Hey, whatever happened to Joe Biden? Is that guy still running for President? Well what do you know, yes, he is, and today he suggested that the police ought to be shooting unarmed protestors in the leg instead of the heart. Yes that is exactly the reform everyone’s looking for, nailed it.
Though his name may not have come across your Twitter timeline in a while, Biden is still running for President, though by the look of things you could be forgiven for thinking he wants the job even less than Trump. “We all have a moral obligation to stand up, speak out, and hold people accountable,” he said on CNN this weekend, which is about as stirring a slogan as you might find at the end of a probiotic yogurt commercial.
Biden moments ago said we should train cops to shoot unarmed people “in the leg instead of the heart.”
This is so problematic. Cops shouldn’t shoot unarmed people at all.
How much longer are Democrats going to pretend that @JoeBiden’s cut out for this? pic.twitter.com/Fc3H2tn1fG
— Ryan Knight 🌹 (@ProudSocialist) June 1, 2020
There’s an episode of 30 Rock where Liz says to Jenna, “okay, well, goodbye, my … closest female friend,” with a look of astonishment as she realizes that what she’s saying is true. I bring that up because I’ve been looking at how the other Democratic presidential contenders have been handling things, and I hear Liz’s tone of astonishment in my head when I remind myself that this is the most viable political opposition we have to Donald Trump.
Biden’s campaign has been working on selecting a running mate, though it hasn’t gone smoothly. Many of the other candidates — Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar — have a background in law enforcement, so that changes the optics somewhat. And his whole “you ain’t black” thing a few days ago (I still don't think I've stopped sighing about that one) didn’t help.
But anyway, here's Biden's plan to address police violence.
Pete Buttigieg put out a statement that reads like one of those “we trained an AI algorithm by feeding it 30,000 press releases and then told it to make a statement” experiments. “Black lives depend on whether America can be what we want to believe it is,” he tweeted. Later, he posted a list of bail funds. Unlike many of the other candidates, he has not called for an end to cash bail.
Kamala Harris (who has proposed ending cash bail, but also supported higher bail costs) spent at least part of the weekend in the midst of the protests. She also said that the cops who killed George Floyd “clearly committed murder,” and acknowledged that Pride month exists because QTPOC stood up to police violence.
Elizabeth Warren made a similar statement (without naming names), and while she’s been vocal throughout the protests she hasn’t been much more specific than Biden about law enforcement, calling for “different policies—brave, inclusive, moral public policies.” She also expressed support for a resolution condemning police brutality. And for what it's worth, she's one of the few national leader who's called for reparations.
Bernie Sanders called Floyd’s killing a “police murder,” and said that lethality needs to be the last response, not the first response. He tweeted that every killing perpetrated by a cop should be investigated by the Department of Justice, which is a great idea if you trust the DOJ.
Julián Castro had a very productive suggestion today: “There’s only one way to make change,” he tweeted. “Vote, organize and push your local, state and federal representatives until they tackle police reform.” Yeah, hear that, protestors? Next time you’re shot in the face by a cop, please respond by voting for him not to shoot you in the face.
Amy Klobuchar declined to bring charges against violent cops in the past. Jay Inslee called out the National Guard. And Mike Bloomberg — remember him? — read the room and chose this weekend to announce a partnership with Goldman Sachs.