After an absolutely brutal debate for Joe Biden, he has fallen to 3rd place in prediction betting markets overnight.
In addition, his claim that Kamala Harris distorted his record has been largely debunked.
CBS even showed archive video of Biden proving her point. Is Biden’s campaign over before it has even begun?
The exchange lasted about four minutes, but it was perhaps the most intense moment of the Democratic primary so far. And it’s a moment that might linger for a lot longer still, because Biden’s explanation of his record doesn’t pass muster. He did, in fact, oppose busing in America. He argued against the idea forcefully, as an example of liberal overreach, and evidence of the ways in which reformers had “lost our bearings since the 1954 Brown vs. School Board desegregation case,” as he told one interviewer.
As my colleague Hannah Levintova recounted in April:
During one debate on the Senate floor, Biden said, “I have become convinced that busing is a bankrupt concept,” as he backed an anti-busing measure sponsored by avowed segregationist Sen. Jesse Helms. When a federally mandated integration program was set to begin in Biden’s home state in the late 1970s, the Delaware senator co-sponsored an amendment, tacked on to an education appropriations bill, which would have limited courts’ ability to order busing and imposed a halt on all pending busing orders around the country. The Washington Post at the time called it “the most far-reaching antibusing measure to receive serious consideration in the Senate.” (It failed by a slim margin.)
Biden’s argument was that busing was unfair to white students who would have to go to sub-standard, predominantly black schools. He believed it crossed a line that civil rights reformers should respect and acknowledge. Here’s what he told a Delaware newspaper in 1975:
The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with. What it says is, “In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.” That’s racist! Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?
He rejected the argument that “In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race.” These are not technical arguments about the education department’s role in things, although that was the defensive mechanism employed by Biden to defeat it. They are arguments about the idea of busing—exactly like Harris claimed.