Tara Reade’s allegation that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her now has more than minimal corroboration, and certainly more corroboration than allegations, such as Christine Blasey Ford’s, that Democrats and feminists concluded were true and disqualifying. This state of affairs is highly embarrassing for Democrats and feminists, and will amount to a major blow for the MeToo movement — a blow that’s well deserved given that movement’s overreach.
But will the allegation materially harm Joe Biden’s presidential campaign? No one knows for sure, but my view is that it probably will not.
I just don’t think Americans care all that much about sexual misconduct when it’s time for them to pick a president. Bill Clinton very likely would have been reelected in 2000 even though he admitted having an improper sexual relationship with a young intern and even though there were allegations by Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broderick of serious sexual assault.
Donald Trump won in 2016 even though he admitted to sexual assault (he claimed the admission was just locker room talk). More than two dozen women came forward to say they were victims of sexual misconduct, in some cases sexual assault, by Trump.
The fact that Biden is running against a president with this record will make it easier for those who want to vote for the former VP to go ahead and do it. But even if Biden were running against a conservative Republican as pure as the driven snow, I don’t think a meaningful number of voters would base their decision on Reade’s allegation — even with the existing corroboration and even if more corroboration is forthcoming.
But if voters conclude that Biden likely assaulted Reade and is lying about it, might not they vote against him because of his dishonesty? They might. But Clinton lied about Lewinsky and remained popular. Only hard core Trump partisans consider him consistently honest, I think. Yet he has plenty of support from voters outside of his base.
Given all of the challenges that face America, including but not limited to coping with the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the economic effects of our response to it, I just don’t think many Americans are going to be swayed by a decades-old allegation of the kind Reade has made.