Joe Biden is a known commodity. His political career is older than I am – and I’m not exactly young. He knows what is required of the office of the President through first hand, albeit not direct, experience. Perhaps most importantly for many people, Biden can very likely beat the sitting President in the general election.
I don’t think any of those are good enough reasons to give him my vote in the primary. Here are some reasons why I won’t:
- Biden voted for the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 – a bill that has, in retrospect, been a disaster for this country. A bad vote doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, if the candidate also sees it as a bad vote. I can find no information that indicates that Biden sees this as the disastrous legislation that it was.
- Biden’s treatment of Anita Hill is, by now, an old story. What’s not an old story is that he attempted to apologize to her for that treatment only weeks (maybe days) before formally announcing his 2020 candidacy. It’s never too late to apologize, but sometimes it is the wrong time to apologize if you want anyone to believe that you were sincere.
- Last year, he was captured at a speaking event saying that he had no empathy for millennials. In addition to be a really stupid thing for any politician to say, he used the Kent State shooting as an example of why things were hard for his generation – ignoring the epidemic of school shootings over the past twenty years.
- Biden’s attempt to be the bipartisan healer could be admirable, except that it has lead to him indicating (just today) that he would seek middle ground solutions on climate change. The actual policy is a bit unclear in the details – two different sources seem to be provided slightly different accounts – but it’s the idea of “middle ground” when it comes to something as catastrophic as climate change. You can talk about solutions that work well for the economy and the climate without seeking “middle ground”. I am usually all for looking for middle ground, except that in this situation, it seems to undermine the sense of urgency that we absolutely need to be pushing when it comes to action on the climate.
- Biden has a habit of saying stupid shit and then laughing it off. Crazy Uncle Joe. He’s a gaffe machine. Ha ha ha. Except that words matter, and when a leader can’t be bothered to recognize that what he says has the power to hurt or heal, I can’t be bothered to listen to him.
- While I have absolutely no reason to believe that Joe Biden has ever crossed a line into sexual assault, his complete disregard for the fact that his handsy behavior makes people – mostly women and girls – incredibly uncomfortable is flat out inexcusable. It’s been laughed off for years, but when he was finally forced to address multiple accounts of women saying that he made them uncomfortable, he took his normal path of a half-assed non-apology. Within a week, he’d used the situation as a punchline at an event.
Biden does not have my vote in the primary, and it would take something pretty major to change my mind on that. If he is the Democratic candidate, I will vote for him against the current President, but I can’t imagine myself as an enthusiastic campaign supporter.