I have to admit, I came close to titling this, “Guess where Joe Biden will not go on Monday?” to play off Karen’s piece on Trump’s Kenosha visit but decided to pass. Humor is not really my forte if I’m honest, so it makes more sense to go with a different lede.
Joe Biden is going to address racial tensions on Monday, but the talk won’t originate from Wisconsin. POLITICO reports Biden’s decision to skip Wisconsin is because of Trump’s visit (emphasis mine).
Two sources with knowledge of the former vice president’s travel discussions say that while Biden is expected to travel, he will steer clear of the pivotal Midwestern battleground state on Monday. He is expected to address the rising tensions stemming from the unrest in Portland and Kenosha.
The thinking, according to these people, is that Trump’s trip to Kenosha could backfire on the president. The Biden campaign is ramping up its messaging that the unrest in the city and elsewhere is an outgrowth of the president’s rhetoric that inflames racial tensions.
Maybe? Pradheep Shanker believes the strategy will backfire on Biden because he’s not showing leadership and won’t provide specifics on how he’d stop the violence. It’s an understandable belief, however, Biden finds himself in a bit of a pickle when it comes to the issue of policing because he’s not in the #defundthepolice camp.
“Everybody forgets a third of that bill that I wrote [[ note from Taylor: likely the Police Officers Bill of Rights more details here ]] was to put more cops in the street, not in their automobiles, but getting out and knowing the community,” Biden told ABC after the Democratic National Convention wrapped up. “Knowing who owns the local grocery store, knowing everybody in the community, and crime will drop. The other thing is– they also need help. We– they need more social workers, they need psychologists with them, they need to have the kind of help that in fact allows them to deal with circumstances, where you have someone who is about to jump off a building or someone who is crazed and needs– you have to have people who are– have expertise beyond just the physical support and the physical protection of someone.”
It’s likely any specifics from Biden which do not fall under the ‘defund the police’ banner end up poorly received by progressives, especially those who are leery of his (and running mate Senator Kamala Harris) beliefs on justice reform. He’d likely lose Bernie Sanders fans and younger African-Americans and Hispanics were he to go to Kenosha or Portland and suggest more funding for police. Biden may be a “moderate” when it comes to his previous reputation, but Democrats are doing all they can to bring in more democratic socialists and progressives. Backing more police funding won’t play over well.
What’s also likely is that Biden wouldn’t do anything different from Trump on sending in the National Guard or federal police. He’d just present it in a more tolerable way than a brash tweet or 12. That’s great for those who care about not killing the messenger, but not for those who desire substantive change like defunding the police.
Biden’s speech will likely be similar to one from late July where he suggested spending more money on infrastructure and giving more money to minority-owned businesses. All that’s doing is giving more power to the government and ignoring past governmental failures under the guise of fixing and issue. It’s not loosening the reins on the free market by getting rid of laws and regulations thus making it easier for people of all races to advance monetarily and technologically.
So maybe it’s not a bad thing that he’s skipping Kenosha for some other city.