Thursday, September 01, 2016

Democratic Party hypocrisy on #cjreform

When Black Lives Matter activists approached Democratic congressional campaigns about criminal justice reform, the DCCC advised candidates and their staff to patronize them, "listen" to their concerns in small-as-possible groups, avoid committing to any specific policies, and portray themselves as sympathetic without actually promising to do anything, according to a memo leaked by a hacker.

In particular, the memo told candidates not to make any policy commitments regarding "Criminal Justice System reform" including "sentencing reform, ending prison industrial complex, police reform," changes in "hiring, training, and unfair policing tactics," as well as "Collect[ing] data on police shootings" and "Demilitarization of the police."  Thanks for nothing, Nancy Pelosi.

Even as President Obama has finally, significantly embraced criminal-justice reform in his last year of office (better late than never), the rest of the Democratic party remains as skittish on the topic as he was during his first 6.5 years. It's a standing Republican meme - one repeated recently by Donald Trump - that Democrats' interest in African Americans does not extend beyond getting them to the voting booth in support of white, Wall-Street approved elites like Hillary Clinton. And every once in a while, hard evidence arrives that supports and justifies those suspicions.

This memo exemplifies why Grits has resisted framing criminal-justice reform as a partisan issue over the years: these topics have never played a central role in a Democratic Party more concerned with winning District Attorney, Sheriff, and judicial races than promoting civil rights. One would like to reject cynicism, but to do so in the face of concrete evidence is to embrace a delusion.

Talk is cheap. Reform is hard. Going forward, we need to see quite a bit more reform coming from Democrats before we hear more talk about how much better they are than Republicans on this stuff.

6 comments:

The Comedian said...

We need to amend the Constitution:

Article 1 - "The Powers of the Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives, shall be limited to declaring moments of silence and expressions of 'Thoughts and Prayers' when appropriate, particularly in circumstances of tragedy or death. It is expressly forbidden that the Congress take any means of action to address whatever those circumstance may have been".

A Waco Friend said...

There are many, many Democrats who are committed to civil rights and to criminal justice reforms, particularly reforms of the front end of the process, the hiring, training, supervision, etc., of police departments. The memo seems to me to be more of a "be cautious about making commitments until you have had a chance to study the issue", than a "talk big, act small" meme.

Bandwagons are easy to get onto and hard to get off of as a political candidate or office holder, and sometimes they develop in ways that make a candidate look like a fool.

Dirk Mudge said...

Please read the DOJ April 16, 2016 "Roadmap to Reentry" and judge for yourself how very few
action items listed in this document have been taken seriously by this administration over the past 8 years.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@4:03, there are definitely Ds who've prioritized these issues, especially at the state level, like John Whimtire, Rodney Ellis, Senfronia Thompson, Harold Dutton, etc.. But compared to the number anxious to "stand with Wendy," their ranks are few. And IMO, "many" is strong if we are to judge by the proportion of Democrats who're actually willing to vocally advocate for these issues (especially the police accountability stuff, bc of the unions), much less expend political capital on them. That's especially true at the federal level. Like I said, talk is cheap. I've been at this 21 years and when folks I've never seen lift a finger for the cause say they're "committed" to civil rights, I roll my eyes; the only surprise to this news is that some fool wrote it down. My feeling is show me, don't tell me, at this point.

Dean Becker said...

Feigned ignorance is bliss to Democrats as well as Repugs. Drug reformers own the moral high ground, lock, stock and barrel and yet we beg, scrape and bow to those whose eternal desire is to make it possible for terrorists to make billions if brave enough to grow the flowers we forbid. These same "leaders" do not mind if barbarous cartels kill tens of thousands of mostly innocents each year to ensure their plant products make their way to our nation. Politicians of every stripe remain unwilling to deal a death blow to the violent gangs that prowl our neighborhoods, enticing our children to lives of crime and addiction. Rather than eliminate the reason for all the violence and 99% of the overdoses associated with contaminated/unknown drugs being sold on our city streets these fools cling to the belief that this situation must be eternal. They all hide from this information and folks willing to bring it forward. Please help bring this info forward so eventually they can no longer hide and we can end the madness of drug war.

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