Publisher’s note: First off: We’re not doing anything April Fools-y today. So, you can let down your guards.
Seventy-six-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden has yet to announce that he’s running for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination, but he is leading in all the polls. He’s very well liked; he’s electable; and he knows how to take it to Donald Trump. Everyone knows Uncle Joe, and he’s closely associated with an eight-year period in American history with which most of us feel a lot of affection. He also has a hell of a life story — the man has lived the highest highs and the lowest lows, and that has inspired a lot of affection and admiration.
On the other hand, he’s something of a centrist, although many of his actual policies seem fairly progressive. He’s just not yet been labeled a “socialist,” because he appeals to white working-class voters, I guess, and Republicans tend to label people, not policies, as “socialist.” We know he knows how to get sh*t done, too, and obviously, he’s the most experienced of all the Democratic (or Republican) candidates.
But Uncle Joe has problems, not least of which is the one that gains him the name “Uncle Joe.” He’s America’s overly affectionate “Uncle,” who often says things that he should not. He’s also handsy. Joe Biden is that guy who gives hugs and back rubs to women, who puts his arm around women, who kisses the back of their heads. He’s a personal space invader.
This is common knowledge, although a former Nevada legislator, Lucy Flores, has brought the issue to the forefront, which I think is good, because Biden — and the rest of the American public — need to get a handle on this before Biden decides whether to launch his campaign. Now, a lot of people don’t want to vote for Joe because he had his time; because he’s too old; because the last thing we need is another old, straight white dude running the country. I hear all of that. But if his age, his inability to win past elections, and the fact that he’s another old white dude is not otherwise a barrier for Democratic voters, are his roaming hands?
I read a few comments sections this weekend in other publications (never read the comments!) on Lucy Flores stories, and they were as awful as you might imagine, fairly evenly split between two very extreme sides. On one side, commenters were screeching that this was a Bernie hit job (I guess Flores is a Bernie supporter?), that the Democrats always end up shooting themselves in the foot, and that the PC crowd has gone too far, again. On the other side, people were screaming that Joe was a sexual predator, a pedophile, that anyone who voted for Joe was a sexual deviant, and that the Democrats have no morals.
And as extreme as those positions are, you don’t want to find yourself trying to defend against accusations from either side. The second you open your mouth and say, “Well, he’s not as bad as Trump,” then you’ve already lost the argument. Whether he’s better or worse than Trump when it comes to his treatment of women is beside the point. The 2020 decision should not be one between, “The guy who grabs ‘em by the p*ssy” and “the guy who kisses them on the back of their heads.”
I do not believe that Uncle Joe is a “sexual predator,” and he has not been accused of “sexual harassment.” But he does behave in a way that makes a lot of women uncomfortable (while some women are unbothered by it). I asked my wife about it. She’s already predisposed against Joe Biden, but she nevertheless said that it was a dealbreaker for her. I also think that this sh*t will follow Biden around for the entire race — there will be a lot of false equivalencies between Trump and Biden, and no one wants to go through that again. I don’t want 2020 to be a referendum on gross dudes, because even though their dude is grosser, it’s a race we’re gonna lose, because Democrats actually care while Trump’s base of evangelical men believe they have the right to sniff some hair and rub a shoulder.
My advice? Don’t do it, Joe. You’ll be a lot more effective as an advocate for another candidate than as the candidate yourself.