Biden and BLM must set aside differences, focus on beating Trump
by Will Marshall, PPI President
Joe Biden isn’t nearly as visible, but he’s leading President Trump in every key battleground state and even some – including Texas – that no one expected to be up for grabs in 2020.
At the same time, the former vice president is taking heat from Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the progressive left, who complain that his stance on policing and criminal justice reform is too tepid.
These divergent realities reflect two large tensions that Biden must manage adroitly to unite his fractious party and prevent Trump from winning in November.
The first is between movement and electoral politics. The slayings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and other African Americans have triggered nationwide outrage and overdue soul-searching among white Americans over endemic racism in our society.
Despite Trump’s bleating about “terrorists” and “law and order,” Americans overwhelmingly support the protests. In a significant shift, majorities now approve of the Black Lives Matter movement and say racism is a key 2020 issue.
Biden welcomed the protests as a “wake up call for the nation” and has embraced a ban on chokeholds and reforming the “qualified immunity” standard that shields violent cops from legal liability. But he has firmly rejected activist demands to “defund the police.” Biden knows some of the angry rhetoric arising from the streets bleeds into a generalized hostility toward police — a position anathema to him and rank and file Democrats.
Join our email list to stay connected.