for Obama. You should feel good for making the right choice, because elections are for making choices. But if you were willing to give Obama some float on 2008 and posit that he was secretly holding many more policy positions in line with yours than he was willing to admit to, maybe you can give Biden some float too?
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:18 AM on May 11 [7 favorites]


[No comments removed, but folks maybe turn this energy around? Harassing other people into voting the way you want isn't now or hasn't ever been a thing we do here.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:21 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Big difference here is that Biden was much more known than Obama.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:23 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Ouverture, what's your end game here? Is it to convince people not to vote for Biden or just to try to make them feel shitty and hate themselves when they do? 'Cause I don't see what else you could be doing? It's either Biden or Trump.

"End game?" I want to discuss Biden's misogyny, white supremacy, and dishonesty. I have no interest in making people feel one way or another.

Besides, wouldn't Biden's misogyny, white supremacy, and dishonesty be an asset in a competition against Trump? Shouldn't that make liberals feel good since all they care about is beating Trump?

What is the "end game" for you and your 102 comments here? Is this something we interrogate posters on now, or just the leftist PoC ones?
posted by Ouverture at 9:46 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


[Turn. This. Energy. Around. Please.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:48 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


With Tara Reade’s Allegations, Joe Biden’s Campaign Is Only the Latest Chapter of America’s Accountability Problem:
The lack of impetus to replace Biden speaks to how Washington, D.C., has long neglected creating a culture of accountability. Some of the darkest chapters of U.S. history have been classified away. Our villainous past remains unprosecuted as bipartisan bombs continue falling. America’s lack of understanding wrongdoing enables figures who should have atoned in order for the country to progress to instead linger in political relevance.

If you supervised torture and destroyed evidence, like Gina Haspel, you can still get promoted. If you’re a war criminal, like George W. Bush, you can be rehabilitated. If you’re a judge, credibly accused of sexual misconduct, like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, you, too, can become a Supreme Court justice.

Now, high-profile Democratic endorsements for Biden signal that a quest for the truth — and a reckoning for the allegations against him — will never come.

“I think that’s really what’s corrosive about this moment, is this idea that you can try to shred Tara Reade’s credibility and stick up for Joe Biden and still say that you have any kind of commitment to ending sexual violence, that you have any kind of commitment to women’s rights,” Melissa Gira Grant, a staff writer at the New Republic, explained on Intercepted. “I don’t think you get to have it both ways.

[...]

...Biden’s inability to admit fault — he has said, “I am not sorry for anything I have ever done” — simply shows that he is a byproduct of an institution of impunity. America, too, doesn’t do apologies. Reparations for black people and native people are nowhere in sight. We didn’t prosecute torture and we won’t prosecute war crimes. The cancer at the core of this nation is one of fundamental injustice, hidden beneath platitudes of freedom, liberty, and equality for all. To remove Biden would be to indict American exceptionalism itself.

Liberals like Biden, who believe that America’s divisions can be healed by a new president, don’t see this country as built on exploitation. To understand how we heal, we have to view America through the painful lens of wrongs committed. Accountability must be viewed as a feminist issue, especially in a nation that wove oppression into every fiber of its flag.

America should live in shame until we admit fault, recognize hurt, and ask for forgiveness. Joe Biden can go first.
I hope to god that Trump loses. The left has no future down the timeline where Trump gets re-elected. But what does accountability and justice look like for individuals and nations if Biden wins?
posted by Ouverture at 9:52 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Deep into in a thread ostensibly about credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault, it seems like the persistence his defenders here needs more explanation than the persistence of his critics.

800 posts in, where on the internet could possibly be more harmless than here for harsh criticisms of the assured candidate?
posted by chortly at 10:16 AM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Big difference here is that Biden was much more known than Obama.

It's been long known that an extensive political history to dig through is a distinct disadvantage in a campaign. That's how you got Trump over Clinton. That's how you got Bush over Gore. A relative newcomer or outsider has never had to make any hard calls or political compromises in a real government position.
posted by JackFlash at 10:16 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


it seems like the persistence his defenders here needs more explanation than the persistence of his critics.

I haven't commented much here but I've definitely dropped a lot of favorites. I guess my chief motivator is terror ... that the various not always aligned interests of those opposed to Trump will again allow for enough division, confusion, rage, apathy etc to secure another four years of The Worst President Ever and very possibly The End Of The World (and not just as we know it).

So yeah, my defense (as you call it) of Biden is entirely colored by that. Not my first choice to lead the Dems, not my second-third-fourth-fifth-sixth either. But he's the guy we've got. Please stop tearing him down. We need him standing ... until after November anyway.

I'm Canadian by the way, so stuck on the sidelines, but as Robin Williams so eloquently put it, we're like a beautiful apartment suite built above a crack lab, if it blows up, we go with it. So don't f*** this one up, Americans. See the forest for the trees. Trump is over if you want it.
posted by philip-random at 10:47 AM on May 11 [11 favorites]


Please stop tearing him down. We need him standing ... until after November anyway.

Much better to criticize Biden now, and give him and his team an opportunity to figure out how to effectively respond to those criticisms now, instead of holding our tongues and letting Trump blindside him in November. I don't think we can expect Trump to hold back, nor do I think charges of hypocrisy (wrt misogyny, or sinophobia, etc) will have much of an effect. He is a Republican after all.
posted by AceRock at 10:55 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


What's an example from the past where a candidate developed an effective response to a criticism due to intraparty pressure between the primary and the general election?

This theory of effect implies, for example, that Obama would have had some good response to Jeremiah Wright that blunted its impact in the general election - did he? What was it? Did Hillary Clinton have some good rejoinder for "You're unlikeable" that played well in the general?
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:01 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


You're probably using the Socratic method there, already knowing the answer, but I'll answer anyway! It's not actually about helping Biden prepare for the general, and it won't have that effect any more than all the intraparty attacks on Hillary Clinton for being a corrupt neoliberal warmonger helped her in the general. It damaged her significantly and dogged her all the way to November. It didn't blunt those attacks when Trump made them, it amplified and legitimized them.

The idea that these attacks are meant to help Biden in the general, or at least will have that effect, are a back-formation to rationalize the attacks people were gonna make anyway.
posted by Justinian at 1:12 PM on May 11 [14 favorites]


Feminism Should Make You Uncomfortable:
Liberal feminists had another option, which was to say nothing, and wait for more information. From a professional standpoint, delay would have been prudent; it would have also been more ideologically consistent. Democratic politicians serve feminist aims more often than their alternatives. But settling repeatedly for the least-worst name on a ballot becomes a self-reinforcing pattern. The party will shove Biden after Biden at us, and when we resist, ask us when we decided to support the nation’s Trumps instead.

There is no simple way out of the predicament that Biden and his allies have created. But premature attacks on Reade boost a candidate at the expense of a movement. They tell us only that the lessons of Me Too can be set aside as soon as they are inconvenient. That strategy might serve electoral politics, but it betrays feminism. The movement exists to critique power: to identify its abuses and demand its redistribution. Accept that, and you don’t serve the political class; you’re in tension with it. That’s uncomfortable. That’s inconvenient. That’s the point.

The alternative is even more distasteful. We’ll settle for Biden, and men like him, over and over; we’ll tell ourselves the conservative is worse, that at least the Democrat will make a woman his vice-president. We’ll eat scraps, and we’ll still go hungry, and all we’ll leave to our children is a political future only a little bit better than the present. Our grand prize? To clean up after men like Joe Biden. That isn’t power. It’s just women’s work.
posted by Ouverture at 1:32 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Holding Biden accountable once he's elected (assuming the internecine squabbles don't drag him down enough for Trump to win) is something we should all be prepared to do.
posted by wierdo at 1:38 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


The idea that these attacks are meant to help Biden in the general, or at least will have that effect, are a back-formation to rationalize the attacks people were gonna make anyway.

Would we not have preferred Comey to send his letter to Congress in May 2016 instead of on November 6th? Would you rather Tara Reade have held back until November 6th, 2020?

And, sorry, its not the fault of voters to the left of Clinton that she never came up with a strong response to concerns about her hawkish record.
posted by AceRock at 1:41 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Holding Biden accountable once he's elected (assuming the internecine squabbles don't drag him down enough for Trump to win) is something we should all be prepared to do.

I completely agree, but I would look at what happened to James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen after Obama was elected for a preview of what accountability looks like under Democratic administrations without leftist pressure.

Warren and Sanders are the only hopes we have.
posted by Ouverture at 1:46 PM on May 11


[This is getting really close to turning a thread about Biden into a thread about the primaries. Stop and walk away from this thread for a while please.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:52 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


I thought this Voting while Feminist episode from the Feminist Survival podcast delved into some complicated and interesting perspectives on this. If anybody is contemplating how to vote, if to vote, etc. in light of all everything as it's ever evolving, it's worth a listen to consider many ways to look at this and mull over what might feel most right for you.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:17 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


What exactly do all of you think Biden needs to be held accountable for?

Reade has accused Biden of harassment and assault without any evidence. Biden has been investigated more thoroughly than ever proposed for Kavanaugh. He could be investigated even more thoroughly, but with little chance of finding more evidence and at great risk to his campaign. The practical standard cannot be that any accusation against a candidate results in actions tantamount to ending their campaign.

Several woman have accused Biden of inappropriately touching them in ways that made them uncomfortable. They do not consider the touching assault. They have not asked that Biden end his campaign. They have asked that our country reassess what kind of touching is appropriate and respectful, and Biden has been supportive of that effort.

Biden has not made great decisions in the past, but he's largely admitted his mistakes. What's more, there are good indications that if elected he will go far beyond what he has promised and lead much in the style of FDR, if only because circumstance demands it. If Biden wins, there's a good chance he will be the most progressive president ever. If he loses, there's a good chance this country is over with as a democracy. If you can't get excited or behind that, I don't know what to say.
posted by xammerboy at 4:41 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


If Biden wins, there's a good chance he will be the most progressive president ever. If he loses, there's a good chance this country is over with as a democracy. If you can't get excited or behind that, I don't know what to say.

I'm voting for Biden. I'm not asking him to end his campaign. And I would be thrilled if he's the next FDR. But why in the world would he choose to be the most progressive president ever without strong pressure from the left? He ran as the centrist candidate, he was picked by Obama to appease conservative Democrats, and his leading VP candidate is Amy Klobuchar.

It is also not unreasonable to expect the nominee of the Democratic Party, the only party that stands up for women, to handle this better. To not joke about consent two days after "pledging" to respect women's personal space. To not use surrogates to smear a woman to make a story go away. To not use female VP hopefuls to run block for you and risk their own credibility and integrity just so you can continue to lay low and let this blow over. To take this opportunity, and it is an opportunity, to be a real ally and not send the message to victims and survivors that "if you challenge power and accuse a powerful man, even a man who promises to be the most progressive president in history, you will be smeared, intimidated, and painted as crazy."

Again, I'm voting for the guy. I think everyone should. I don't know why we need a completely clear conscience to do it or to hold him to lower standards just because he already has my vote.
posted by AceRock at 5:50 PM on May 11 [10 favorites]


And I would be thrilled if he's the next FDR.

Uhh well, maybe not exactly like FDR? I mean, he was also a womanizer that actually also locked up a whole PoC group for ostensibly security reasons. And that's not touching on war crimes during WWII either.
posted by FJT at 6:13 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


I would have preferred that Tara Raede come forward with her current version of her story a year ago; instead of deciding to wait until Biden had essentially won the primaries.
posted by interogative mood at 7:59 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


Anyone interested in this story enough to comment should do the introductory reading and know that Reade did come forward before the primary was effectively over.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:51 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


The Kate Halper interview podcast was March 25, a week after the last round of primaries that were mostly held (but Ohio canceled). Super Tuesday, when Biden pulled way ahead, was March 3.

If we get to speculate about ideal timing, a month earlier on February 25 would've been between Nevada and South Carolina, when Biden's campaign was barely hanging on, and would've given millions of voters an opportunity to actually do something about the allegations rather than have to live with them through the general.

The Intercept article from March 24 does say she talked to some of the Time's Up people potentially as early as January/February, and that that didn't go anywhere, and that's a whole thing.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:28 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


If she was really a stooge for Sanders, Putin or Trump, it certainly would have made much more strategic sense to make the accusation either earlier in the primary when Biden was on the ropes, or later in the general when an October of but-her-emails style coverage might affect the vote. Doing it when she did was about the least effective time from a strategic point of view. So either she's not a stooge, or we don't need to worry so much about the ratfucking acumen of our opponents.
posted by chortly at 9:54 AM on May 12


Doing it when she did was about the least effective time from a strategic point of view.

In 2016, Clinton's "emails" story dominated column-inches dedicated to the candidate for every single month of the campaign, drowning out her popular policy proposals. The "October surprise" was Trump bragging about how he likes to do sexual assault, got a week of coverage, and didn't turn the election.

The recent history of campaigning tells us that if you have a relatively scandal-free candidate, the very best thing you can do to sink them is to plant a single scandal as early in the campaign as possible so that every time the NYT writes up yet another Trump scandal, they write up another "But what about Tara Reade?" story to keep up the appearance of balance.
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:00 AM on May 12 [11 favorites]


For Sanders it would have been better for her to come forward much earlier. For Putin and Trump the timing is great as it undermines the legitimacy of Biden’s primary win and sews division in his opposition. Most Russia experts seem to think that Russia’s goal is to weaken the US by undermining confidence in the legitimacy of its leaders and institutions. It doesn’t matter who wins so much as how they win; getting a shitty leader like Trump elected is just a bonus.
posted by interogative mood at 12:38 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I doubt the Reade story will last anywhere near as long as the email thing did. And it's unclear how much effect even the emails really had in the end, apart from the October Comey letter that seems to have been contemporaneous with a 3-point drop for a couple weeks. To a first approximation, when partisanship is as baked in as it is now, nothing matters at all; and if something does have an effect, that effect is brief and at best lasts only a few weeks. Even things as huge as impeachment, the government shutdown, or coronavirus only seem to have had brief effects on the baseline partisan approval. If you really want something to have any effect at all, basically you have to time it very carefully. For Reade -- if her goal was taking down Biden, as opposed to just expressing her complaint -- that might have been February, or next October; anything else is just lost in the sea of partisanship.
posted by chortly at 12:54 PM on May 12


The 25-30% unemployment rate and total economic catastrophe is probably going to leave very little room for articles and news stories about what might have transpired between Biden and Raede, etc.
posted by interogative mood at 8:21 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Reade picked the time she did for a reason. She's a lawyer, a victim's rights advocate, and was counseled by several journalists ongoing at major papers. If she feels that Biden ruined her life, I can hardly blame her for wanting to hurt him. Unfortunately, it makes getting to the truth of the story harder and more complicated. It also means it's likely that whether or not her accusation is true, she is acting as a political operative, making decisions to inflict maximum political damage.
posted by xammerboy at 11:21 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


The 25-30% unemployment rate and total economic catastrophe is probably going to leave very little room for articles and news stories about what might have transpired between Biden and Raede, etc.

The political horse-race reporters aren't going to be detailed over to the economy desk, though. They're still going to be churning out one story per day on each day's new Trump scandal that would end any other administration, and "balancing" that with one story per day on Tara Reade.
posted by Etrigan at 6:20 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


It's also important to remember "Her Emails" didn't exist in a vacuum. Clinton was the subject of 30 years of hateful propaganda and accusations. Most of them very unfair and not her fault, but they still left a lingering impression on much of the population. Therefore an ongoing scandal, no matter how contrived and false, was guaranteed to have an impact. And any "scandal" was going to be magnified by the rampant misogyny.

Biden, by comparison, has had mostly positive portrayals over the decades. The plagiarism scandal was before many people were even alive or were old enough to have any political awareness. He was never a serious target of the Right Wing Noise Machine. Not until very recently. I don't know if the current scandal will make much of a mark, especially in the current disaster. But, partisanship aside, people are primed to like him in terms of his long-term media coverage. That's going to mitigate the damage done.

I don't think the Clinton and Biden situations are directly comparable. And then you add in the factor of Trump. In 2016, Trump's damage to the country was theoretical. Many could and did dismiss the potential. In 2020, there's no denying it. The NYT might very well run a Reade story every single day, but it will be drowned out by the raging shitstorm that's actually affecting people.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 6:50 AM on May 13


Its not clear how much this allegation is currently hurting Biden, but according to the latest poll, Biden is trailing Trump in key battleground states by 5 points.

https://twitter.com/PpollingNumbers/status/1260590950289727490?s=20
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:38 AM on May 13


Nate Cohn:
Taking the live interview polls this month, we've got CNN at Biden+5 (v. long term avg Biden+9), Monmouth at Biden+9 (long term +3.5), and Marquette in WI at Biden+3 (long term +2).
Put it together, you've got a largely unchanged race; if you had to squint, maybe Biden up a pt
[...]
And let's not waste any of our time on unbalanced battleground subsamples from national polls.
Note the second tweet in particular.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


A poll based on 583 individuals spread across those 15 states. I'm inclined not to trust that, but if someone can give me cross-tabs of divorced non-college-educated small business owners with male pattern baldness and mismatched socks, I might be persuaded otherwise.

Talk about working backwards from "Democrats in disarray". Jesus Bernie wept.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:47 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Biden is trailing Trump in key battleground states by 5 points.

If AZ and GA are "key battleground states", then Biden has already won. AZ was last won by a Democrat in 1996, and GA was last won by a Democrat in 1992, and a Democrat has never won both of them in the modern political era. If either of those are truly in contention, the race is effectively over.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:49 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


Its not clear how much this allegation is currently hurting Biden, but according to the latest poll, Biden is trailing Trump in key battleground states by 5 points.

With a margin of error of 5 points for the subsample.
posted by JackFlash at 3:03 PM on May 13


Yeah, I have no idea how much if at all this is hurting him. Maybe it is. But we certainly can't say that it is based on polling. There wasn't enough polling taken from when the allegations broke, and there isn't enough polling now to compare to it even if there were. Nobody can say for sure with any certainty.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on May 13


Meanwhile
A modest 55% majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters say the allegations against Trump, if true, are disqualifying, with just 23% saying the same of the allegation against Biden. Their reactions to Trump suggest a shift within the party since the fall of 2016. Back then, about three-quarters of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters said the allegations against Trump, if true, disqualified him.
posted by AceRock at 6:18 PM on May 13


They rotated the order for Trump and Biden questions -- it would be interesting to see the percentages of "not disqualifying" for Trump depending on whether Trump or Biden was asked about first. The question is whether this poll shows a long-term shift in Democrats away from considering assault a disqualification, or whether half the respondents were first asked about Biden and thus were primed to be "fair" with Trump. If the latter, it may just be a short-term priming thing rather than a deeper opinion shift -- albeit a short-term effect that may last as long as Biden and his accusers remain in the limelight.
posted by chortly at 6:49 PM on May 13


Or maybe it's just that people have been beaten into submission by "surely, this..." after "surely, this..." to the point where Trump has completely destroyed any notion that there's anything disqualifying.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:53 PM on May 13


The stories of political horse race reporters are going to be even less important than usual in this election.
posted by interogative mood at 7:07 PM on May 13


Alas, we don't have such a poll (that I know of) from 6 months ago, after Trump had been front-and-center for years but before Biden. But I do know that in polls on other topics regarding Trump, Democrats have not generally gotten more submissive or permissive of his crimes; usually the opposite. So it's unlikely that seeing Trump get away with this particular crime for so long is the main source of the reduction in considering sexual assault to be disqualifying among Democrats.
posted by chortly at 7:11 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


We might not have polls on that exact question, but there is this:

Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Against Trump Largely Fall on Deaf Ears
15% of registered voters said they heard “a lot” about the latest accusation of sexual assault against President Donald Trump.

It’s nearly one-third of the share (42%) who said in April that they heard a lot about former Vice President Joe Biden touching women in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.

Only 11% said they heard “a lot” earlier this year about a former Trump campaign staffer accusing the president of kissing her without her consent.
PDFs (1, 2) for party ID crosstabs of the polls with the Trump and Biden questions, respectively.

The Carroll allegations were just one of many against Trump, but they were among the most serious, if not the most serious. The fact that basically nobody heard about them but heard a ton about Biden's comparatively less serious allegations could be creating a "dog bites man" vs. "man bites dog" bias that is leading to some folks to not react as strongly to Trump's misdeeds.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:08 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


That's probably true -- my main argument was that the Biden stuff was affecting the Trump reaction, and I was wondering whether than effect was long-term (due to caring less about assault or Trump assault in particular) or short-term (due to having just been primed with Biden before asking about Trump). How the psychology of the relative comparison works is harder to say -- if having heard about Biden's accusations makes people worry less about Trump's, there could be a lot of mechanisms connecting those two things. I don't think anyone doubts that the media doesn't give Trump's more recent accusations nearly as much attention as they should get, but that's a separate mechanism from the public itself coming to care less. Both are plausible, though I think your media attention story is probably more plausible as a long-term explanation. But it still leaves open my original question of whether all of this is just an artifact of the fact that half the respondents were primed with Biden immediately before being asked about Trump. Either way, though -- whether it's the media focusing too much on Biden relative to Trump, or a survey asking people about Biden right before Trump -- it seems that the topic of Biden's alleged harassment and assault makes people care less about Trump's misdeeds, either in the short term or the long term.
posted by chortly at 9:03 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


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