The year was 2012, and I was 17 years old. For the first time in my life, I was fully engaged in a Presidential Race. Four years earlier, the unthinkable happened. You all know the story. Our President was black, and our Lambo was BLUE. Joe Biden was his Vice President (VP), and on that night, Joe Biden might have very well saved their re-election bid. In Barack Obama’s first debate with Mitt Romney, the general consensus was that he’d been beaten. This partnered with the fact that he hadn’t delivered on many of his campaign promises meant that he and Biden had a tough task ahead in getting re-elected. On that night, Joe Biden turned the tide, and gave me hope for the future.
Before this night, I didn’t know much about Biden. I knew he was our Vice President, but not much else. His performance this night made me understand why Obama picked him to be his VP. We all know what happened after that debate. This is the memory I cling to when I think of Joe Biden. I’m sure most of Black America has their own as well. This is the Joe Biden that makes people believe he can win. Clever, humorous, and slick talking, this is the Joe Biden that most people remember from the Obama years. Unfortunately, that’s not who he is anymore.
Democratic voters overwhelmingly care most about who can beat Trump. In fact, they care more about voting for someone who can beat Trump than they do about which candidate matches up with them the most on the issues. As a result of this, Joe Biden has been the front runner for most of the race. The memories we have of Joe from the Obama years, as well as strong poll numbers vs Trump makes many of us believe that he is the chosen one to deliver us from the ugliness of the Trump era. The issue with this logic is that it ignores far too much of reality.
We’ll begin with the most obvious, yet most unpleasant, electoral liability that Biden has. The man is experiencing a serious cognitive decline. Many times, Joe doesn’t know where he is or what office he’s running for. Many voters may not be presently aware of this, because cable news outlets have completely ignored it. We know that Joe Biden has struggled with stuttering his entire life, but this is more than a mere speech impediment. We cannot write this clear cognitive decline off as something minor; we all know that Trump will hammer him on it. Donald has no moral conscience, that much we can all agree on. As a result, he’ll have no problems pointing this out to voters, as he has already, and drive down their enthusiasm about voting.
This is personal for me. My aunt that recently passed had dementia. When my mother told me that she was being sent to a nursing home, I couldn’t bare seeing her like that; so I never visited her there. I knew that she would be a completely different person from the one that I remembered. When I listen to Joe speak now, he barely resembles the man I began to admire eight years ago. I wouldn’t wish this horrific disease on anyone. Furthermore, I wouldn’t ask anyone struggling with the early stages of this disease to run for the highest office in the land. It brings me no pleasure to witness Joe Biden’s decline from a clever and humorous slick talker into a babbling old man. It brings me no pleasure to write about it now; nevertheless, this must be discussed. It is completely irresponsible to vote for someone in this mental state. Especially when their ultimate opponent is an existential threat to our entire planet. No matter what your take is on the issues, a vote for someone suffering severe cognitive decline should simply not be an option. We cannot allow ourselves to be so blinded by our own nostalgia and desire to oust Trump that we can’t see reality for what it is. Your children’s children’s lives are at stake.
On The Issues
If we’re going to nominate a candidate to beat Donald Trump, then they need to have a legitimate case for beating Donald Trump. Unfortunately for Joe Biden, he is strikingly similar to Trump’s last opponent, Hillary Clinton. Essentially, Trump can run the exact same campaign strategy that he ran in 2016 and win re-election. I wrote about the pitfalls of “Centrism” more broadly here, but right now I think it’s necessary to focus specifically on Joe Biden’s record. Trump attacked Hillary on three things, her Iraq War vote, her votes on the disastrous trade deals, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and, lastly, on what he perceived as her corruption and dishonesty.
These are all commonalities that Joe and Hillary both share. They both voted for the Iraq War. In fact, Joe was a key voice in the Democratic Party that helped it pass the Senate. They both voted yes on those trade deals that ended up ravaging the industrial Midwest, and they both have/were taking corporate money while running for President. Hillary’s main choice of attack was to tell voters that she had the moral authority over Trump. As a result, the stains on Hillary’s record undercut her argument that she was a better person than Trump was. Unfortunately, Biden is running the same playbook on Trump that Hillary did, but he may have even more stains on his record than she had.
The Hunter Biden Problem
I know that this is a touchy subject for Democrats given impeachment, but we have to still be objective. We know that many voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were enraged by Hillary’s votes on the trade deals that we just mentioned. Hypothetically, what if we couple those votes with having a son that makes $50,000 a MONTH from a foreign fossil fuel company simply for being the son of a public figure? These are people who’ve had their jobs shipped overseas for decades because of those trade deals all while Hunter was making their yearly salary per month just for being Joe Biden’s son. How do we honestly expect them to feel about this?
I get it, this was highly dishonest and extremely illegal of Trump to pull, and he should’ve been removed from office for it. But that doesn’t make it any less awful on The Bidens’ part. We’ve already established that Trump is a horrible person. Therefore, we KNOW that he’s still going to levee this attack at Joe should they face each other in the general election. In fact, Republicans are already preparing to do exactly that should Joe make it out of the Primary. You might think that this issue would negatively affect them both, but that’s not quite the case. Trump’s supporters aren’t backing him in spite of the fact that he’s a bad person; they’re backing him because he’s a bad person. They’re drawn to the fact that he doesn’t bother trying to hide it. In their mind, all politicians are bad people. At least Trump is honest about it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the issues Hunter Biden presents for Joe in a 1 v. 1 against Donald.
At this point, it’s basically common knowledge that Joe Biden wrote the 1994 Crime Bill. His rhetoric and speeches from that time are extremely racist and insensitive. He’s apologized for it all recently, but there’s a new twist to this stain on Biden’s record now. While Joe Biden was drafting legislation that would give poor black and brown kids harsh sentences for drug offenses, his own son was doing many of those same drugs. Beyond that, Hunter has struggled with addiction for much of his life. Unlike the people that his father’s crime bill would lock away in prison, Hunter was given trips to rehab and several chances to retake control over his life.
How hypocritical it was of Joe to prance around Capitol Hill raising hell about how our streets were riddled with drugs and crime while his son was using those said drugs. How hypocritical it was indeed for Joe to write the legislation that led to a drastic rise in drug addicts’ imprisonment while his very own son was a drug addict himself. I’m not suggesting that Hunter should have been thrown in jail for struggling with addiction. On the contrary, I’m questioning why Joe didn’t write bills to get rehab to ALL drug addicts? I’m confused on why Joe didn’t use his position of power to ensure that all Americans could have a soft landing spot once they hit rock bottom. Joe clearly understands that this is the best way to deal with addiction; yet he was unwilling to give everyone else that same compassion and understanding.
Joe is running to “restore America’s soul”. Just like Hillary, he’s running on the idea that he’s morally superior to Trump. The problem is that with this campaign strategy, he’s setting Trump up perfectly to expose him as a hypocrite. Yes, his poll numbers say he’d beat Trump, but so did Hillary’s. She even beat him on election day by three million votes! The question is, can he win the right states to beat Trump. We’ve seen this movie before. We know exactly how this movie ends. Why bother buying tickets to watch it all over again? Wake up, America. We cannot afford to mess this up.