We're looking into it very,very strongly. At a certain point in time I'll be revealing some interesting things.
- Donald J. Trump, April 21, 2011
It was going so well for Joe Biden on Wednesday before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He hit most of the right notes, including
How many of you now, whether you voted for him or not, are beginning to wonder if the roots, the invisible moral fabric that holds everything up, is eroding in a way that’s dangerous for democratic institutions? If we don’t stand up, the liberal world order we championed will quickly become an illiberal world order we suffer.
But then it happened. Voters who deserted the Democratic Party for candidate Trump, Biden argued, "have real fears. It’s not based on race. They voted for a black man two times.”
This is not borderline ignorance. This is Trump-level ignorance.
Hillary Clinton, we are to believe, did not lose to the self-proclaimed "law-and-order candidate" who once pointed to "my African-American," condoned the beating of an African-American shouting "black lives matter," and has a history of racial bias.
Nor would Biden have us believe that she lost to the man who claimed that Barack Obama may not have been born in the United States of America, who on fourteen- 14!- occasions suggested the possibility the President was foreign-born. The victor could not possibly have been the guy who maintained that the black president so accepted in white America "has been the most ignorant president in our history (who) has been a disaster as a president. He will go down as one of the worst presidents in our history."
A more sober assessment came from The Guardian's Gary Younge, who in January observed
There is a deeper connection, however, between Trump’s rise and what Obama did – or rather didn’t do – economically. He entered the White House at a moment of economic crisis, with Democratic majorities in both Houses and bankers on the back foot. Faced with the choice of preserving the financial industry as it was or embracing far-reaching reforms that would have served the interests of those who voted for him, he chose the former.
Just a couple of months into his first term he called a meeting of banking executives. “The president had us at a moment of real vulnerability,” one of them told Ron Suskind in his book Confidence Men. “At that point, he could have ordered us to do just about anything and we would have rolled over. But he didn’t – he mostly wanted to help us out, to quell the mob.” People lost their homes while bankers kept their bonuses and banks kept their profits.
In 2010 Damon Silvers of the independent congressional oversight panel told Treasury officials: “We can either have a rational resolution to the foreclosure crisis, or we can preserve the capital structure of the banks. We can’t do both.” They chose the latter. Not surprisingly, this was not popular. Three years into Obama’s first term 58% of the country – including an overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents – wanted the government to help stop foreclosures. His Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, did the opposite, setting up a programme that would “foam the runway” for the banks.
So when Hillary Clinton stood for Obama’s third term, the problem wasn’t just a lack of imagination: it was that the first two terms had not lived up to their promise.
We proved America isn't racist, many conservatives insist, because we elected in a black president. Echoing that theme, the former vice president argues "It’s not based on race. They voted for a black man two times.”
Joe Biden evidently believes that racism sometime in the fairly recent past was banished from American society. He lives in a world of puppy dogs and nursery rhymes where hostility toward blacks never enters the polling place. It is an adorable and fetching notion, made no less appealing because of its detachment from reality.