Former Vice President Joe Biden has made no effort to hide his cozying up to the rich. He even went to a Wall Street fundraiser after speaking to the Poor People’s Campaign. But if that was too subtle, he’s outright told his donors that he’s a friend to well-heeled Americans.
“Truth of the matter is, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done,” Biden told rich potential donors Tuesday. “We can disagree in the margins. But the truth of the matter is, it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living would change.”
“Nothing would fundamentally change,” he promised.
Biden has had fundraisers sponsored by health insurance CEOs opposing Medicare for All and union-busting lawyers. Wall Street was bullish for Biden before he even announced. And his staff includes a top adviser also lobbied to pass Trump’s anti-worker U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (the rebrand of NAFTA).
Biden has made an effort to present himself as eminently moderate, even and especially where it has not actually benefited his campaign. Touting things like his ability to work with segregationists, praised conversion therapy proponent Vice President Mike Pence, and saying he has no sympathy for young, struggling Americans. He also helped sink a Democratic Congressional candidate in what that candidate characterized as political gamesmanship.
But where he crosses the aisle most is where it hurts the working class. Biden supported cutting Medicare and Social Security during a speech at the Brookings Institution in 2018. Jacobin characterized Biden as the kind of transactional, Wall Street moderate that Hillary Clinton faced blistering criticism for being, and he continues to hold fast to that space despite the party moving further toward progressive values.
“Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people. Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money,” Biden said Tuesday.
He added: “I need you very badly.”
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.