The sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden are forcing Democrats on the defensive and could even escalate to the point of dumping Biden from the ticket.

Biden right now is lucky that the coronavirus is swamping all other media coverage and the Democrat-friendly media is giving a pass to the 77-year-old former vice president.

But that could change quickly.

Former Biden aide Tara Reade has bravely gone on the record to tell her side of the story, unafraid of the political backlash. That could help keep the allegations in front of the media for months to come.

Even journalists who are totally in the tank for Biden have to be a little queasy about the double standard being applied to Reade’s allegations.

The coverage so far given to Reade’s charge pales compared to the media circus surrounding sexual assault allegations against then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — some of them coming from anonymous sources. After resisting covering Reade for days, the Washington Post finally published a piece but under the headline: “Developments in allegations against Biden amplify efforts to question his behavior.”

In other words, it’s all Trump’s fault.

The headline was then changed to make it even more clear — “Trump allies highlight new claims” about Biden. The convoluted lede of the story was, “Some allies of President Trump pointed Monday to new claims by a woman who said she was told about sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden decades ago, renewing attention to questions about the past behavior of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”

Could we make it even more obtuse?

But even the Post was embarrassed by its kid gloves treatment of Biden. Let’s hope in the future that the Post and other media give fair treatment to Reade’s charges.

If that happens, and the coronavirus begins to fade a little over the summer, Biden could find himself in a tight spot and might even be forced to address the allegations himself.

If the Reade charges start to stick, look out. Even the most pro-Biden Democrats would have to admit that the scandal could take a toll on the party’s presumptive nominee, possibly enough to renew an effort to push the former vice president off the ticket.

Remember, the coronavirus has put the Democratic primaries at a standstill, and Biden currently doesn’t have enough delegates to clinch the nomination. And even if he does, that doesn’t mean Democrats have to nominate him to the top of the ticket. Biden’s shaky performance and frequent nonsensical utterings during the coronavirus crisis — and even before that — were already making Democrats nervous. Throw in a damaging sex scandal and you have all the ingredients of a full-scale retreat.

If Democrats decided instead to look honestly at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or former first lady Michelle Obama, it would be no contest. Biden would be gone.


(c)2020 the Boston Herald

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