The busing debate between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, explained Since the first 2020 Democratic primary debate, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have clashed on the issue of busing as a ...
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The odds are now very strong that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee. New polling averages say they account for almost 70 percent of support nationwide, while no other candidate is anywhere near. For progressives who want to affect the news instead of just consume it, active engagement will be essential.
Biden is the most regressive Democrat with a real chance to head the ticket. After amassing a five-decade record littered with odious actions and statements, he now insists that the 2020 campaign "shouldn't be about the past" -- an evasive and ridiculous plea, coming from someone who proclaims himself to be "an Obama-Biden Democrat" and goes to absurd lengths to fasten himself onto Obama's coattails, while also boasting of his past ability to get legislation through Congress.
As he campaigns, Biden persists with disingenuous denials. During the June 27 debate, he flatly -- and falsely -- declared: "I did not oppose busing in America." On July 6, speaking to a mostly black audience in South Carolina, he said: "I didn't support more money to build state prisons. I was against it." But under the headline "Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims He Opposed Spending More Money to Build State Prisons," CNN reported that "he was misrepresenting his own record."
Biden used the Fourth of July weekend to dig himself deeper into a centrist, status quo trench for his war on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. During a repeatedly cringeworthy interview, Biden told CNN that what can't be done includes Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and student debt cancelation. Bernie Sanders quickly responded with a tweet calling Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal "the agenda American needs -- and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump."
No one has summed up Biden's political stance better than Elizabeth Warren, who told the California Democratic Party convention five weeks ago: "Some Democrats in Washington believe the only changes we can get are tweaks and nudges. If they dream, they dream small. Some say if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses." She added: "When a candidate tells you about all the things that aren't possible, about how political calculations come first . . . they're telling you something very important -- they are telling you that they will not fight for you."
Being preferable to Joe Biden is a low bar, and Kamala Harris clears it. But, like Biden, she stands to lose potential support from many self-described liberals and progressives to the extent they learn more about her actual record.
Overall, Harris's work as San Francisco's DA and the California attorney general was not progressive. Lara Bazelon, former director of the LA-based Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent, wrote in a New York Times column early this year: "Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state's attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors."
Last week, Bazelon said: "Kamala Harris claims to be a champion of criminal justice reform. But as a prosecutor . . . she was anything but. She needs to make the case to the voters that her change of heart is genuine. Crucial to that case is reckoning with her past."