Last Updated August 2, 2020
Joe Biden has a terrible, anti-progressive record, and I cannot ethically support him, even though he is the presumptive Democratic nominee.
This position is based on an extensive analysis of Biden’s record as a United States Senator, Vice President, and presidential candidate. No candidate is perfect, but given Biden’s disastrous, neo-liberal, corporatist, racist, misogynistic, warhawkish record, I cannot justify supporting a candidate who hardly shares my values. Indeed, a Biden presidency would do little to benefit the least privileged members of society, and we’d be much better off voting for a progressive third party candidate, or simply writing in Bernie Sanders’ name, this November.
Moreover, from a pragmatic and strategic perspective, what would electing Biden do for the country in the long-term? We’d return to a post-Trump status quo which would fail to meet the needs of the middle and lower classes in terms of healthcare, climate change, wage stagnation, and more. He’d also fail to bring about the voter enthusiasm needed to turn Congress blue, whereby making it difficult to even undo Trump’s mess. Indeed, not only would a Biden presidency do nothing for the socio-economically disadvantaged, but it would also allow a Republican candidate to easily challenge and defeat Biden in 2024 or 2028, under the same Trump-esque banner of faux-populism.
Ultimately, we can no longer support the “lesser of two evil” candidates who work for the rich and large corporations instead of the American people, which is why I will never vote for the former vice president.
In this article, I offer an extensive list of reasons why I would refuse to support Biden, alphabetized by subject and backed by hyperlinked sources. Please feel free to share this post with your friends if they ask why you dislike Biden or refuse to support him, and if you have any suggested additions or revisions, please send them my way! I’d also recommend using the search function (CTRL + F) if you are looking for a specific topic, such as healthcare.
With that, below is my list of reasons why I would not support Biden in a general election:
Abortion: Biden holds pro-life views, and his record on abortion issues is checkered. In particular, he supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. He also voted in favor of a 1981 amendment to legislation that would have removed the rape and incest exception from a ban on Medicaid-funded abortions, and he has repeatedly voted against allowing federal employees to use their insurance to cover abortion costs, unless to save the life of the mother. On a personally level, Biden has argued that abortion is wrong “from the moment of conception”, and in 1986, he claimed the following:
“I think medical science is moving the frontier back so that by the year 2000 we’re going to have more and more pressure, and rightfully so in my view, of moving back further and further the circumstances under which an abortion can be had.”
Biden even argued that women should not have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body,” said that he does not believe that abortion is a “right” or a choice”, and boasted about how he makes pro-choice and women’s groups angry because he opposes public funding of abortions and partial-birth abortions.
Decades later, after being pressed on his support of the Hyde Amendment by 2020 women presidential contenders, Biden flip-flopped. He also tried rewriting history, arguing during the mid-March presidential debate that he changed his position on the Hyde Amendment “a while ago”.
Achievement Gap: Biden believes that the reason why minority students do not do as well in school as their white peers is because 1) they are exposed to less words growing up, a long-debunked theory, and 2) their parents are less engaged in their education, a racist assumption that blames parents for their children’s achievement in schools instead of systemic forces that disproportionately disadvantage minority families. He also argued that black parents “can’t read or write themselves”.
Anita Hill: In 1991, Anita Hill testified before a Senate committee, chaired by Biden, documenting her sexual harassment allegations against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas. Biden did not call upon other witnesses who also accused Thomas of sexual harassment, including one individual who could have corroborated Hill’s story, and Biden did not attempt to defend nor shield Hill from the sexist attacks perpetuated by the Republicans on the committee. In addition, Biden allowed Thomas to testify both before and after Hill’s testimony, whereby allowing him the advantage of having the first and last words.
Anti-Busing: During the 1970s and early 1980s, Biden vehemently fought against federally-mandated busing efforts to transport poor, disproportionately minority students to better schools, a tool used to help successfully combat racially-segregated schools and ensure that minority students received an equal opportunity to a quality education. During his early Senate career, he worked with Republican segregationists, such as Senators Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond, to introduce measures to curtail busing efforts, one of which was lambasted by Edward Brooke, who was the only black senators in Congress at the time, for being “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964”. Biden also referred to busing to achieve desegregation as an “asinine concept”, and in his 2007 memoir “Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics”, he referred to busing as a “liberal train wreck”.
Bailout Bill: During the 2008 Great Recession, most corporate Democrats and Republicans, including Biden, supported bailing out the industry with $700 billion worth of taxpayer dollars. Biden also touted the idea of further bailouts shortly after getting sworn-in as Vice President in 2009. Meanwhile, Sanders vigorously opposed the bailout.
Bankruptcy Bill: In 2005, Biden was one of the lead sponsors for a bill that would make it harder for individuals to file for bankruptcy, working since the late-1990s to get it passed. The impact of the bill, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush, was palpable during the 2007–2008 financial recession; thanks to the law change, it made it significantly harder for middle class Americans to declare bankruptcy and claim Chapter 7 protection which allows almost all debts to be discharged. The law also initiated means testing requirements, prioritized credit card payments over child support payments, and made private student loans impossible to forgive. The banking and credit card industries are among Biden’s largest supporters.
In 2008, Biden was one of only a small group of Democrats who voted against amendments that would have softened the legislation, such as requiring credit card companies to better warn their customers about the negative impacts of only making minimum monthly payments, protecting those with large medical debts and members of the military, and implementing more regulations that would rein in predatory lenders.
During the mid-March presidential debate, Biden lied about his history with the bankruptcy legislation, falsely claiming that he never liked the bill, did not support the bill, and did not help write the bill.
Billionaire Support: Biden has received financial support from forty four billionaires and their spouses, many hailing from the financial and real estate industries. This is compared to the zero billionaires which have financed Bernie Sanders’ campaign, excluding the one who tried to donate $470 but had it refunded out of principle.
Cabinet Picks: The Biden team compiled a list of potential cabinet picks if the former vice president gets the Democratic nomination and defeats Trump in November. The picks include Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase and Michael Bloomberg. Both are unethical billionaires with terrible records.
Calls Voter a “Damn Liar” and “Fat”: When challenged by a voter in Iowa on Hunter Biden’s position as a board member of a Ukrainian oil company, Biden called the voter a “damn liar”. He went on to call the individual “fat”.
Chris Dodd: Biden selected former Senator Chris Dodd to be a member of his vice presidential selection committee. Dodd previously sexually assaulted a waitress at a restaurant when drinking with the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
Civil Rights Movement: Joe Biden has had a long history touting his alleged experience as a member of the civil rights movement, working with African American church leaders to desegregate movie theaters, among other places, however, when it comes to the claims that he has made regarding specific protests, movements, or people he worked with over the years, his stories would often contain contradictory information. Perhaps most damning was in the late 1980s when, after just promoting his civil rights background a few months prior, he admitted that he was “not out marching” and “not an activist”. He continued promoting his civil rights “activism”, though, throughout the 2000s and 2010s, even as recently as early 2020 as he makes his case to African American voters in South Carolina on the campaign trail.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): As the nation experienced a tsunami of virus infection cases, Biden was almost completely absent from the discussion, prompting hashtags such as #whereisjoe to go trending. This is while Bernie Sanders, a true progressive who is actually ready to lead our country through tough times, has been hosting virtual town halls, conducting panel discussions, raising two million dollars to help fight the virus (in lieu of fundraising for his own campaign), and actively working with fellow legislators to fight the coronavirus. Biden has been missing in action, allegedly, due to technical issues, but the fact that we barely heard from him for over a week, as the number of casualties began to intensify, is absolutely startling and shows that Biden is not prepared to deal with the responsibilities of the Oval Office.
Unlike Sanders, Biden enthusiastically encouraged people to vote during the Wisconsin primaries, which were irresponsibly held in early April, 2020, downplaying the significant health risks. Since then, at least 19 coronavirus cases have been confirmed to be linked to the Wisconsin primaries.
Defense of Marriage Act and Gay Marriage: In 1996, Biden voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing gay marriages. He also voiced his opposition to gay marriage during his 2008 vice presidential debate, agreeing with Sarah Palin. He only flip flopped on his stance on gay marriage in 2012 once public opinion began to shift in favor of gay marriage.
Dementia: Given Biden’s proneness to verbal gaffes, many have speculated that he is suffering from dementia, beyond the stutter that was officially diagnosed earlier in his life. Caitlin Johnstone on her Medium blog compiled a thorough archive of recent videos demonstrating Biden’s likely cognitive decline. We should not use this as an excuse to make ageist or abelist attacks against Biden, but we should seriously question whether he is cognitively healthy enough to serve as our next president, and unfortunately, he does not appear to be so.
Below are some of the examples of Biden’s likely cognitive decline:
- Forgetting the Declaration of Independence, saying “We hold these truths to be self-evidence. All men and women created by the…go…you know the…you know the thing.”
- Confusing which office he is running for.
- Confusing which state he is in.
- Randomly sniffing his wife’s finger while she was giving a speech.
- Bragging about how kids would rub his hairy legs in the pool.
- Confusing his wife and his sister.
- “My longfriend timefriend and she’s a friend, she’s been my friend in and out of public life.”
- “Why why why why why why!”
- Rambling on while walking outside the view of the camera during a digital town hall.
- “We Have To Take Care Of The Cure That Will Make The Problem Worse No Matter What.”
- “Why doesn’t [Trump] act like a president….that’s a stupid way of saying it…I really wish he…sorry…no, no…it’s probably best that I don’t.”
- “I just can’t figure the guy. I don’t know, it’s like watching a yo-yo…I shouldn’t of said it that way…it’s like…”
- “…and when you don’t have it, you gotta get help, and by the way…call…well, it’s not going to give my phone number…but anyway, those who’ve been through that…I…you can contact my campaign.”
- “Um, you know, there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, uh, that, uh, you know, was totally different than a- than the- it’s called, he called it, the, you know, the World War II, he had the war- the the War Production Board.”
- “We cannot let this, we’ve never allowed any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of 17, all the way around, 16, we have never, never let our democracy sakes second fiddle, way they, we can both have a democracy and elections and, at the same time… correct the public health.”
Deportations and Immigration: More than three million individuals were deported during the Obama administration. Biden was challenged on this damning record by an immigration activist, and in response, Biden told him that he should vote for Trump (the Sanders campaign since hired him to be a Latinx community organizer in Iowa). He went on to indicate that he will not end deportations. At a separate event, after hearing an activist’s story of how his brother was deported, he was asked to apologize for the three million deportations. He refused to apologize, also indicating that he only supports deportations for those who committed felonies. Of course, the Obama administration were responsible for deporting those without felony convictions. While crossing the border illegally is not a felony, Biden is opposed to decriminalizing the process, which currently comes with the punishment of a misdemeanor. When challenged during a democratic primary debate on whether or not he confronted Obama on his mass deportation efforts, Biden dodged the question.
Additionally, Biden opposes granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, supported President Bush’s call for a border fence, supports the federal government going after sanctuary cities, voted to prevent the restoration of food stamp eligibility for documented immigrants, voted to expand detention and deportations in the Senate, and opposes the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Finally, Biden declared that people should “get in line” to get into the United States, a common conservative talking point that oversimplifies our immigration system.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Biden voted in favor of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy where gay military members had to keep their sexuality a secret or else face discharge. He later flip-flopped due to public opinion polls.
Endangered Species Act: Biden falsely claimed that he was one of the sponsors of the Endangered Species Act.
Energy and the Environment: Biden’s environmental plan calls for an “all of the above” strategy that still advances the development and expansion of natural gas and coal for energy use. Meanwhile, his energy advisor, Heather Zichal, has received over a million dollars serving on the board of Cheniere Energy, a natural gas company. When questioned about his selection of Zichal, Biden falsely indicated that this “is not the person who is doing my advising”. He went on to defend the practice of oil fracking, and he advocated that the climate activist who asked him these questions vote for a different candidate. Essentially, Biden’s energy plan is a return to a post-Trump status quo, which will not be sustainable as our planet continuously worsens due to climate change.
In January, 2020, Biden argued that no scientist believes that Sanders’ progressive Green New Deal initiative would work, Shortly after, 57 scientists signed an open letter arguing that his plan would work.
During the mid-March presidential debate, he said that he believes in a fracking ban, even though he defended the practice just last year, and he attempted to take credit for putting together the Paris climate accord, even though no Obama officials recall him being involved in the initiative.
Entitled to Black Vote: During an interview on The Breakfast Club, Biden told the black host that one “ain’t black” if they support Donald Trump over him. This was during a heated interview where Biden was overwhelmingly condescending to the host.
Glass-Steagall: In 1999, Biden voted to repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banking. The repeal of this law, coupled with other policies dating back to the 1980s, led to the rise of Too Big to Fail banks that were able to package sketchy loans to unsuspecting consumers and take huge financial risks that would allow them to reap massive financial benefits if they won. Of course, they also knew that, given their stranglehold on politicians, they would be bailed out if their bets led to the crashing of the economy. It did, and the government bailed them out. Biden later regretted his decision to vote for Glass-Steagall’s repeal.
Healthcare: Biden opposes universal healthcare. Instead, he supports expanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare”, a law passed in 2010 that, among other things, prevented insurance company discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, allowed adult children to keep their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, and created insurance exchanges where patients could compare various plans. Biden has proposed a few tweaks which would make the ACA better, and he is advocating for a public option, a plan that would allow patients to purchase insurance from the federal government instead of a private insurance company, but his policy does not provide universal, free coverage to every American. Only universal healthcare, also known as “Medicare-for-All”, would allow patients to visit any doctor or hospital of their choosing without having to worry about premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, hiring a tax preparer to claim a healthcare tax credit, in-network providers, and losing insurance due to job changes or a divorce. A public option merely transfers the insurance middleman from the private to the public sector instead of abolishing it entirely. Universal healthcare, which most other countries have long since adopted, would save us money, encourage use to get preventative care (whereby reducing emergency room visits), and, ultimately save lives. And no, we would not have long waitlists for care, as conservative Democrats and Republicans keep arguing (in fact, patients in other countries often get to see doctors, including specialists, quicker than their American counterparts).
One of Biden’s favorite talking points against universal healthcare is that unions have negotiated insurance rates which are far below national averages, so implementing Medicare for All would take away these hard-fought benefits. As a union employee and activist myself, I can tell you that this argument holds no water. First, while most union-negotiated insurance policies still mandate premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, universal healthcare abolishes these barriers to care. Second, these union plans often still limit your access to doctors and facilities to those that are “in-network”, which universal healthcare would not limit. Third, as the 2019 United Auto Workers strikes have shown, employers are able to coerce union employees to cross the picket line by threatening to suspend their employees’ insurance plans, a notion that would be impossible if insurance did not exist. Fourth, without having to worry about negotiating insurance costs, union leaders would have more energy to negotiate for better wages, pensions, and other benefits. Do not allow conservative Democrats and Republicans to pit workers’ rights against our right to healthcare because, in reality, they do a disservice to both.
When asked whether or not he would sign a Medicare-for-All bill if it landed on his desk, he strongly implied that he would not due to cost, despite the fact that universal healthcare saves money and lives.
During the mid-March presidential debate between Biden and Sanders, Biden falsely claimed that Sanders “still hasn’t told us how he’s going to pay for” his universal healthcare plan, despite the fact that he posted a detailed funding plan in February.
As late as July, 2020, with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic impacting millions in the United States and around the world, Biden still refuses to support universal healthcare.
Helps Republicans Defeat Democrats: During the 2018 mid-term elections, Biden received $200,000 to give a speech at a conservative organization that included praise for Republican Congressman Fred Upton in the midst of the toughest reelection bid of his career. The next day, Upton referred to this praise during a debate with Democratic challenger Matt Longjohn, and conservative groups ran ads quoting Biden’s praise of Upton to mock Longjohn. After causing damage to the campaign to unseat Upton, an individual who voted to repeal the ACA, Longjohn’s campaign reached out to Biden for an endorsement, hoping that this would amend the damages caused by the former vice president. Biden refused to endorse Longjohn, and Upton went on to win reelection by a few percentage points.
Hosni Mubarak: Biden attacked Bernie Sanders for offering praise to Cuba’s literacy program when the country is controlled by a repressive dictator, Fidel Castro. He went on to argue that we ought to never praise dictators. What Biden will not tell you, though, is that he refused to label former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak as a dictator, despite his own repressive and authoritarian record. Biden also offered press for the dictator, arguing that “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things.”
Iraq War Authorization: In 2002, Biden voted to authorize the unilateral use of military force against Iraq, despite many unanswered questions regarding the human and financial costs that such war efforts would have, as well as the resulting instability in the region. Biden uncritically fed into President George W. Bush’s enthusiasm for intervening in the region based on information from the intelligence community that was later proven incorrect. In 2004, shortly after it was conclusively proven that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction, Biden falsely declared that he never believed that they had these weapons, despite arguing otherwise in 1998 and 2002.
In 2003, he enthusiastically defended the Iraq War and praised George W. Bush for being a “popular” and “bold leader”.
In 2020, he has repeatedly attempted to rewrite history, arguing that he never was in-favor of war, but, rather, to send inspectors to the region. This is contrary to the evidence pinpointing Biden as favoring war in Iraq before and after his controversial vote.
Judges: One of the top arguments that “vote blue no matter who” Democrats provide as to why we should always vote for the Democratic nominee, even if they are terrible, is because of the judicial nominees that Republicans have recently appointed while in power. If a Democrat wins, they would be able to appoint better nominees. It should be noted, though, that a President Biden would consider re-nominating Merrick Garland, the “compromise” nominee selected by Obama that he hoped would appeal to Republicans (they later blocked his nomination until Trump got elected). Garland has taken conservative stances on such issues as criminal justice and not allowing Guantanamo Bay prisoners to challenge their living conditions, so why should we trust someone like Biden with judicial nominees when he would lean towards those who have taken controversial conservative stances? We have more than enough prospective progressive judicial nominees that are qualified to serve as judges, so Biden’s support for potentially re-nominating Garland is troublesome.
Larry Summers: Biden is receiving economic advice from Larry Summers, the father of neo-liberalism who has been an instrumental player in transforming our nation’s economy for the worse, having been involved in multiple administrations over the past few decades. He is also pals with Jeffrey Epstein.
Lied About a War Story: Biden claimed to visit Afghanistan to honor a Naval officer who performed a heroic dead of rappelling “down a ravine while under fire to retrieve the body of a fellow solder”. He added that this story is “God’s truth”, solidifying it’s factual accuracy by stating “My word as a Biden”. The story, however, was blatantly false; according to the Washington Post, he got the “…time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch[,] and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony [incorrect],” all within the span of three minutes.
Lied About Getting Arrested: Biden repeatedly claimed while campaigning in South Carolina that he was arrested on his way to visiting Nelson Mandela, however, his campaign manager later confessed that he was merely “separated” from black colleagues at an airport, not arrested.
Lied About Son Dying in War: After getting confronted by Iraq War veterans over enabling war in the Middle East, Biden lied to them by claiming that his son died in combat.
Lied About Teaching College Students: Biden claimed that he became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania shortly after leaving the United States Senate and that he has “spent a lot of time…on campus with college students”. Biden’s claim was made after being asked about how he planned on appealing to young voters. His claim, though, was false. Apart from taking a position at the university after ending his tenure as Vice President (likely just a Biden verbal slip-up), the implication that he “spent a lot of time” with students was an outright lie. In fact, he never taught any classes; he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to give a few speeches, mostly for large, ticketed events.
Lies and Plagiarism (1988 Presidential Election): During Biden’s first bid for the Democratic nomination for president in the 1980s, the media unearthed evidence that he 1) plagiarized multiple politicians throughout his career in speeches and op-eds, 2) committed plagiarism while writing a paper for law school, 3) lied about receiving a full academic scholarship for law school, 4) lied about being in the top-half of his law school class (he was actually 76th out of 85 members of his class), 5) lied about having three undergraduate degrees (he only has one), 6) and lied about being designated an “outstanding student” in his Political Science department.
Marijuana: As recently as 2010, Biden claimed that marijuana is a gateway drug, a myth that has been debunked by the scientific community. In November, 2019, Biden changed his stance, arguing that there is not enough evidence to prove whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug. Finally, after receiving pushback for his anachronistic views on marijuana, he incorrectly claimed that he has never suggested that marijuana is a gateway drug. Now, thanks to public pressure, he expresses support for marijuana decriminalization and expungement of criminal records relating to using pot, although he stops short of full legalization.
Millennials: During a speech in early 2018, Biden said the following:
“The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break.”
Money in Politics: Joe Biden reversed a self-imposed ban on super-PAC funding for his political campaign in October, 2019. Earlier in the campaign, he discouraged super-PACs from assisting him, but he has since reversed course because he has been unable to convince many Americans outside of the super wealthy to financially contribute to his campaign.
He also stopped hosting transparent fundraisers, limiting press access to a virtual fundraiser with Wall Street donors.
“Nothing Will Fundamentally Change”: Shortly after appearing at an event for the Poor People’s Campaign, Biden made an appearance at a fundraiser attended by wealthy individuals. During his speech, he indicated that “nothing will fundamentally change” for the wealthy, implying that he would not pursue measures that would reduce the rich-poor gap, such as implementing higher taxes on their income.
Palestine and the BDS Movement: Biden argued that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to boycott Israeli products until their country complies with international laws and stops circumventing the rights of Palestinians, “veers into anti-Semitism” and should be “rejected”. He also argued that the movement lets Palestinians “off the hook” for their “choices”.
Patriot Act: Joe Biden has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Patriot Act, the law that granted the government broad power to surveil American citizens. In fact, Biden has claimed responsibility for paving the way towards the passage of this law.
Praises Segregationist Senator: Biden praised Republican segregationist senator James Eastland in an attempt to sound bipartisan. Eastland is widely known as a white supremacist who advocated for racial genocide against African Americans, referring to them as “black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinking n******”. When called out by Senator Cory Booker, one of the only candidates of color in the 2020 primaries, for lavishly praising such a reprehensibly racist individual, instead of apologizing, Biden doubled down and attacked Booker by decrying that he “should apologize” and that he “knows better”, indicating that he has “no racist bone” in his body. Finally, only after experience growing political pressure from fellow Democrats, Biden apologized for his praise of Eastland.
Republican “Epiphany”: Joe Biden indicated that, if elected, Republicans in Congress will have an “epiphany” and actively begin working with Democrats in good faith. This runs contrary to the way Republicans have wielded legislative power during the Obama administration, implementing unprecedented obstructionism culminating in the blockage of President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Biden’s anachronistic belief further shows how unprepared he is to lead the country in 2021.
Republican Vice Presidential Pick: Joe Biden indicated that he would consider selecting a Republican to be his vice presidential running mate. As someone in his 70s, if he were to die, that would mean handing the presidency back to the Republican Party.
Social Security and the Social Safety Net: In the 1980s, Biden called for cuts to Social Security and raising the retirement age for individuals to begin collecting Social Security payments. In the 1990s, he enthusiastically proclaimed his desire to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran’s Benefits to achieve the objectives of the regressive balanced budget amendment that Congress was considering at the time. He was also in-favor of discussing a retirement age increase in 2007, and when asked whether or not we need to look at Medicare and Social Security’s age of eligibility and cost of living adjustments, Biden said “absolutely”.
As Vice President, he actively worked with Republicans to achieve a budgetary compromise (Bowles-Simpson) which would have cut Medicare and Medicaid, means tested Social Security, and implemented other measures that would disproportionately harm the poor. As Bob Woodward described it, Biden sounded quite a bit like a Republican during these negotiations. Thankfully, these cuts never came to pass.
Finally, in 2018, Biden endorsed Paul Ryan’s vision for means testing Social Security, a process that would place barriers to retirement income by requiring people to prove their eligibility.
Despite the overwhelming evidence showing Biden advocating for gutting Social Security, he lied about his record during the mid-March presidential debate, arguing that he never called for Social Security cuts and that he was not a fan of Bowles-Simpson.
Student Loan Debt and Higher Education: Biden, one of the United States senators who voted for a bill that made it harder to discharge student loan debt in the 2000s, does not believe in student loan debt forgiveness. Back in 2015, he called for free four-year college, however, he now only supports free community college.
Tells Union Worker He is “Full of Shit”: During a confrontation with a pro-gun union worker, Biden tells him that he is “full of shit” before shushing his woman staff member. He proceeds to threaten to slap the worker in the face.
Tough on Crime and the War on Drugs: Biden had a hand in many crime prevention bills during the 1980s and 1990s, such as the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which imposed mandatory minimum sentences, and legislation in 1986 that treated crack cocaine, which was disproportionately used in black communities, much more harshly than powdered cocaine, whereby resulting in disproportionate drug-related punishments for African Americans. Indeed, these tough on crime bills, which he relentlessly pushed the Reagan administration to adopt, helped exponentially and unjustifiably increase the number of Americans behind bars, especially people of color.
Biden was also one of the primary writers and advocates for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, otherwise known as the “Crime Bill”, that mandated minimum sentences (including a “three-strikes” mandatory life sentence for violent offenders), increased the number of federal crimes subject to the death penalty, allowed children to be tried as adults for violent and firearm-involved federal crimes, and resulted in the hiring of tens of thousands of police officers. Controversially, the legislation also included the Violence Against Women Act, whereby making it harder for opponents of “tough on crime” measures to oppose the omnibus bill.
Overall, the various crime fighting measures supported by Biden over the years have, in aggregate, been shown to have disproportionately punish black men.
Unfortunately, Biden’s “tough on crime” mentality continues to this day. In the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, for example, Biden advocated for police officers to shoot perpetrators in the leg rather than the heart, and as the movement for defunding and abolishing the police is picking up momentum amongst the progressive community, Biden indicated that he does not support defunding the police, even calling for more funding for police departments. He also argued that “violent” protesters should be “found, arrest, and tried” (totally not Orwellian at all).
Trade Deals: Biden has long supported disastrous international trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), that have cost high-paying American jobs. Specifically, the 90s-era NAFTA legislation allowed large companies to much more easily relocate operations and factories to other countries, whereby slashing the number of jobs available for those in the United States. Many of the jobs that have filled the void have been relatively low-skilled and low-paying, helping to further exacerbate the wealth gap between the rich and the poor. While Biden has long supported such corporate-friendly trade deals, Sanders has long spoken out against trade agreements that harm American workers.
Additionally, during the Iowa democratic debate, Biden indicated that he supports the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), Trump’s take on the failed NAFTA agreement that offers very little improvements while still allowing large corporations to focus on profits over the well-beings of their employees. The new deal also fails to implement any job creation requirements, and it has no language that addresses climate change at all. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, opposes Trump’s trade agreement.
Treatment of Women: Biden has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by many women, including inappropriately kissing and touching them. Biden has denied these allegations. He has also repeatedly joked about the allegations, both when hugging a woman and a child, and he called a young girl “good looking” and placed his hands on her shoulders for an awkward duration of time. He has a long, documented history of, to put it mildly, uncomfortably touching women in public.
Additionally, at a campaign event in Iowa, K.C. Cayo, a progressive activist, asked Biden about his stance on the Hyde Amendment. He got confrontational. Below is what took place after, from the words of Cayo herself:
“Then he leaned in very close to my face, and started wagging his finger at me. He said, “Nobody has spoken about it, done more, or changed more than I have.” When he walked away I shouted after him, “We deserve better.”
We left after that because we didn’t want anything to escalate; we didn’t want to be in a shouting match.
I’m behind the I Believe Survivors movement, but aside from that, I can now make the connection between the man I saw and the man accused of harassment by multiple women. I saw a man capable of those things: A man who can’t take responsibility, who doesn’t respect women, and who gets in their personal space. He got angry and started to raise his voice, and I think it was an intimidation tactic. There’s no reason to wag your finger at a womxn or reprimand them for asking questions about things you have been in the press for just last week.”
During a presidential debate, Biden also misogynistically stole credit from Senator Elizabeth Warren for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Specifically, Biden argued that he went to Congress to advocate for the passage of the Dodd-Frank bill, the legislation that created the CFPB, although former Senator Christopher Dodd and former Congressman Barney Frank, the ones whose name were ultimately attached to the bill, recalled Biden not fighting for the proposal whatsoever.
Back in 1973, Biden also joked about his power as a United States Senator and implied that he can use his authority to sleep with women.
All of this, though, pales in comparison to the rape accusation levied by Tara Reade, a staff member for Joe Biden in the early 1990s. Reade revealed that she was pressed against a wall and sexually penetrated by the Senator. Reade, who was previously smeared for allegedly being a Russian asset (a false accusation, obviously), attempted to bring her story to Time’s Up, a non-profit organization which helps victims of sexual assault, but they declined her case because they, allegedly, feared losing their non-profit status by critiquing a political candidate when, in reality, their organization is tied to Harvey Weinstein attorney Anita Dunn, a senior campaign manager for Joe Biden.
Biden has denied the accusation, but when asked whether he would allow the American people to review his trove of Senate records, currently locked-up at the University of Delaware, he said that the original sexual harassment complaint documentation wouldn’t be there and that he is afraid of people reading his prior speeches and interviews.
Biden advised that men marry into a family of five or more sisters because “one of them always loves you”.
Trump “America’s First Racist president”: In relation to President Trump’s xenophobic comments regarding China and the coronavirus, Joe Biden argued that Trump is America’s first racist president, overlooking our long history of prior racist presidents.
Two-Party System “Good for the Negro”: Biden literally said this back in 1973. He argued that the two-party system is “good for the South and good for the Negro, good for the black in the south.”
Welfare Reform: Biden has been a proponent of gutting welfare dating back to the 1980s, when he advocated for The Family Support Act, reforms that placed certain neo-liberal conditions on receiving welfare benefits. In defense of the legislation, Biden utilized the racist trope that “welfare queens” (aka black single mothers) were using welfare to live exorbitant lifestyles without working, a claim that has been shown to be categorically false. In the mid-90s, Biden further touted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, a bill signed into law by President Clinton that severely gutted welfare, specifically placing lifetime caps on benefits, granting more authority to states to administer the program, capping the amount of money the federal government would spent on welfare by distributing them as “block grants” to each state, implementing stringent work requirements as a condition for receipt of benefits, placing limits on legal immigrants’ qualification for benefits, and placing restrictions on food assistance. The impact of this law was that fewer families were able to utilize welfare, whereby resulting in an uptick of Americans, disproportionately women, entering into, or remaining in, poverty in the years that followed.
Working Women: In the 1980s, Biden was the only Senator to vote against a tax credit to help working families cover daycare expenses. Defending his vote, Biden wrote an op-ed indicating that this credit is helping to subsidize the “deterioration of the family” by taking personal responsibility away from dual-income earning parents. Essentially, he was arguing that women ought to stay home while the man supports the family financially.
It is undeniable that Biden has a checkered history full of disastrous votes, warhawkish sentiments, sexist behaviors, outright lying and flip-flopping to politically save face, promulgating racist rhetoric, attacking prospective voters, and helping to shape the neo-liberal death spiral that began ravaging the country in the 1970s and continues to this day. Biden’s lack of temperament, historical and contemporary conservative viewpoints, dismissiveness of progressive concerns, big money ties, propensity to flip-flop based on public opinion, and clear signal that he would not make fundamental changes that are needed to lift millions out of poverty, close the unsustainable rich-poor gap, provide every American with healthcare, and ensure that our environment is livable for years to come are all unequivocally disqualifying, even if Trump is worse.
Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, support Biden if he gets the Democratic nominee. Like in 2016, I will join millions of other progressives in either voting for the Green Party candidate or writing-in Bernie Sanders if the Party selects Biden.
In the words of Bernie Sanders: “I apologize to no one.”
List of Updates:
- January 5, 2020: I added sections on marijuana, trade agreements, and money in politics.
- January 6, 2020: I added a section on judges.
- January 11, 2020: I added an extra video of Biden endorsing discussions to cut Social Security and Medicare, added an extra citation and video showing Biden’s support for war with Iraq and the belief that they had Weapons of Mass Destruction from 1998, added the section on Biden’s view that Republicans will have an “epiphany” if he is elected, and corrected some issues with the alphabetization of the list.
- January 19, 2020: I added a section on the achievement gap.
- February 3, 2020: I added a section on the controversy surrounding Biden’s lies and plagiarism during the 1988 presidential election, and I expanded the climate and environment section to cover Biden’s claim that no scientist backs Sanders’ Green New Deal proposal.
- February 15, 2020: I added a section on the civil rights movement, and I expanded the section on trade deals to include Biden’s opinions on Trump’s USMCA trade agreement (shamelessly copied from my piece on Buttigieg).
- March 2, 2020: I added a section on Biden’s lies about getting arrested in South Africa while traveling to see Nelson Mandela.
- March 7, 2020: I added a section on dementia, expanded the Achievement Gap section, added an example to the Treat of Women section, and added a section on the bailout bill.
- March 9, 2020: I added a video to the abortion section and added a section on Biden’s potential cabinet picks.
- March 14, 2020: I added a section on Biden telling a union worker that he is “full of shit”, expanded the sections on Dementia and the Iraq War, and added a section on Biden lying about his son dying in the Iraq War.
- March 23, 2020: I expanded the sections on gay marriage, healthcare, Social Security, the environment, abortion, the bankruptcy bill, and the Iraq War. I also added a section on Hosni Mubarak.
- March 23, 2020: I added a section on the coronavirus.
- March 23, 2020: I added a section on the Endangered Species Act.
- March 24, 2020: I added another example to the dementia section.
- March 25, 2020: I added two more examples to the dementia section.
- March 25, 2020: I expanded the section on Biden’s treatment of women.
- March 29, 2020: I expanded the sections on Biden’s treatment of women and dementia. I also fixed a grammar mistake.
- March 30, 2020: I added a section on Biden’s lie that he taught college students and his lie about a war story. I also fixed a grammar mistake.
- April 25, 2020: I added a section on Larry Summers, added an example to the dementia section, and expanded the coronavirus section.
- May 2, 2020: I added a section on Chris Dodd, and I expanded the section on Biden’s treatment of women. I also updated the intro to reflect Biden’s status as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
- May 22, 2020: I added a section on Biden’s entitlement to the black vote.
- May 25, 2020: I added a section on Palestine and the BDS Movement, and I expanded the Money in Politics section.
- August 2, 2020: I added to the Healthcare, Tough on Crime and the War on Drugs, Dementia, Treatment of Women, and I added sections dedicated to Biden’s argument that the two-party system is “good for the Negro”, and his claim that Trump is America’s first racist president.