Some in the comments of my post on Joe Biden and his rejection of Brown v Board of Education of establishing a purity test that no candidate can meet and thereby rejecting viable candidates and undermining those who are running against Trump. Is that true? No, and let me explain why.
I’m not one of those people who expects absolute purity. In fact, I’m a pragmatist who opposes that stance. But you do have to decide which issues you cannot compromise on, positions you can’t accept on principle. And Biden has taken too many terrible positions on those things for me to support him (except in the general election against Trump; I would vote for a houseplant over Trump). The busing issue is only one of several examples. Some others:
His sponsorship and/or strong advocacy of a series of bills that helped create and make much worse of our mass incarceration problem that has destroyed millions of lives and families. These bills include the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which created mandatory minimum sentence for drug offenses; the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which created the vastly different sentences for crack offenses than for regular cocaine offenses; and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made the 1984 act even more harsh and continued the racial bias of the previous two laws.
One of the truly appalling parts of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act was that it changed the standard for civil asset forfeiture and created one of the most blatant constitutional violations imaginable. Until then, the government could only seize property if the defendant was found guilty in the case. This act changed that, allowing the government to seize property not only when someone is not found guilty bit even if they were never even charged. And once the property is seized, the burden of proof was on the person who property was taken to prove that it wasn’t gained through or used in the commission of a crime. It’s really hard to imagine a more blatant violation of the Bill of Rights.
The abuses and racial bias of our criminal justice system are something I care very deeply about. I write about the issue constantly because it violates my core principles. If Biden merely voted for the bills, I could give him some leeway, but he didn’t merely vote for them, he sponsored them and shepherded them through the Senate. If he came out and unequivocal apologized for his previous stances and offered model legislation that reverses the damage that he helped do, I could give him some benefit of the doubt. Instead, he’s often defended his actions and even lied about them.
So am I applying purity test that can’t be met and thus undermining the Democrats’ ability to beat Trump? Am I part of the circular firing squad the Democrats form so often? No, I don’t think I am. What I am doing is applying my most important principles to establish at least some minimum standard that I require a candidate to meet before I support them (again, unless he wins the nomination, then I will vote for him over the most demented and dangerous man ever to occupy the White House).