Uncle Joe might not be popular on social media, but he’s surging in the polls. Despite Biden’s defeat at fourth place in the Iowa caucus, national polls indicate that former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is still the candidate to beat in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Democrats must supplant Biden as the national frontrunner for the party’s nomination due to his harmful actions toward marginalized groups.
Although social media has promoted a warped perception of voters largely favoring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), online presence is not an accurate reflection of candidates’ standing within the party. A study by the Hidden Tribes Project showed that more left-leaning Democrats outnumber moderate Democrats on social media by about two to one. A stronger left-leaning online presence makes it seem that candidates such as Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stand a chance at winning the nomination. However, national polls demonstrate that Biden has consistently remained the frontrunner, receiving about 27 percent of respondents’ support. Studies by FiveThirtyEight additionally project Biden’s odds of winning almost half of pledged delegates as two out of five, a stark contrast to Sanders’ odds of three in ten. Our discourse on social media has not acknowledged Biden’s lead in the race, and we must do so if we want to actively oust him from the lead.
Some of Biden’s most problematic and harmful acts as a senator included his repeated votes in favor of anti-busing amendments. Busing was implemented in the 1970s to foster desegregation in schools and create racial equality. However, Biden aligned himself with segregationists, even voting against requiring schools to report on the student body’s racial makeup, thereby enabling segregation. Biden’s questionable votes explicitly harmed black communities as studies at the University of California, Berkeley found that black students who spent at least five years at desegregated schools earned 25 percent more than their counterparts who remained at segregated schools. Clearly, Biden’s policy choices had far-reaching, damaging effects on black communities.
Despite his questionable policies, Biden is still popular within black communities, largely because of his name recognition and association to former President Barack Obama. Supporters of Biden might claim that since these actions were years ago, Biden could potentially be an advocate for minority groups now. However, the weight of his policies cannot be overlooked, especially considering that he has not taken accountability for his damaging actions. Additionally, Biden’s support from the African American community primarily stems from older voters as young black voters are more likely to support Sanders over Biden by a margin of about 12 points. As a moderate Democrat, Biden lacks the progressive policy choices young black voters desire, and is not adequately fit to represent minority interests. Despite his past support from black communities, Biden’s negligence toward integration indicates that he is not looking out for minority interests and therefore unfit to be the Democratic nominee.
Biden has also received scrutiny for his questionable treatment of women. In total, eight women have come forward about personal experiences in which Biden invaded their personal space and caused them discomfort. Such instances include Alexandra Tara Reade, who said that Biden allegedly ran his fingers up her neck, and Vail Kohnert-Yount, a former intern who claims Biden pressed his forehead to hers. Such experiences are dehumanizing and uncomfortable for women in the workplace. Particularly in light of the #MeToo movement’s resounding success, we must no longer make excuses for our politicians. Biden’s clear disregard towards women signifies that he does not deserve to be the president of the United States. Democrats continuously bash U.S. President Donald J. Trump for his alleged past of sexual misconduct, and we must hold Biden to the same standard.
However, Biden’s treatment of women goes beyond his lack of personal boundaries. He presided over the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in which Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual assault. Biden handled the hearing poorly, and allowed the all-white male Judiciary Committee to disrespect Hill through victim-blaming and unfair accusations of her character. He additionally refused to include other female witnesses who could have testified and potentially changed the outcome of the hearing. Especially in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, Biden’s lack of empathy and leadership in handling these trials makes him unfit to serve as president.
Biden is not looking out for the interests of marginalized communities, and his past shows he will not fight for the groups who could benefit from his support the most. If Biden has not fought for us in the past, little evidence suggests he’ll be invested in our interests in the future. The Iowa caucus indicates that we have a chance to shift the lead away from Biden, with the partial data release suggesting that Biden will likely come in fourth. We must use our voices and votes to ensure that Biden does not get the 2020 Democratic nomination. Let’s take Biden off the ballot.
Brammhi Balarajan (23C) is from Las Vegas.