The minefield of #MeToo looms large for aspiring Democratic candidates

The minefield of #MeToo looms large for aspiring Democratic candidates

Biden has a major #MeToo problem. While the twinkly eyed politico has never fielded personal accusations of harassment, he played a leading role in Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court hearings in 1991. When a young lawyer named Anita Hill came forward with sexual harassment accusations against Thomas, Biden denied her a full hearing.

Though she was able to testify, he blocked the testimony of other accusers as well as experts on sexual harassment. And in the nearly three decades since, he has defended his role in the hearings and, though he recently said he owed Hill an apology, he has yet to actually apologise.

The Hill hearings matter, because they marked the beginning of America’s reckoning with sexual assault and harassment. Long before #MeToo – a movement that began in 2006 and broke through in 2017 – Hill’s testimony introduced the nation to both the language and the reality of harassment, triggering a sea-change in workplace relations, policy, and law. For countless feminists in the US, Hill is a hero.

And that makes Biden a villain, one who will have a tough time making the case that he is the right person to lead the Democratic Party in 2020.