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Biden Is Set To Run in 2020, But Something He Said In 1993 Could Complicate Matters

Former Vice President Joe Biden is most likely going to run in 2020. He’s prepping. He’s laying down the groundwork. And Democrats are either unenthused, thinking his time is done (or that he’s a relic of the past), or impatient—some viewing him as a stabilizing force in a field that’s far left, unknown, and rapidly becoming a clown car (via NYT):


The pieces for a Joseph R. Biden Jr. presidential campaign are falling into place: His nucleus of advisers has begun offering campaign positions to seasoned Democratic strategists. They are eyeing a headquarters in Delaware or nearby Philadelphia and a launch date in the beginning of April. Mr. Biden’s family is on board — his wife, Jill, enthusiastically so.

Mr. Biden has also been privately reaching out to a range of influential Democrats, including party donors, members of Congress and allies in the early primary states, to gauge their support. A pillar of organized labor, the International Association of Fire Fighters, is prepared to support him in the Democratic primary.

And in recent weeks, Mr. Biden’s strategist, Steve Ricchetti, has called a handful of would-be candidates and their aides to signal that the former vice president is likely to enter the race and of late has been telling Democrats that he’s 95 percent committed to running, according to officials directly familiar with the discussions.


Mr. Biden’s decision looms as perhaps the most significant unanswered question of the 2020 contest and his entry could bring shape to what has been a diffuse Democratic primary, providing voters with a clear front-runner.

As a candidate, Mr. Biden would present Democrats with a clear alternative to the hard-charging liberals who now dominate the race and test the appeal of his old-school political profile at a moment the party is hungry for fresh faces but even hungrier to win.


“I absolutely believe he’s going to run,” said Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who talked to Mr. Biden on the phone earlier this week. “There may still be some doubt in his mind but there’s no doubt in my mind.”

Biden could do well with white working-class voters. He has name recognition. Those two things are key, given that most of the field is relatively unknown. Could it clear the field? Probably not and Sen. Bernie Sanders has done well with white working-class voters. But this is a primary contest. Black voters are a huge Democratic constituency. Mr. Sanders has more or less been a disaster on this front, representing a state that’s been whiter than rice for most of his career. So, where does that leave Biden? It’s hard to say anything definitive since both of his previous presidential bids ended early and without much support. He was ever a dominant figure. So, with his incoming third bite at the apple, he could be facing issues with this 1993 speech about the crime bill, which will definitely come off as racist to the growing legions of progressives that dot the base. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski found this gem, where then-Sen. Biden warned about criminals on our streets that were “beyond the pale” when speaking about Bill Clinton’s crime bill:

Joe Biden in a 1993 speech warned of "predators on our streets" who were "beyond the pale" and said they must be cordoned off from the rest of society because the justice system did not know how to rehabilitate them.

Biden, then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the comments on the Senate floor a day before a vote was scheduled on the Senate's version of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

His central role in shaping and shepherding the tough-on-crime bill will likely face scrutiny in a Democratic primary should he run for president in 2020. His 1993 comments, which were in line with the broad political consensus to tackling crime at the time, are at odds with a new bipartisan coalition of activists and lawmakers who are trying to undo what they say is a legacy of mass incarceration fostered by that era.

Biden's word choice could also pose a problem with a new generation of Democrats who view the rhetoric at the time as perpetuating harmful myths about the black community.


They are beyond the pale many of those people, beyond the pale," Biden continued. "And it's a sad commentary on society. We have no choice but to take them out of society."

In the speech, Biden described a "cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally ... because they literally have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity." He said, "we should focus on them now" because "if we don't, they will, or a portion of them, will become the predators 15 years from now."

Biden added that he didn't care "why someone is a malefactor in society" and that criminals needed to be "away from my mother, your husband, our families."


Hillary Clinton called them “superpredators,” though she did nab a solid 88 percent of black voters during the 2016 election. Still, we’re in a different era regrettably. Identity politics reigns supreme on the Left. Everything and anything is racist. And they’re retroactively applying this nutty standard to everything. Joe may jump in, but it doesn’t mitigate the chance that the 2020 Democratic primaries could be a full-blown and bloody war that batters the party. Meanwhile, Trump can smile, laugh, and count the massive war chest he will have at his disposal to unleash an assault upon the Left. 

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