Leading the polls, at the front and centre of the debate stage is Former Vice President Joe Biden, yet not everyone thinks he deserves to be there. Biden has a past history of racist voting records and endorsements which cannot be ignored, critics say.

The truth is in the numbers; Joe Biden’s voting records have not been immaculate in the past. He has been criticised for his support of the Iraq War, which killed many innocent citizens. Biden voted in favour of the war in 2002, a decision which he now regrets.

The question of Biden’s racism came out in full force at the first Democratic debate, where he was asked about opposing busing to desegregate schools. Senator Kamala Harris, who has also been accused of racism, defended Biden on the night by saying she “doesn’t believe he is a racist”.

Biden has been linked to several segregationists, notably South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond. Biden spoke at Thurmond’s funeral about how they were close friends, despite him being a segregationist Senator. In the eulogy, Biden claimed he stood against Strom Thurmond’s racist views, “but then I met the man.” Biden spoke of their friendship and ability to work together, which has since been criticised. He called the man who spoke against the Civil Rights Act his ‘closest friend,’ but denies accusations of racism.

The 2020 presidential hopeful has faced the harsh reality of his past in debates so far; still, Biden remains the frontrunner in the polls.

History repeats itself. Notably, Biden’s ties with former segregationists didn’t just end at Strom Thurmond; he also gave a glowing eulogy of former KKK member Robert Byrd. Byrd, a senator who opposed equal employment opportunities and supported public discrimination of minorities. Byrd is known for filibustering the Civil Rights Act in an attempt to block the legislation from passing. He later denounced his views and claimed to regret his affiliation with white supremacist views.

Given the nickname ‘sleepy creepy Joe,’ Joe Biden’s controversy goes further than allegations of racism. Videos of Biden’s ‘awkward moments’ have amassed millions of views on YouTube; critics have argued his behaviour crosses a line. Instances of inappropriate conduct, such as unwanted shoulder massages and overtly sexual jokes about lawmakers’ daughters have surfaced. Over the years, multiple women have come forward, saying Biden’s behaviour wasn’t illegal, but that it was unacceptable nonetheless.

Further Democratic debates are set to happen at the end of this month. There’s still a rollercoaster of controversy before the Democrats choose their frontrunner for the election, but it is becoming more and more clear that Joe Biden may not be the right choice.

AZARIA HOWELL is a huge politics nerd living in Christchurch. Expect lots of new political articles on Tearaway from her! She also loves snowboarding, Beagles, and wearing clunky boots.

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