Lucy Flores Allegations: Another Obstacle to a Successful Joe Biden Presidential Run
BRANDON DURAN: Joe Biden is a long-time symbol of the Democratic Party. He is known as Barack Obama’s bromance partner, avid aviator enthusiast, and a working class champion. But when we dig deeper into the current aura of the American political scene, is Joe Biden the best the Democrats can offer out of a field of exemplary candidates looking to unseat President Trump’s seat at the White House? Probably not.
At an event on Tuesday in New York, Democrat and potential presidential hopeful Joe Biden lamented his role in the Anita Hill hearings that ultimately confirmed Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden allowed Hill to be subjected to harsh questioning by other members, as well as posing queries that have, in hindsight, have been deemed inappropriate. In the emerging #MeToo era, Biden’s prominence as a symbol of the failings of the Anita Hill hearings serves as one of the many stumbling blocks he could face during a 2020 presidential run.
On March 29, allegations by Nevada Democrat Lucy Flores surfaced accusing Biden of inappropriate conduct in 2014. Five years ago, Flores was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada, fighting an uphill battle. At a campaign event attended by the former vice president, Flores alleges that Biden grabbed her from behind by the shoulders, “inhaled” her hair and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. She describes the feeling with a Spanish saying: “tragame tierra,” which translates to “earth, swallow me whole.” Flores powerfully says, “he stopped treating me like a peer the moment he touched me.”
Flores describes the inexplicable nature of the event, and how she was willing to give Biden the benefit of the doubt had other troubling allegations not circulated. She cites incidents that include Biden kissing a senator’s wife on the lips, snuggling constituents, and nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary’s wife, among others.
In a statement released by Biden following the allegations, he states that “not once—never—did I believe I acted inappropriately.” Nevertheless, the record does not shine forgivingly on Biden. While it’s not surprising that a 76-year-old career politician would have a fair share of baggage, Biden’s baggage poses a significant challenge given the current political climate.
Biden cannot bring himself to offer a full, sincere apology to the Hill hearings. Although he has expressed his regret in regards to how the spectacle transpired, he seems unable to apologize completely. He continues to paint himself as a victim of his circumstances, powerless and confined to a certain track of action. Perhaps this is the case in some situations, but his role as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Hill’s hearings contradicts this. He could have done something. His excuse is that he was trapped in a “white man’s culture”—a culture he has now condemns.
Biden’s week was already bad enough when a few of his advisers floated the idea of Biden naming Stacey Abrams as his vice president to fortify his commitment to diversity and inject some excitement into the campaign of a 76-year-old white male. He was quickly slammed with charges of tokenism and paternalism from leftist political spheres, whilst Abrams herself rejected any plans of joining Biden’s ticket.
Internal sources reveal Biden is also concerned about his old age and his campaign’s potential inability to raise millions of dollars from online donations. Ideas of advertising his campaign as a one-term American rescue mission further demonstrate Biden’s senior age, and add additional obstacles to a presidential run.
Whether it be his criminal justice record, previous anti-abortion stances, #MeToo allegations, age, gender, race, or comments about segregation from the 70’s, Joe Biden doesn’t seem to be the right choice for the Democrats. In field overflowing with diverse candidates, Joe Biden’s name recognition is high, but his appeal to party progressives is objectionable. He might be the safe choice, but he isn’t the right answer to Trump.
Brandon Duran is a freshman in the College from California and a Staff Writer for On the Record.