[EXCLUSIVE OP-ED] CLARENCE HENDERSON: Biden is as good at debating as he is bad at governing

(Clarence Henderson is a civil rights activist and recipient of the 40th Anniversary Sit-In Participant Award. A North Carolina native, he also serves as a member of the Black Voices for Trump coalition advisory board.)

Voters should expect to see a competent performance by Joe Biden on the debate stage, but don’t let his polished rhetoric mask his tarnished record.

Biden is a career politician who has spent nearly half a century in Washington, D.C. During that time, he has run for president three times and vice president twice, giving him abundant experience in nationally-televised debates. He knows how to deliver canned talking points and deflect tough questions with folksy platitudes. He’ll undoubtedly rely on those skills when he faces off against President Trump, but nothing he says on the debate stage can change the fact that his record is one of consistent failure on every major challenge our country has faced.

In the 1970s, he strongly opposed busing as a means of integrating public schools, siding with Southern segregationists whom he still recalls fondly. Senator Kamala Harris forcefully called him out on this during one of the Democratic primary debates, but Biden managed to blunt the attack with a non-answer. The spat had so little effect on Biden that he later chose Harris as his running mate.

In the 1980s, Biden staked out a position as a “tough-on-crime” politician, boasting of his “lock the S.O.B.’s up” philosophy while crafting policies that resulted in the mass incarceration of Black Americans for non-violent crimes. When this became a liability in the current election cycle, however, he shamelessly flip-flopped and pretended to be a compassionate supporter of criminal justice reform.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Biden took his goofy approach to governing global, spearheading disastrous policies such as NAFTA that sacrificed the interests of American workers to foreign competitors. He was also instrumental in enabling China to rip our country off in historic fashion.

Americans are well aware that China is a dangerous rival. Even before the communist regime’s deadly mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, we suffered the loss of millions of jobs due to China’s unfair and illegal trade practices. China’s rise to become the world’s second-largest economy wouldn’t have been possible without help from establishment politicians in America such as Joe Biden, though.

Biden supported granting China “most favored nation” trading status, paving the way for its eventual entrance into the World Trading Organization (WTO), a move that caused extensive and lasting damage to blue collar industries in North Carolina and other states. Between 2001 and 2008, an estimated 80,000 North Carolinians lost their livelihoods to China, thanks in large part to the policies Biden helped to put in place.

Now, though, Biden has the audacity to fraudulently portray himself as a China hawk — a contortion he can only hope to pull off through brazen gaslighting. He demonstrated during the primaries that he’s perfectly comfortable contradicting himself on the debate stage, relying on folksiness to charm uninformed voters into taking him at his word even when it runs contrary to his previous actions.

Joe Biden can debate blindfolded with his hands behind his back and still avoid taking any mortal political blows. But there is nothing he can do to change the fact that he has spent nearly half a century consistently failing the American people on every meaningful issue, and we shouldn’t let him distract us from that atrocious record.

(Clarence Henderson is a civil rights activist and recipient of the 40th Anniversary Sit-In Participant Award. A North Carolina native, he also serves as a member of the Black Voices for Trump coalition advisory board.)

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