By Keeanga-Yamahtta TayloNew York
Judging from last year’s Democratic primaries, few would have believed that former Vice-President Joe Biden would be leading the Democratic Party out of the political wilderness armed with some of the most expensive bills in American history. In a crowded primary field, Biden was among the oldest contenders, but, more important, he was cast in the role of the establishment candidate. Biden’s thirty-six years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as the Vice-President to Barack Obama made the charge hard to deny. His younger rivals, believing that Hillary Clinton’s disastrous loss in the Presidential race in 2016 was caused in part by a lack of enthusiasm among Black voters, made appeals to racial justice in their platforms and highlighted Biden’s career of racial pandering on welfare and crime. Kamala Harris momentarily became one of the front-runners in the race after she torched Biden for romanticizing his working relationships with Southern segregationists in the Senate in the nineteen-seventies, saying that was a time when there was more “civility” in politics.