The column, written by Times opinion writer Elizabeth Bruenig, was bluntly headlined, “Democrats, It’s Time to Consider a Plan B,” with the subhead, “Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden demand action.”
Reade has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, which he denies.
“Reade contends that, sometime in the spring of that year, Mr. Biden forced her against a wall, shoved his hand up her skirt, and forced his fingers into her vagina. Mr. Biden has unequivocally denied Ms. Reade’s allegations,” Bruenig wrote before citing recent developments, such as a former neighbor saying she’s heard about the accusations for years.
“I have my own impressions regarding Ms. Reade’s allegations, but no one – save Ms. Reade and Mr. Biden – knows with certainty whether her claims are true. What I can assert with firm conviction is that Democrats ought to start considering a backup plan for 2020,” Bruenig wrote.
Bruenig then wrote that many of the things Reade has been criticized for are “nearly as incredible as some have argued” since she came forward in March.
“I have worked closely with many survivors of sexual assault. It isn’t unusual, in my experience, for survivors to exhibit behavior that seems unstable or erratic to others,” she wrote.
The Times opinion writer noted that Democrats have been champions of the #MeToo movement and “subject Ms. Reade’s allegations to a level of scrutiny not widely applied to accusers in similar circumstances,” such as Christine Blasey-Ford’s claims against Brett Kavanaugh.
“Conservatives… can see the plain gulf between how Democrats have approached sexual assault in politically advantageous cases versus Ms. Reade’s, and the evident hypocrisy threatens to discredit the entire enterprise,” Bruenig wrote. “Liberal thinkers and organizations have begun to realize this, and many have responded accordingly.”
Feminist author Jessica Valenti, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) have all recently called for Reade’s claims to be taken seriously.
The Times opinion writer concluded her column: “To preserve the strides made on behalf of victims of sexual assault in the era of #MeToo, and to maximize their chances in November, Democrats need to begin formulating an alternative strategy for 2020 — one that does not include Mr. Biden.”