The Atlantic

Biden’s Gaffe Exposed the Crack in His Coalition

The former vice president draws particular support from older white voters and from African Americans—but when he waxes nostalgic, he reminds them of their differences.
Source: Jordan Gale / Reuters

When journalists, including me, point out that Joe Biden is running as a candidate of nostalgia, it’s usually a reference to his argument that he can return things to a pre-2016 idyll of American unity and happiness. But the former vice president’s backward look has taken a weird turn this week as Biden delivered a confusing story involving a long-dead Democratic segregationist senator from Mississippi.

“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said at a fundraiser. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me

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