Joe Biden is riding a raft on treacherous whitewater as he tries to appease the demands of the newly enraged and energized African-American voters while staying in the bounds of what white voters will tolerate.
As with anyone who shoots the rapids, he is not the master of his own fate. While he doubtless is thrilled by the speed at which he and his raft are traveling, he must realize that he cannot steer and is at the mercy of the current as he tries to stay in the center and avoid the rocks and shoals that are littered throughout the riverbed.
Any of them could rip a hole in his raft and likely injure his candidacy severely, particularly when portrayed by Trump’s merciless tongue.
For example, how about the demands of the protesting mob for defunding or disarming the police?
Despite efforts by civil rights leaders to cool the rhetoric, this demand is inevitably going to surface repeatedly rising in intensity with each iteration. “How,” white suburban moms are sure to ask, “can we protect our children without police?”
The same will happen with their demand that police officers, now shielded by statute from personal liability lawsuits connected to their official duties, be exposed to the wrath of trial lawyers whenever they do something that seems actionable. Police forces cannot live under such scrutiny, nor can profit-hungry lawyers seeking to make one-third of any recovery be counted on to be reasonable in their litigation.
Doctors are protected from this kind of personal liability by malpractice insurance and — with their usually formidable personal wealth — they can navigate the risks. But a cop making $60,000 a year has no such protection.
And which police officer can rest comfortably when any complaint against him would be entered in a national database — following him from job to job — akin to that maintained to screen out child sexual abusers?
And then there is the big enchilada: The demand for reparations for slavery, sure to surface in the rioters’ demands.
Biden is an acquired taste for African-American voters.
During the primaries, the silence of former President Obama was deafening, almost akin to President Eisenhower’s near-fatal quip about his own vice president, Richard Nixon.
Nixon was running for president in 1960 on a slogan of “Experience Counts” and Eisenhower was asked if he could recall any major decision in which Nixon had played a role.
“If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don’t remember,” he said.
Indeed, it was not until South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn endorsed Biden in the days before the primary that African-Americans rallied en masse to his candidacy.
Super Tuesday was a few days later and African-Americans, taking their cue from South Carolina, backed him heavily and delivered the nomination.
Biden is on probation with black voters. His record as a senator from Delaware, a former slave state, gives grounds for their suspicion.
He was, for example, instrumental in stopping school busing for racial integration while in the Senate and, until it fell out of fashion this year, always boasted that he was the sponsor of the mandatory incarceration law the black community hates above all else.
Any deviation from their cause is likely to drain his black support and sap their enthusiasm.
And at the same time, it will likely cool the ardor of white leftists, now so energetically backing him against Trump.
Biden faces the danger of anyone whose supporters are mainly voting against his opponent — that when they learn more about him, they will wish a plague on both houses and stay home on election day.
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