Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Joe Biden suggests putting on 'record players' at night to solve institutionalized racism

Joe Biden is probably wondering how he got here.

Toward the end of Thursday night's Democratic primary debates, the former vice president was challenged with his decades-old rejection of reparations for slavery. Yet even though he'd had 40 years to think of a new response, when asked how to "repair the legacy of slavery" in the U.S., he somehow still thought he was in the 1970s.

Biden started the question by acknowledging there is "institutional segregation in this country," and then started to stumble. First he proposed tripling education spending and raising teacher salaries, then suggested bringing social workers into homes, and then implied parents are struggling to raise their kids and resorting to "play[ing] the radio" and "mak[ing] sure the television — excuse me, mak[ing] sure you have the record player on at night."

As universally questioned as Biden's response was, its vintage charm did seem to rub off on Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Kathryn Krawczyk