Daniel Greenfield: Pro-Crime Policies Don’t Appeal to Black Voters
In the Black Lives Matter era, everyone assumes that pro-crime policies are the way to win over black voters. Candidates tout criminal justice reform schemes like freeing criminals and legalizing drugs.
1994’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation that helped roll back crime rates in the 90s by locking up criminals, is denounced for causing “mass incarceration”.
But Joe Biden, who wrote the bill, is a player in the 2020 primaries because of his black supporters.
In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Biden’s support has collapsed with everyone except black voters. Only 14% of white Democrats support him, but 27% of black Democrats are still standing by their racist man.
A quarter of black voters may not sound like a lot, but it’s more than any other candidate in the race.
Behind Biden is Bloomberg with 22%. Despite running on pro-crime policies so extreme that he had proposed freeing half the national prison population, ending enforcement of vagrancy and drug laws, and allowing the Boston Marathon bomber to vote from prison, Sanders is only in third place.
The opposition dumps on Michael Bloomberg have already begun with clips that show the former New York City boss discussing ‘Stop and Frisk’ gang member crackdowns, and policing in the Big Apple.
“Ninety-five percent of murders- murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg is heard saying. “They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
“People say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is,” he goes on to say.
Democrats and Republicans assume that clips like this will kill Bloomberg’s black support.
Except this same exact play was run against Hillary Clinton who had referred to “superpredators” when discussing the threat from career underage criminals. Bernie Sanders had accused Hillary of racism for using the term. And Hillary Clinton still stomped him by routinely taking 80% to 90% of the black vote.
Hillary’s worst performance and Sanders’ best performance among black voters happened in Missouri where she only took 67% of the black vote and he got 32%. So much for the ‘superpredator’ strategy.
Going after Biden’s ‘tough on crime’ record failed just as miserably. It failed even when black candidates like Booker and Harris did it. Warren, who wants to repeal the 1994 crime bill, is polling at 8% among black voters. After four years of pro-crime pandering, Sanders is lagging ‘Stop and Frisk’ Bloomberg.
Maybe it’s time to stop assuming that black voters have signed on to the Black Lives Matter agenda.
If black voters really wanted to dismantle the criminal justice system, they could just vote libertarian. They certainly would be more likely to vote for Sanders or Warren, than Biden and Bloomberg.
Crime disproportionately affects black communities. And black community leaders used to lead the campaign against it. The idea that ‘tough on crime’ was a racist white conspiracy is revisionist history.
Why did attacking Hillary and then Biden on the 1994 crime bill fail to sway black voters?
A majority of Congressional Black Caucus members voted for it. In fact, they helped save it from the conservative Democrats who had tried to scuttle it over its social justice funding for criminals.
Rep. Charles Rangel, who helped the bill pass, had been rallying for action since the 70s. At a CBC meeting with President Nixon, it was Rangel who urged the Republican to take a stand.
“Public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive,” Rangel told him.
Even not all that long ago, Republicans appealed to black voters by getting tough on crime. After a successful crackdown on crime, Giuliani shot up from 5% to 19% among black voters.
The Rockefeller drug laws, a popular target of perpetually outraged white liberals in New York, were strongly backed by black leaders at the time. That was back when 71% of black voters supported life without parole for drug dealers. Things have changed. But not as much as people think. Most polls still show that more black people believe that crime is a more serious issue than the criminal justice system.
There is a younger upscale segment of the black community that is pro-crime and anti-police. This is where Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders, and criminal justice reform gets much of its support. Think of this as the Colin Kaepernick demographic. But most black voters are older and more conservative.
The assumption that black voters must support criminals is as stupid and racist as the equally misguided idea that Latino voters must support illegal migration. Black communities are on the front lines of crime in much the same way that Latinos are on the front lines of illegal migration. Black officers form the thin blue line in some of the most dangerous cities in America, as Latinos do serving on the Border Patrol.
Black voters have a range of nuanced positions on crime. But Democrats and Republicans have both accepted that what black people really want are candidates who put criminals first and victims last.
That’s not black voters speaking. It’s white lefties in the media speaking for the black community.
White lefties and libertarians keep promising the black vote that isn’t theirs to give to candidates who will turn over the country to criminals. Meanwhile the black vote keeps going somewhere else entirely.
Political myths spawned from the pro-crime echo chamber are everywhere in the 2020 race. Black voters, we are repeatedly told, won’t support Buttigieg because he was tough on crime. If you can picture Buttigieg being tough on anything, go for it. Meanwhile those same black voters rallied behind Bloomberg who had inherited Giuliani’s approach to crime, but utterly refused to back Buttigieg.
Black voters, we are told, wouldn’t support Kamala Harris because she was a ‘cop’. Except that she won 79% of black voters when she ran for the Senate after serving as Attorney General of California. Black voters didn’t run away from her because she used to be a prosecutor, but because she was inauthentic. Her campaign slogan, “Kamala for the People” had been coined to play off her time as AG. But instead her ACLU sister talked her into running a fluffy campaign modeled on Obama’s feigned hipness.
Black voters these days do want fewer people in prison, but their first priority is ending the killing sprees in Baltimore, Chicago, and in cities across the country. If Republicans want to appeal to black voters, the right model doesn’t lie in pro-crime ‘criminal justice reform’, which hasn’t even worked for the Left.
In 1972, Nixon won 18% of the black vote, a record, by appealing to black voters with a mix of economic progress and getting tough on crime. His campaign blitzed black publications with ads that spoke to black aspirations. That’s a path that President Trump can successfully follow to boost support in 2020.
Economic growth and federal intervention to stop the killing in Baltimore and Chicago would do it.
What Republicans should not do is address black people as if they are criminals who want nothing more than fewer cops and more criminals in their communities. Nixon won a record number of black votes by not buying into the media’s idea of what black people wanted, but by offering many what they did want.
Economic empowerment. Safer communities. And a way forward.
Lefties still haven’t learned to stop trying to win over black voters with pro-crime policies. It didn’t work for Sanders in 2016. It didn’t work for Sanders, Warren, Booker, or Harris in 2020. Democrats are unable to deviate from the herd mindset and stop repeating the same politically correct Sisyphean follies.
They can’t learn from history. Republicans can and should.
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