Hillary Clinton is reaching out to the coloreds in this new ad...what do you think?

I think she should answer Bill's Black son, that's what I think.

White folks like to fuck black, but when they make black, then they want to ignore. That's what America's comprised of now. White folks' African fuck-ups. What false, phony folks the European Gang are. Just heaps of Strom Thurmonds all over the joint. Bunch of lying, scheming psychotic Europeans under the false name of "Americans." Refuse to RECOGNIZE their BLACK relatives. When "Massa" sold them, they went SOMEWHERE; like ALL OVER THE COUNTRY lying like DOGS and RUGS, racially.

  I like it.  It's not actors....their real people.  And she gotta get on the money cuz Trump may be low but he's not OUT OF THE GAME.  She should have reached out to the hip hop community like my president did.  Like P. Diddy etc.  And the Black comedians/comediennes.  And use BET/TVONE.....to place her ads every two or three commercials.  And she needs to really reach out to every woman-young and old she can.  In otherwords, she really need to do the work more than ever.  Her little 8 percent lead....means nothing.  She needs to enlarge it 15-20 percent.  Then we will know Trump will have no chance of winning.  But!   

Hillary Clinton Taps Jay Z To Urge Young Black Americans To Vote

Jay Z’s getting (more) political. 

On Monday, Clinton’s campaign announced that the hip hop mogul will perform alongside unannounced special guests on Nov. 4 during a get-out-the-vote concert in Cleveland. The concert’s purpose is to encourage and urge young black “Ohioans to support Clinton by voting early or on Election Day,” a Clinton spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

Jay Z’s Cleveland concert is one of several performances sponsored by the campaign leading up to this year’s election, including Jennifer Lopez’s performance in Miami (Oct. 29), Jon Bon Jovi’s performance in Pennsylvania and Florida (Oct. 27 and Nov. 5), and Katy Perry’s performance in Pennsylvania (Nov. 5). 

While a specific venue for Jay’s concert has yet to be announced, fans can sign up for free tickets at via Hillary Clinton’s website

RadioRaheem posted:

my take...

 

just another example of HC trying to reach out to the Blk community with an empty hand.  No specific policies for the blk community and again with the 'Vote against Trump' narrative

 

i'll pass on HC 

Then you're voting for Trump.

       Hold on....

What’s happening here – IMHO of course! – is that this ad was not polished.  It’s under-produced. The directing is amateur – which is okay. Who the fuck knows? Maybe this was made by a young company, maybe a black production company.  Who knows? We add our own spin to the spins coming at us. Hillary’s not in the ad, not there doing some white bitch pander shuffle. Advertising happens. But dig, this is my bitch. How hard do we want Trump to go d-o--w---n?!  Are we gonna pass on that?  Every vote is a kick in his ass!  Is anyone against that?  Not to vote is stroking Trump. Disgusting, right?  You got to vote for the bitch .

Let POTUS Hill go and kick some white man ass!  We can make hella demands to HRC. We can negotiate for ourselves. But not with Trump! Put him D-O--W---N, man – that’s present-time reality....and - get this - it is EXTREME!  The more he loses by, the better!!!  Isn't that the main point to hit right now?  ...sayin'

 

sunnubian posted:
RadioRaheem posted:

my take...

 

just another example of HC trying to reach out to the Blk community with an empty hand.  No specific policies for the blk community and again with the 'Vote against Trump' narrative

 

i'll pass on HC 

Then you're voting for Trump.

I'm leading toward Jill Stein.  I think a third party is needed in America.  Future choice will help all of us in the end.  

  You know  I love me some Malcolm X.....Lord knows I do....but!  He was in the beginning of his awareness as a Black/African man who discovered Islam outside America.  Had he lived...and he had 3 girls with twins coming before his death...I think his perspective would have changed once he found out the TRUTH about his Arab brothers.  But going to Mecca and seeing muslims with white skin and blue eyes was DIFFERENT for Malcolm...who preached and preached about the blue eye devil.  My point?  Had he lived?  He would have UNDERSTOOD the power and EMPOWERMENT of the black vote.  And the TRUE power of black people.  I'm more than sure of it.  Cuz why?  He was a BROTHA....a REAL bonefide brotha before his time.  But!

@ Brotha RR  Do you think your vote for Stein will be enough to win?  How many are those of you who will vote for her and stamped out Trump/Clinton?  For one, I haven't any commercials for her campaign....and two?  Since Bernie's loss, how many young people will vote for her?  Cuz that's the voting edge.  And since Trump has temporarily won Florida....how would Stein's vote mitigate that?  Your thoughts?  But!

Kocolicious posted:

@ Brotha RR  Do you think your vote for Stein will be enough to win?  How many are those of you who will vote for her and stamped out Trump/Clinton?  For one, I haven't any commercials for her campaign....and two?  Since Bernie's loss, how many young people will vote for her?  Cuz that's the voting edge.  And since Trump has temporarily won Florida....how would Stein's vote mitigate that?  Your thoughts?  But!

 

it is not about winning this time, but getting the attention of both parties for the next time.  No one will ask about our needs if we only vote for the Dems.  GOP knows that our vote matters, that's why they keep trying to stop our vote, i.e. voting ID, ending Sunday morning Early voting, etc.  

People are drawn to her because she is open to discuss Black issues and is will to work to solve them.  

 

  I hear ya my brotha.  But coming from an old "broad" from the 70's in the heart of women's lib....lemme share something about "white" women who claim to understand the plight of black people.  THEY DON'T.    It's just a lure.  How I know?  There's a history of this very thing....starting in the  late 1800s with the women's suffrage program where white women CLAIMED their movement included women and black folks' right to vote including human rights for both groups.  What happened?  The white women got what they wanted and clandestinely KICKED black folks to the curb.  The same thang occurred during the women's lib movement.  What happened?  White women benefitted from the Affirmative Action Program which was specifically DESIGNED for black people in  the work environment and educational fields. 

So I'm just saying to determine what will happen in the future?  See what occurred in the past  cuz past behavior predicts future behavior.  So.  For me?  And I'm a woman.  I can always smell something fishy when a white woman talks about how she gon help those coloreds.  Her history says otherwise...but!  I am not asking you to replace your judgement for mine....I'm just saying to look at the history of behavior and really dig in the facts to see whether or not whomever male or female has the conpensity[sp]  to lie just to obtain what THEY want.  And as we know some white whores will lay on their backs to climb up the corporate ladder as will "lie" to get the black vote/support.  And the ONLY reasons why I say Clinton is somewhat the lesser of two evils is because she has the EXPERIENCE, the WISDOM and the background helping underserved communities throughout her career.  That gives her in my book, one leg up.  But!  You a grown man and your choices are yours.  However...I just wanted to put that out there for your consideration.  But!

African Americans are voting - by omission - for the KKK as a “protest”. In Florida - where Trump has a 2% lead -  only one group has been slack in advance voting. You know who. Trump is wayyyyy worse than Clinton or anyone we've seen. We don't get it. No AA should ever complain about Trump or white supremacy because we are picking them over us.  That’s our choice! We should be clear on that much.

 

 

YOUR MASTER

WE CHOOSE THEM

https://thinkprogress.org/indi...6a7a83f37#.xb7zyjfh1

Indiana officials are trying to block almost 45,000 black citizens from voting

Police raided the largest voter registration drive in the state with the lowest voter turnout in the country.

 
Voters line-up to register and cast their early votes at the City-County Building Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. CREDIT: AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Roughly 45,000 newly registered voters in Indiana — almost all of whom are black — may not be allowed to vote next month after state police targeted the state’s largest voter registration drive, forcing it to shut down its operation.

Police raided the Indiana Voter Registration Project (IVRP) offices on October 4, seizing documents and equipment and forcing the group to cease its get-out-the-vote efforts one week before the end of the state’s registration period. Bill Buck, a spokesperson for the liberal nonprofit Patriot Majority USA which runs the IVRP, told ThinkProgress that IVRP could have registered about 5,000 more voters in that additional week.

The IVRP is still unsure whether the 45,000 people it registered will be permitted to vote this year, or how the state will handle their applications while the police investigation is ongoing. Bill Bursten, chief public information officer for the Indiana State Police, told ThinkProgress that law enforcement is investigating whether IVRP violating fraud and forgery laws.

“It will be up to each prosecutor to review the completed investigation and take whatever action they, as the local prosecuting authority, deem appropriate,” Bursten said. “Investigations of this nature are complicated and can take an extended period of time to complete.”

Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R)’s office declined to comment, and Buck said IVRP is still unclear what law it violated or why it’s being aggressively targeted by election officials and police.

“They saw that there was a very successful voter registration drive happening, and this was an attempt to shut it down.”

The IVRP launched in April of this year to improve voter participation in Indiana, particularly in African American neighborhoods in Indianapolis and the Chicago suburbs. In 2014, Indiana had the worst voter turnout rate in the country.

But Lawson, a Republican secretary of state, decided not to address her state’s abysmal participation levels (as a legislator, she cosponsored the state’s strict voter ID law). Instead, she went after voter registration groups. In September, she sent a letter to state elections officials warning them about groups like IVRP.

“Unfortunately, it has recently come to my attention that nefarious actors are operating here in Indiana,” she wrote. “A group by the name of the Indiana Voter Registration Project has forged voter registrations… If you receive one of these applications, please contact the Indiana State Police Special Investigations.”

Buck said that at the time, they had no evidence that IVRP was intentionally submitting forged or fraudulent applications. While Republicans claim otherwise, voter fraud is exceedingly rare.

Almost three weeks later, as IVRP was planning for one final week of its registration efforts, police entered the group’s offices with a search warrant and seized equipment and paperwork.

 
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a campaign event, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, in Exeter, N.H. CREDIT: AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Patriot Majority alleges the investigation and raid were political moves, and that Lawsonworked closely with Gov. Mike Pence (R), who has pushed the “voter fraud” conspiracy on the campaign trail alongside Donald Trump.

“We’ve seen nothing but partisan activity from the secretary of state, and even from the police,” Buck said. “They saw that there was a very successful voter registration drive happening, and this was an attempt to shut it down.

“It’s clear that the governor or the governor’s staff are very aware and involved in what’s happening,” he continued. “It fits into the Trump/Pence narrative that in certain neighborhoods, you have to watch how many times people show up to vote and how things happen.”

Political police

State elections officials have also enlisted the help of the Indiana State Police to push the “voter fraud” myth. Superintendent Doug Carter, who was chosen for the position by Pence, has been on television and was interviewed on right-wing radio Tuesday morning about the ongoing investigation.

On conservative talk radio, Carter said that “the notion that there is voter registration fraud is very real,” but denied that the investigation is “driven by politics.”

He accused the IVRP of forging signatures and making up people’s names. “To what purpose? We don’t know,” he told radio host Tony Katz. “That’s the purpose of the investigation. Were these acts of gross negligence? Were they acts of intent? That’s what we don’t know, and we don’t want to speculate.”

He added that police are going through thousands of registrations to make sure that nothing nefarious occurred.

“While I’ve been blamed by some of intentionally disenfranchising voters, nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

 
RadioRaheem posted:
Kocolicious posted:

@ Brotha RR  Do you think your vote for Stein will be enough to win?  How many are those of you who will vote for her and stamped out Trump/Clinton?  For one, I haven't any commercials for her campaign....and two?  Since Bernie's loss, how many young people will vote for her?  Cuz that's the voting edge.  And since Trump has temporarily won Florida....how would Stein's vote mitigate that?  Your thoughts?  But!

 

it is not about winning this time, but getting the attention of both parties for the next time.  No one will ask about our needs if we only vote for the Dems.  GOP knows that our vote matters, that's why they keep trying to stop our vote, i.e. voting ID, ending Sunday morning Early voting, etc.  

People are drawn to her because she is open to discuss Black issues and is will to work to solve them.  

 

 

There is no third party yet, that is competition for republicans or democrats, and African Americans, African America cannot afford a Trump win.  

A Trump win will guarantee more Treyvon Martins, and more Sandra Blands, and more Freddy Grays, and more Rekia Boyds, and more Walter Scotts, and more 12-year old Tamir Rices, and more Michael Browns, and more John Crawford, III, and more Laquan McDonalds, and more Eric Gardners, and more Yvett Smiths, and more 13-year old Tyree Kings, and more Jonathan Ferrells, and more 16-year old Kiamani Grays, and more Malissa Williams and Timothy Russells [that cops shot 137 times; with one cop that jumping on the hood of their car after it stopped (because they were dead) and shot 15 more bullets into their limp bodies], and more Kenneth Chamberlains, and more little 7-year old Aiyana Jones, and more 82 year old grandmothers for asking who they are and what they want [after kicking in her door without a warrant].

 

AT THIS POINT IN OUR HISTORY IN THIS COUNTRY, IN THIS RACIST POLITICAL CLIMATE, IF ALL WE CAN DO IS MITIGATE OUR DAMAGES, EVEN THAT IS BETTER THAN AN ALL-OUT WAR WITH ALL OF AMERICA'S PSYCHOPATHS AND SOCIOPATHS AND KNUCKLE-DRAGGING TROGLODYTES, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF TRUMP IS ELECTED.  

 

A NON-VOTE OR A VOTE FOR A NON-VIABLE THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE IS VOTING ONLY ADDING TO THE THOUSANDS OF BLACK PEOPLE MURDERED [ONE EVERY 24 HOURS]  BY RACIST COPS AND RACIST PSYCHOS EVERY YEAR IN THIS COUNTRY; I.E., IS VOTING FOR AN EVEN MORE EXPANSIVE RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA.

 

 

 

 

Letting POS Trump win will simply make conditions worse. Getting run over by the truck in front of us It  will not make us stronger or put us into a better negotiating position some years down the line.  It will weaken us. But Trump will be happy. So will these ass-clowns . . .

ASS CLOWN

sunnubian posted:
RadioRaheem posted:
Kocolicious posted:

@ Brotha RR  Do you think your vote for Stein will be enough to win?  How many are those of you who will vote for her and stamped out Trump/Clinton?  For one, I haven't any commercials for her campaign....and two?  Since Bernie's loss, how many young people will vote for her?  Cuz that's the voting edge.  And since Trump has temporarily won Florida....how would Stein's vote mitigate that?  Your thoughts?  But!

 

it is not about winning this time, but getting the attention of both parties for the next time.  No one will ask about our needs if we only vote for the Dems.  GOP knows that our vote matters, that's why they keep trying to stop our vote, i.e. voting ID, ending Sunday morning Early voting, etc.  

People are drawn to her because she is open to discuss Black issues and is will to work to solve them.  

 

 

There is no third party yet, that is competition for republicans or democrats, and African Americans, African America cannot afford a Trump win.  

A Trump win will guarantee more Treyvon Martins, and more Sandra Blands, and more Freddy Grays, and more Rekia Boyds, and more Walter Scotts, and more 12-year old Tamir Rices, and more Michael Browns, and more John Crawford, III, and more Laquan McDonalds, and more Eric Gardners, and more Yvett Smiths, and more 13-year old Tyree Kings, and more Jonathan Ferrells, and more 16-year old Kiamani Grays, and more Malissa Williams and Timothy Russells [that cops shot 137 times; with one cop that jumping on the hood of their car after it stopped (because they were dead) and shot 15 more bullets into their limp bodies], and more Kenneth Chamberlains, and more little 7-year old Aiyana Jones, and more 82 year old grandmothers for asking who they are and what they want [after kicking in her door without a warrant].

 

AT THIS POINT IN OUR HISTORY IN THIS COUNTRY, IN THIS RACIST POLITICAL CLIMATE, IF ALL WE CAN DO IS MITIGATE OUR DAMAGES, EVEN THAT IS BETTER THAN AN ALL-OUT WAR WITH ALL OF AMERICA'S PSYCHOPATHS AND SOCIOPATHS AND KNUCKLE-DRAGGING TROGLODYTES, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF TRUMP IS ELECTED.  

 

A NON-VOTE OR A VOTE FOR A NON-VIABLE THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE IS VOTING ONLY ADDING TO THE THOUSANDS OF BLACK PEOPLE MURDERED [ONE EVERY 24 HOURS]  BY RACIST COPS AND RACIST PSYCHOS EVERY YEAR IN THIS COUNTRY; I.E., IS VOTING FOR AN EVEN MORE EXPANSIVE RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

but those people were killed under Obama.  The first Black president didn't care enough to fix our problem with the police and people acting as police (i.e. Zimmerman), why would Hillary or Trump?  That's my point.  If Black people ALLOWED the first Black President to sit on his hands instead of doing something, so will his successor.  We all should have held Obama accountable, but we were more focused on symbolic victories.  Obama sang Amazing Grace at the funerals of the Dylann Roof victims, but after the gay bar got shot up he flew to the memorial and promised them more protection against hate.  That's one to grow on.  

Nothing to brag about there. However, explained and apologized, Bill Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the Black Caucus backed the terrible mistake crime bill. Trump and his psycho zombie racist army is many times more extreme. We don’t get that. If we act like this is a normal election where we can “protest” by not voting, we’re living in the past and not facing the racist hell beasts coming toward us right now. It would be a mistake for us to ignore the present reality. It looks like many are giving Trump and the racists a pass. That’s not an opinion. Look at the signs. It’s fact.  This is the time to beat down the threat.  We don’t get it.

THESE ARE TRUMP'S PEOPLE AT A TRUMP RALLY. WE DON'T GET IT IT BUT DAVID DUKE DOES.  THEY'RE ALL GOING TO VOTE FOR TRUMP. SO ARE WE - BY OMISSION. HOW SMART?

 

" However, explained and apologized, Bill Clinton, Bernie Sanders and the Black Caucus backed the terrible mistake crime bill."

***********************************************************

 

This is what critics of the Crime Bill always leave out, the fact that it was backed/signed off on by the Black Caucus as well as our most prominent Civil Rights Leaders.  

Another thing that is always left out is the fact that 'Crack' Cocaine had just came out of nowhere and taken African America by storm, and African America was shocked by it and desperate to do something, anything, about it.  

Unfortunately, little did they know, at the time, where Crack really came from or that it was saturated into African American communities to feul America's Privatized Prison Industry/Prison Industrial Complex Industry.

I can't say how much Clinton knew at the time, but he's not the only one that deserves criticism for the so-called "Crime Bill".  Critics need to put the blame on sqarely on the shoulders ofALL who were instrumental in that racist sham "Crime Bill",

https://www.thenation.com/arti...black-peoples-votes/

 

Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote

From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America.

 

hillary_and_bill_clinton_1992_rtr_img

Hillary and Bill Clinton in 1992. (Reuters Pictures)

 
 

Hillary Clinton loves black people. And black people love Hillary—or so it seems. Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded. Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously. Doing something concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.

Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found. According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we—black people—are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.

And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.

The love affair between black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. He threw on some shades and played the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. It seems silly in retrospect, but many of us fell for that. At a time when a popular slogan was “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand,” Bill Clinton seemed to get us. When Toni Morrison dubbed him our first black president, we nodded our heads. We had our boy in the White House. Or at least we thought we did.

Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries. Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.

What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?

No. Quite the opposite.

* * *

When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, urban black communities across America were suffering from economic collapse. Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs had vanished as factories moved overseas in search of cheaper labor, a new plantation. Globalization and deindustrialization affected workers of all colors but hit African Americans particularly hard. Unemployment rates among young black men had quadrupled as the rate of industrial employment plummeted. Crime rates spiked in inner-city communities that had been dependent on factory jobs, while hopelessness, despair, and crack addiction swept neighborhoods that had once been solidly working-class. Millions of black folks—many of whom had fled Jim Crow segregation in the South with the hope of obtaining decent work in Northern factories—were suddenly trapped in racially segregated, jobless ghettos.

On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made the economy his top priority and argued persuasively that conservatives were using race to divide the nation and divert attention from the failed economy. In practice, however, he capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes—ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did.

We should have seen it coming. Back then, Clinton was the standard-bearer for the New Democrats, a group that firmly believed the only way to win back the millions of white voters in the South who had defected to the Republican Party was to adopt the right-wing narrative that black communities ought to be disciplined with harsh punishment rather than coddled with welfare. Reagan had won the presidency by dog-whistling to poor and working-class whites with coded racial appeals: railing against “welfare queens” and criminal “predators” and condemning “big government.” Clinton aimed to win them back, vowing that he would never permit any Republican to be perceived as tougher on crime than he.

Just weeks before the critical New Hampshire primary, Clinton proved his toughness by flying back to Arkansas to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally impaired black man who had so little conception of what was about to happen to him that he asked for the dessert from his last meal to be saved for him for later. After the execution, Clinton remarked, “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.”

As president, Bill Clinton mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages.

Clinton mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages, appealing to African Americans by belting out “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in black churches, while at the same time signaling to poor and working-class whites that he was willing to be tougher on black communities than Republicans had been.

Clinton was praised for his no-nonsense, pragmatic approach to racial politics. He won the election and appointed a racially diverse cabinet that “looked like America.” He won re-election four years later, and the American economy rebounded. Democrats cheered. The Democratic Party had been saved. The Clintons won. Guess who lost?

* * *

Bill Clinton presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. Clinton did not declare the War on Crime or the War on Drugs—those wars were declared before Reagan was elected and long before crack hit the streets—but he escalated it beyond what many conservatives had imagined possible. He supported the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine, which produced staggering racial injustice in sentencing and boosted funding for drug-law enforcement.

Clinton championed the idea of a federal “three strikes” law in his 1994 State of the Union address and, months later, signed a $30 billion crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and the expansion of police forces. The legislation was hailed by mainstream-media outlets as a victory for the Democrats, who “were able to wrest the crime issue from the Republicans and make it their own.”

When Clinton left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Human Rights Watch reported that in seven states, African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison, even though they were no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs. Prison admissions for drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level in 1983. All of the presidents since 1980 have contributed to mass incarceration, but as Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson recently observed, “President Clinton’s tenure was the worst.”

Some might argue that it’s unfair to judge Hillary Clinton for the policies her husband championed years ago. But Hillary wasn’t picking out china while she was first lady. She bravely broke the mold and redefined that job in ways no woman ever had before. She not only campaigned for Bill; she also wielded power and significant influence once he was elected, lobbying for legislation and other measures. That record, and her statements from that era, should be scrutinized. In her support for the 1994 crime bill, for example, she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals. “They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” she said. “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

Both Clintons now express regret over the crime bill, and Hillary says she supports criminal-justice reforms to undo some of the damage that was done by her husband’s administration. But on the campaign trail, she continues to invoke the economy and country that Bill Clinton left behind as a legacy she would continue. So what exactly did the Clinton economy look like for black Americans? Taking a hard look at this recent past is about more than just a choice between two candidates. It’s about whether the Democratic Party can finally reckon with what its policies have done to African-American communities, and whether it can redeem itself and rightly earn the loyalty of black voters.

* * *

An oft-repeated myth about the Clinton administration is that although it was overly tough on crime back in the 1990s, at least its policies were good for the economy and for black unemployment rates. The truth is more troubling. As unemployment rates sank to historically low levels for white Americans in the 1990s, the jobless rate among black men in their 20s who didn’t have a college degree rose to its highest level ever. This increase in joblessness was propelled by the skyrocketing incarceration rate.

Why is this not common knowledge? Because government statistics like poverty and unemployment rates do not include incarcerated people. As Harvard sociologist Bruce Western explains: “Much of the optimism about declines in racial inequality and the power of the US model of economic growth is misplaced once we account for the invisible poor, behind the walls of America’s prisons and jails.” When Clinton left office in 2001, the true jobless rate for young, non-college-educated black men (including those behind bars) was 42 percent. This figure was never reported. Instead, the media claimed that unemployment rates for African Americans had fallen to record lows, neglecting to mention that this miracle was possible only because incarceration rates were now at record highs. Young black men weren’t looking for work at high rates during the Clinton era because they were now behind bars—out of sight, out of mind, and no longer counted in poverty and unemployment statistics.

To make matters worse, the federal safety net for poor families was torn to shreds by the Clinton administration in its effort to “end welfare as we know it.” In his 1996 State of the Union address, given during his re-election campaign, Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). The welfare-reform legislation that he signed—which Hillary Clinton ardently supported then and characterized as a success as recently as 2008—replaced the federal safety net with a block grant to the states, imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, added work requirements, barred undocumented immigrants from licensed professions, and slashed overall public welfare funding by $54 billion (some was later restored).

They are not just gangs of kids anymore…they are ‘super-predators.’ —Hillary Clinton, speaking in support of the 1994 crime bill

Experts and pundits disagree about the true impact of welfare reform, but one thing seems clear: Extreme poverty doubled to 1.5 million in the decade and a half after the law was passed. What is extreme poverty? US households are considered to be in extreme poverty if they are surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2 per person per day in any given month. We tend to think of extreme poverty existing in Third World countries, but here in the United States, shocking numbers of people are struggling to survive on less money per month than many families spend in one evening dining out. Currently, the United States, the richest nation on the planet, has one of the highest child-poverty rates in the developed world.

Despite claims that radical changes in crime and welfare policy were driven by a desire to end big government and save taxpayer dollars, the reality is that the Clinton administration didn’t reduce the amount of money devoted to the management of the urban poor; it changed what the funds would be used for. Billions of dollars were slashed from public-housing and child-welfare budgets and transferred to the mass-incarceration machine. By 1996, the penal budget was twice the amount that had been allocated to food stamps. During Clinton’s tenure, funding for public housing was slashed by $17 billion (a reduction of 61 percent), while funding for corrections was boosted by $19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), according to sociologist Loïc Wacquant “effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the urban poor.”

Bill Clinton championed discriminatory laws against formerly incarcerated people that have kept millions of Americans locked in a cycle of poverty and desperation. The Clinton administration eliminated Pell grants for prisoners seeking higher education to prepare for their release, supported laws denying federal financial aid to students with drug convictions, and signed legislation imposing a lifetime ban on welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense—an exceptionally harsh provision given the racially biased drug war that was raging in inner cities.

Perhaps most alarming, Clinton also made it easier for public-housing agencies to deny shelter to anyone with any sort of criminal history (even an arrest without conviction) and championed the “one strike and you’re out” initiative, which meant that families could be evicted from public housing because one member (or a guest) had committed even a minor offense. People released from prison with no money, no job, and nowhere to go could no longer return home to their loved ones living in federally assisted housing without placing the entire family at risk of eviction. Purging “the criminal element” from public housing played well on the evening news, but no provisions were made for people and families as they were forced out on the street. By the end of Clinton’s presidency, more than half of working-age African-American men in many large urban areas were saddled with criminal records and subject to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, access to education, and basic public benefits—relegated to a permanent second-class status eerily reminiscent of Jim Crow.

It is difficult to overstate the damage that’s been done. Generations have been lost to the prison system; countless families have been torn apart or rendered homeless; and a school-to-prison pipeline has been born that shuttles young people from their decrepit, underfunded schools to brand-new high-tech prisons.

* * *

It didn’t have to be like this. As a nation, we had a choice. Rather than spending billions of dollars constructing a vast new penal system, those billions could have been spent putting young people to work in inner-city communities and investing in their schools so they might have some hope of making the transition from an industrial to a service-based economy. Constructive interventions would have been good not only for African Americans trapped in ghettos, but for blue-collar workers of all colors. At the very least, Democrats could have fought to prevent the further destruction of black communities rather than ratcheting up the wars declared on them.

Of course, it can be said that it’s unfair to criticize the Clintons for punishing black people so harshly, given that many black people were on board with the “get tough” movement too. It is absolutely true that black communities back then were in a state of crisis, and that many black activists and politicians were desperate to get violent offenders off the streets. What is often missed, however, is that most of those black activists and politicians weren’t asking only for toughness. They were also demanding investment in their schools, better housing, jobs programs for young people, economic-stimulus packages, drug treatment on demand, and better access to healthcare. In the end, they wound up with police and prisons. To say that this was what black people wanted is misleading at best.

By 1996, the penal budget was twice the amount that had been allocated to food stamps.

To be fair, the Clintons now feel bad about how their politics and policies have worked out for black people. Bill says that he “overshot the mark” with his crime policies; and Hillary has put forth a plan to ban racial profiling, eliminate the sentencing disparities between crack and cocaine, and abolish private prisons, among other measures.

But what about a larger agenda that would not just reverse some of the policies adopted during the Clinton era, but would rebuild the communities decimated by them? If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities,” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win. When politicians start telling you that it is “unrealistic” to support candidates who want to build a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system, it’s probably best to leave the room.

This is not an endorsement for Bernie Sanders, who after all voted for the 1994 crime bill. I also tend to agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that the way the Sanders campaign handled the question of reparations is one of many signs that Bernie doesn’t quite get what’s at stake in serious dialogues about racial justice. He was wrong to dismiss reparations as “divisive,” as though centuries of slavery, segregation, discrimination, ghettoization, and stigmatization aren’t worthy of any specific acknowledgement or remedy.

But recognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.

The biggest problem with Bernie, in the end, is that he’s running as a Democrat—as a member of a political party that not only capitulated to right-wing demagoguery but is now owned and controlled by a relatively small number of millionaires and billionaires. Yes, Sanders has raised millions from small donors, but should he become president, he would also become part of what he has otherwise derided as “the establishment.” Even if Bernie’s racial-justice views evolve, I hold little hope that a political revolution will occur within the Democratic Party without a sustained outside movement forcing truly transformational change. I am inclined to believe that it would be easier to build a new party than to save the Democratic Party from itself.

 

 

Of course, the idea of building a new political party terrifies most progressives, who understandably fear that it would open the door for a right-wing extremist to get elected. So we play the game of lesser evils. This game has gone on for decades. W.E.B. Du Bois, the eminent scholar and co-founder of the NAACP, shocked many when he refused to play along with this game in the 1956 election, defending his refusal to vote on the grounds that “there is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I do or say.” While the true losers and winners of this game are highly predictable, the game of lesser evils makes for great entertainment and can now be viewed 24 hours a day on cable-news networks. Hillary believes that she can win this game in 2016 because this time she’s got us, the black vote, in her back pocket—her lucky card.

She may be surprised to discover that the younger generation no longer wants to play her game. Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll all continue to play along and pretend that we don’t know how it will turn out in the end. Hopefully, one day, we’ll muster the courage to join together in a revolutionary movement with people of all colors who believe that basic human rights and economic, racial, and gender justice are not unreasonable, pie-in-the-sky goals. After decades of getting played, the sleeping giant just might wake up, stretch its limbs, and tell both parties: Game over. Move aside. It’s time to reshuffle this deck.

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