by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
By Biden’s own account, he took a bold stance against racism and joined the civil rights activist movement during the turbulent 1960s.
This record of radical protest against racial injustice could be a powerful weapon against Kamala Harris, the California senator and 2020 Democratic rival who memorably took him to task in last week’s debate over his 1970s opposition to busing as a way to desegregate schools.
“I came out of the civil rights movement,” Biden said at a book event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in February. Last Friday, he told wealthy donors at a San Francisco fundraiser: “I got involved in the civil rights movement as a kid.” …
… The problem is, there is no evidence that Biden had any involvement in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, beyond being a spectator as he went to college, became a lawyer, and ran for office, being elected to New Castle County Council in Delaware, the beginning of 46 uninterrupted years in public office.
His civil rights record now faces fresh scrutiny after his clash with Harris because he is using it as a shield in the 2020 Democratic race. “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” he said angrily after being criticized last month for speaking wistfully about his friendships with segregationist senators. “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career.”
But other Democratic politicians of his vintage have much greater claims to civil rights activism.