Madison-Area DSA is calling for the immediate withdrawal of Joe Biden from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination given the myriad women who have spoken publicly and courageously about his harassment, predation, and rape.
Let us be clear: each and every time Biden has violated a person’s boundaries, regardless of what any specific violation was, must matter. We must not care only about the worst attacks against the most perfect victims; doing so would perpetuate rape culture and run directly counter to the work we undertake as an anti-sexist, socialist organization.
Tara Reade, Biden’s most recent accuser, has stated consistently over decades that he harassed her while she worked in his Senate office and, in one instance, raped her after she brought him his gym bag. Friends and family members have corroborated the trauma she faced in his office.
Not surprisingly, Biden has denied Reade’s rape allegation vehemently, and has casually dismissed other complaints about his now-familiar pattern of ignoring women’s physical boundaries. In doing so, Biden — and now a coterie of top women surrogates in the Democratic Party — have retreated to friendlier versions of two familiar refrains: Biden is trustworthy (in other words, women lie), and Biden understands that social norms have shifted (in other words, these aren’t the good old days anymore).
We reject these attempts to silence survivors, and we believe Tara Reade. Period.
After three years of Trump, we cannot allow survivors to be railroaded yet again. These past few months have shown that there can be no accounting for Biden’s behavior within the Democratic Party, or within this race. Ceding that point — allowing Biden to obscure reality and claim that he is the candidate who can take down our predatory President — would do untold damage to survivors and to the #MeToo movement that sprung up to support them. Letting Biden’s behavior go unquestioned would tell survivors that their words, their experiences, their pain, are not enough.
Tara Reade has to matter. Survivors’ truths have to matter. As an anti-oppressive socialist organization, the DSA is well-positioned to be among the loudest voices speaking up for the survivors that Biden and his surrogates would like us to ignore. If the DSA can offer a programmatic alternative to austerity, free-market ideology, and laissez-faire capitalism that the Democratic Party has embraced, surely it can also offer an alternative to the political opportunism and misogyny that the Democrats represent.
We, the Madison-Area Democratic Socialists of America, stand with survivors. If the Democratic Party can unite to defeat Bernie Sanders, surely they can find another candidate who is not a rapist to lead their ticket.