Click to go to the Subscriber Log In Page
Go to menu with buttons for all pages on BC
Click here to go to the Home Page
Est. April 5, 2002
July 04, 2019 - Issue 796

Bookmark and Share

‘Stick a Fork’ in Joe Biden

"Even more disturbing is that the majority and
minority Democratic leadership continues to give him
a pass because they naively believe that he has the
best chance to defeat Trump in 2020.  They fail to
realize that his increasingly observable decline will
put them at risk of a blowout in 2020.

Splinters from the 2020 Democratic Presidential Campaign Trail

  • Cory Booker encountered protesters at his New Jersey fundraising event the weekend after his appearance in the first debate for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

  • Joe Biden performed poorly during the first presidential debate, and to quote Lydia Polgren, editor of the Huffington Post, “…. he has an amazing spectacular record of failure in running for President.”

  • Liberal journalists (e.g., E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Jonathan Alter, an MSNBC contributor, and others) are continuing to prop up Biden, despite his blunders, because they believe he is the only 2020 Democrat who can defeat Trump.

  • Uncle Joe stopped by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Annual International Rainbow-Push Coalition Convention in Chicago on Friday morning after his dismal showing in the Thursday night presidential debate in an attempt to defend his record on race. It is interesting that Biden went running to Jesse after being so dismissive of him during their 1988 presidential run, despite Jesse kicking his behind.

  • Booker was right when he said on last Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” referring to Biden, that “This is bad culture, where you can’t admit mistakes …admit to vulnerabilities … when it comes to difficult issues with race …” It is ironic that Booker has yet to address his own political flaws regarding his decade long full-throated advocacy of voucher and charter schools, his extensive efforts to privatize public education, and his failure to repair a water system that injected lead-poisoning into thousands of black and brown school children in the Newark Public Schools while serving as Newark, New Jersey’s Mayor from 2006 to 2013.

Although 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been on the political grill a short time, with seven months to go before the first primary, it is time to stick a fork in Joe Biden. After his evisceration by Sen. Kamala Harris (and others) in the June 27th debate, it is unlikely that he can come back from such a thorough butt whipping. He looked old, confused in his responses, and less vibrant than anyone else on the stage.

At 76 years old, he appears to have lost some of his mental agility, and his staff has indicated that he is taking on some of Trump’s characteristics: refusing to prepare for debates and appearances and preferring to wing it at important events. His functioning as a gaffe machine has ratcheted upward as of late.

His most recent slip-up was self-inflicted over the strenuous objections of his handlers. Biden has been insistent that his tale of working with two of his late virulently racist, Senate Democratic colleagues--Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland and Georgia Senator Herman E. Talmadge--would be a positive example of his ability to work across aisle. Biden overlooked the fact that they were both Democrats who are now reviled by the Democratic base. But even more disconcerting is that he insisted on telling the story in spite of the political blowback.

Even more disturbing is that the majority and minority Democratic leadership continues to give him a pass because they naively believe that he has the best chance to defeat Trump in 2020. They fail to realize that his increasingly observable decline will put them at risk of a blowout in 2020. His stubbornness and intransience are beginning to turn off some his long-term and most ardent supporters. Someone needs to take him to the political woodshed and get his political mind right.

Moreover, Biden’s support has tumbled precipitously in the polls released after the debate: Sens. Harris and Warren have surged, with Kamala rising to second, and Elizabeth maintaining her third position but is now ahead of Bernie Sanders. The remaining candidates are mired in the bottom ranges with only Mayor Pete Buttigieg showing any signs of life. Although he, Sanders, and Booker are still raising significant d dollars, the likelihood of either of them breaking out is slim and none.

The early Iowa surveys show Biden’s falloff among potential voters in the nation’s first primary. However, the most devastating blow that Harris has delivered to the frontrunner is her rapid ascent among the African American electorate which is purported to be a major segment of Biden’s base. Like Hillary Clinton in 2008, Biden is being swamped by an articulate, bright, and attractive opponent who is also African American. She likewise has a built in support group of her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters, the nation’s largest black sorority, with chapters in 47 states and 1 U.S. territory.

This group of black professional women also has connections and/or memberships in multiple organizations that are socially and politically active in all the early primary states. Their ethnic pride has blossomed in the aftermath of Harris’s showing during the verbal back-and-forth with Biden, which was an exemplary display of her political chops. She was the biblical David to Biden’s Goliath, and easily slayed the giant.

While it is still early in the Democratic 2020 presidential selection process for Joe Biden, ‘the fat man may have already sung for his campaign.’ And the fact that black women turn out and vote in higher numbers for candidates they endorse than any other part of the Democratic base spells political doom for the current favorite. African American women may well do for her in 2020 what they did for Doug Jones in the Alabama U.S. Senate race in 2017.

Biden has an opportunity to resurrect his candidacy on July 5th at the Strong Public Schools 2020 Presidential Forum hosted by the National Education Association. There he will again face off with Harris and will have a chance to redeem himself. Biden is certain to face questions about school desegregation, busing, teacher evaluation via students’ standardized tests, and voucher and charter schools--the latter which he championed during the Obama administration as the public school attack dog.

His challenge, again, may well be his refusal to say he is sorry for any of his past political decisions and actions. His erstwhile competitor, Cory Booker, who now presents himself as the foremost advocate for public schools and teachers, is so far skipping the event due to his baleful and public record of trashing both teachers and public education and aligning with and praising Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for very nearly two decades. There are just too many videos in the public domain of him doing so for him to credibly face the largest convention of teachers in the country.

While you have the grill fork in hand, you may as well ‘stick a fork’ in Booker, Buttigieg, O’Rourke, Klobuchar, and the rest of the also rans who have a limited chance of breaking from the pack. The sad fact is that few, if any, of the Democratic, so-called viable candidates have little chance of defeating Trump at this point. We will examine this further in future columns.

links to all 20 parts of the opening series Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell. 

Bookmark and Share




is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1
Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers