The third Democratic debate got underway with little or no fireworks, and moreover, without any clear insight on which of the candidates would be most equipped to throw President Trump off his game plan.
However, one thing is clear, Joe Biden the former vice president will be no David of Biblical fame as a match against Trump.
In the debate, Linsey David, one of the debate moderators posed the question to Joe Biden thus:
“In a conversation about how to deal with segregation in schools back in 1975, you told a reporter, ‘I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather. I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation, and I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.'”
“You said that some 40 years ago,” he continued. “But as you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?”
The 76-year-old Joe Biden responded accordingly: “Well, they have to deal with the — look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. From the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Redlining banks, making sure we are in a position where — look, you talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title I schools, triple the amount of money we spend from $15 to $45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise, the equal raise to getting out -— the $60,000 level.
“Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are — I’m married to a teacher; my deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. Make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children.
“It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — the — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.”
Biden’s answer did not only leave several political pundits puzzled, but also questioned his understanding of black issues.
“I don’t know what he was answering, but it wasn’t the question,” said Angela Rye Democratic strategist and former executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus.
“I think it also is highly problematic that Joe Biden has not yet dealt with whether or not he has a black agenda. When we talk about racism in this country, it’s not about whether parents know how to raise their children. And then for him to say that on stage at Texas Southern University, which is a historically black college … I don’t know if he’s not listening to his black advisers,” she added.
Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith said Biden’s comments were disqualifying. “Democrats need an antiracist nominee to run against a racist like Donald Trump. The third debate confirmed Biden isn’t up to the task,” she lamented.
Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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