In an increasingly angry and bad faith campaign, Donald Trump and his team are presenting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as an anti-police radical controlled by the far left. Last week, the Trump campaign sent a text message to supporters warning them that Antifa would raid their homes if Biden wins in November. “They’ll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home and invite MS-13 to live next door,” warned Florida congressman Matt Gaetz.
The reality, however, is that the 77-year-old former vice president has a long history of opposing progressive legislation and spearheading increasingly more draconian police, immigration, and criminal justice measures. Biden first shot to prominence in the 1970s, when, as a freshman senator, he became a leading voice against bussing, the practice of desegregating schools via public transport (something his now-running mate Kamala Harris grilled him on during the debates). He also maintained a close relationship with arch segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond, who left the Democratic party and became a Republican due to his vehement opposition to the Civil Rights Act. He even read the eulogy at Thurmond’s funeral, around the time of which it came out that Thurmond had fathered a child with a 15-16-year-old black servant girl working for him.
“Hang People for Jaywalking”
But Biden’s problematic history with race goes much further; the Delawarian has been one of the chief architects of the racist prison system we live under today. For decades, he pushed for more cops, more jails, more arrests, and more convictions, even criticizing the notorious Ronald Reagan for not locking enough people up.
Throughout the 1980s, he and Thurmond worked on a number of bills that radically reshaped the criminal justice system, including the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act which limited parole and cut sentence reductions for good behavior. Biden continued to attack Republican George H.W. Bush from the right on crime, in 1989, condemning his draconian proposals as not going far enough. “In a nutshell, the President’s plan does not include enough police officers to catch the violent thugs, enough prosecutors to convict them, enough judges to sentence them, or enough prison cells to put them away for a long time,” he said, later demanding to know why Bush hadn’t executed more drug dealers like he wanted.
Despite Bush pushing through substantial increases to the prison industrial system, Biden continually demanded more, publishing his own plans that included billions more in funding for increased numbers of police, FBI, and DEA agents.
This all culminated in what in 2007 he called his “greatest accomplishment” in politics: the controversial 1994 Crime Bill. Often labeled the “Biden Crime Bill” because of its author and chief promoter, the bill laid the basis for an ever-increasing prison population, introducing the death penalty for dozens of new offenses and spent billions on hundreds of thousands of extra police and prison cells. Just as Bill Clinton was making a point of returning to Arkansas to oversee the execution of a mentally handicapped black man, Biden was staking out his position as a new leader of the new, “tough on crime” Democrats, boasting that his bill meant that “we do everything but hang people for jaywalking.” As his biographer Branko Marcetic wrote, Biden makes Hillary Clinton look like [civil rights advocate] Michelle Alexander.