In the midst of COVID-19 throwing the 2020 election into a cloud of uncertainty, one thing is very clear: Joe Biden will be the democratic nominee to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency. Despite the many Democrats who say voting Biden is the clear choice over Trump simply because he’s not Donald Trump, I think things are much more complicated than that.
If you’ve followed coverage of the race, his campaign has been overshadowed by something very prevalent — something that's trying to be swept under the rug: Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations.
For those who aren’t caught up, Reade has come out in the last couple months against Biden, saying Biden had inappropriately touched her numerous times before assaulting her during her time as his senate aide in 1993. CNN reported this accusation was then corroborated by friends of Reade, thus further validating the story. Biden has of course denied these claims, as did close allies of his campaign.
But this is where things start to get tricky. The Democratic Party in recent years has been a champion of the #MeToo movement, especially when claims came out against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Leaders of the party such as Nancy Pelosi often speak up about believing women who share their stories with the world. But suddenly, when the party’s presidential candidate has claims lodged against him, they’re satisfied with his denial. This is especially interesting, as Biden is notorious for his inappropriate behavior with younger girls and women.
Why is this happening? It’s rather simple: blatant hypocrisy. Politicians have always had a reputation of being hypocritical, but this situation has surpassed their usual flippancy toward past policies or beliefs.
The Democratic Party seems to care about one thing above all, and that’s getting its guy into office. Democrats have a history of shady acts to help boost their preferred (usually moderate) candidate, so this doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, but it’s still disappointing nonetheless.
If the Democratic Party wants to continue calling itself the party that supports women and survivors of sexual assault, it has to take Reade’s claims seriously. Being aggressive in your support of women who come out with allegations against rival politicians but practically ignoring allegations against your own undermines the integrity of the party and the trust of its voters.
Breaching that trust certainly won’t help the Democrats win in November like they seem to think it will. Survivors of these kinds of acts want representatives that will support and believe them, not an election between two alleged sexual predators. The very least the party can do is try investigating the claims rather than just accepting Biden’s denial and moving past it like it’s no big deal. It may not be convenient for the campaign, but it’s the right thing to do.
I am certainly not saying to become a Republican because the Democratic Party is dirty; I will remind you that the Republican Party has no issues rallying behind a president with 24 allegations against him and a strong history of misogyny.
A former Senate aide recently accused presidential candidate Joe Biden of a 1990s sexual assault, leading Opinion Editor Sarah Grindstaff to encourage voters to reexamine the standards they set for their politicians.
But what I am saying is that the Democratic Party needs to take a step back and really evaluate how it's handling things. Being two-faced about something as important as sexual violence is against everything the party should stand for. It can’t be the party for the people if it cares more about getting its preferred candidates into positions of power than actually practicing the beliefs, and pushing the policies, that the party supposedly supports.
It’s a worrisome trend that makes this election extremely difficult. Do you ignore the allegations and “vote blue no matter who,” despite the clear hypocrisy, character issues and party corruption that is bubbling to the surface? Or do you abstain from the vote to stand up for your beliefs at risk of another four years of this chaotic and poorly run administration?
What I do know is that Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn’t have any sexual assault allegations against him, so maybe if the party didn’t completely unite against him, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Instead, we get to face this harsh reality and wonder what went wrong.
Wyatt Hall is a sophomore from Bonner Springs studying business analytics.