Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president last week. You might imagine that in the age of Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, with some of the leading Democrats talking up free college tuition, the abolition of student debt, Medicare For All raising the minimum wage and taxing wealthy individuals and moonwalking even a little away from support of apartheid Israel that another frankly pro-corporate candidate would enter the race somewhere near the bottom of the polls. That would be right. You’d be imagining that.
In the real world, Joe Biden announced last week and the first three polls list him at the top of the field, leading Bernie Sanders by double digits, with everybody else in single digits. Ominously, in all three polls about half the voters favoring Biden are black voters. The obvious conclusion, supported by the fact that Biden’s first two campaign videos, are race themed, and the second one prominently includes Barack Obama, is that Biden’s popularity among black voters is a hangover from the blind and unconditional support those same voters gave to the Obama administration. In the case of Barack Obama the fumes were so strong that his actual record didn’t matter. Barack could bail out and immunize the banksters and the companies that manufactured fake paperwork to take hundreds of thousands of homes away from people, and support from his base did not waver. Barack could propose commissions to privatize social security, and rescue the insurance companies instead of delivering Medicare For All and his based still lined up behind him. Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” program put more than 150,000 experienced black teachers out of work and closed thousands of public schools to make way for the privatization of education across the country, and black voters, including most of those former teachers, would have voted for him again.
Biden was Obama’s vice president. But Biden is not Obama. Even if Obama openly endorses him at some point, Biden has his own record, and it’s that of a consistent corporate stooge. particularly of the real estate and banking industries, and as one of the architects of the mass incarceration state.
Joe Biden didn’t just cast a vote for the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, also known as the Clinton Crime bill. Joe Biden wrote the bill, including but not limited to provisions that created
no less than 60 new federal death penalty offenses
a ban on Pell grants for prisoners, from which states took their cues and enacted similar bans on higher education for prisoners.
$9 billion in new funding for prisons
sex offender registries to ensure lifelong stigmatization of the convicted
3 strikes provisions
new funding for “boot camps” and juvenile prisons
funding for 100,000 new police officers
Biden’s bill resulted in a spike in mass incarceration which of course affected African American and Latinx communities more profoundly than any others. The damage to families and lives of course continues today.
For many years, Joe Biden was known as the Senator from MBNA, the giant credit card entity that was bought by Bank of American in 2006 and re-sold to Lloyd’s Bank UK in 2016. Biden was responsible for the provisions that made it impossible to discharge student debt via bankruptcy, thus shackling millions of people with ballooning student debt that lasts till their forties and fifties. Student debt of course weighs heaviest upon black women.
Joe Biden is an unwavering supporter of apartheid Israel, just like his buddy Barack, and an unrepentant warmonger like just about all of his Democrat colleagues in the House, the Senate, and among presidential candidates. Until Biden’s entrance, Bernie Sanders was the clear Democratic front runner. That’s over. The polls haven’t broken Biden’s black support by age, but it’s safe to assume that Bernie still leads among younger black voters, while Biden’s voters tend to be older.
After promising for two years and failing to deliver Trump and his crew in handcuffs over imaginary collusion with the Russians, it’s hard to see how any Democrat wins in 2020. Even Bernie Sanders did his best to spread the RussiaGate nonsense. And while Bernie is likely the best candidate against Trump (my opinion – not the pollsters) the big lmoney guys from the telecoms, the military contractors, the real estate and banking and Big Pharma will surely line up behind their dependable Uncle Joe. They would rather lose with Biden than win with Bernie.
The key to popping the Biden Balloon is getting past the warm and fuzzy Obama hangover, and drilling down into Biden’s actual record as a corporate stooge, a warmonger, an architect of the prison state, a foe of Medicare For All and a servant of the predatory banking industry which has saddled a generation with unpayable student debt. Most of the Democratic hopefuls though cannot do this, because they too are on the same corporate tit as Joe Biden, which is a telling indictment of the Democratic party, and why I and others are trying to build another party outside of and independent of the corporate-run Republicans and Democrats.
For Black Agenda Radio Commentaries I’m Bruce Dixon. Find our audio podcasts – there are two of them, Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Libsyn or wherever you get your podcasts.
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Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport. He answers email, and has also been known to answer tweets to @brucedixon.