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These stories have been widely discussed and shared online, but it’s not like they were revealing some here-to-unknown secret. It’s been well documented that Biden seems to have, at best, a complete lack of understanding of boundaries when it comes to women.
Unless, that is, it’s not that Biden has made women uncomfortable with his behaviors, but that other leading 2020 Democrats are trying to knock the Biden bus off a cliff before it even revs up.
In Axios this morning, advisers to Biden claimed that it was the Bernie Sanders campaign that was behind these reports cropping up.
“Several around Biden think advisers to Bernie Sanders are at least partly behind the anti-Biden campaign,” Axios reported. “One prominent backer thinks Biden will run, and ‘is ready to kill Bernie.'”
That line of questioning stems from some of the initial reports that Lucy Flores—who said Biden kissed her in Nevada in 2014—worked for Our Revolution, which works closely with Sanders. She also said in a Facebook post in 2016 she supported Sanders.
That initial news was enough to paint a conspiracy online.
It’s not shocking the Sanders campaign fielded a plagiarist and a liar to smear @JoeBiden. Attacking Democrats is what I expect from them.— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) April 2, 2019
The shock is so many news networks gave Flores a platform to spread propaganda about normal gestures both she and Bernie made repeatedly. https://t.co/pJdhaZVHj3
Just my view but so far Biden is handling this well...and most actual Democrats won’t look kindly if this turns out to be a hatchet job from Bernie. I’m sensing @davidsirota’s hand....— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) April 1, 2019
Here is Biden's accuser Lucy Flores with Bernie touching her shoulders. She is a Sanders supporter who endorsed him in 2016. As we can see she really doesn't have a problem with shoulder touching. FAKE #MeToo #Bernie2020 #Resist #notoBernie #Biden #JoeBiden #BLUEWAVE pic.twitter.com/1EFPFDlN2q— vbyrddavis (@vbyrddavis) March 31, 2019
Here's her photo with Bernie: https://t.co/EtejPuqhGO— Cass (@Rosefog) April 1, 2019
For centrist conspiracy Democrats, the influence was apparent. Biden, despite not declaring, is leading Sanders in polls. So Bernie needed to do something about it.
However, there’s also a contingent of conservative conspiracists who have found their favorite boogeyman in these accusations as well. That’s right, is the Flores account not a plan by Bernie to knock off Biden, but a plot by Hillary Clinton to set the stage for her 2020 run?
Rumor has it..— Saving America (@SavingAmerica4U) March 30, 2019
Obama/Clinton are behind the latest sexual harassment hit piece on Biden.
Biden was told by OB/HRC not to run for President but Joe isn't listening. So they reached out to Flores to issue warning shot at Biden to step down. OB/HRC want Kamala's name on the ticket pic.twitter.com/b6T5nGKxhy
Don’t Blame Trump!— Media Shrink (@MediaShrink) March 8, 2019
Obama Flunky, Creepy Joe Biden Big Mouth, #FamilyLies & #Hillary2016 Destroyed Him! #Hillary2020 Flooding Smears & Attacks On Any Threat To CLINTON’s THIRD FAILED COronation By The DNC & #SuperDelegates She Still Owns!#KAG2020 #NeverSocialism pic.twitter.com/vZF6m8wKfL
Notorious conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl—who is adamant Clinton will be running for president in 2020—has been pushing on Instagram that Clinton put out the orders to the media that it was time to take down Biden.
Accusations being lobbed about who is behind the reports are somewhat irrelevant. It’s possible Sanders’ camp could be behind it (it’s less likely Hillary is, but don’t tell that to conservatives who love to see the long arm of the Clintons anywhere in politics), but there’s only one person responsible for stories about their behavior being inappropriate.
The person whose inappropriate behavior has come to light: Joe Bidden.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]