- In the ’90s, Bill Clinton exploited fears about crime in the same way that Donald Trump uses immigration today.
- The 1994 crime bill is, like the Iraq war, an unwelcome guest showing up at feel-good candidate events.
- Related: Clintonism screwed the Democrats: How Bill, Hillary and the Democratic Leadership Council gutted progressivism
Bruce Shapiro, the Nation
Bill Clinton has a heated exchange with a protester during a rally for Hillary Clinton, April 7, 2016, in Philadelphia. (Ed Hille / The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
April 11, 2016 | “I know those young people were just trying to get good television,” said Hillary Clinton’s husband as he reflected on his earlier decision to go horns-first after Black Lives Matter protesters. Imagine, for a moment, if George W. Bush had said those words after being confronted by angry Iraq War veterans. Instead, the ex-president is Bill Clinton, and the protesters were young African Americans whose parents, siblings, friends, and neighbors still endure the consequences of his 1994 Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act.
The 1994 crime bill is, like the Iraq war, an unwelcome guest continually showing up at feel-good candidate events. Twenty-two years ago, William Jefferson Clinton instigated the bill; Hillary Clinton lobbied for it; Bernie Sanders, then in the House, voted for it, reluctantly, after denouncing its core provisions. In recent months, both Clintons have stepped away from the crime bill’s legacy, allowing that, in the former president’s words, “too many laws were overly broad instead of appropriately tailored.” Candidate Hillary now declares that “the era of mass incarceration must end,” without quite saying who inaugurated it. But with 2.3 million Americans in behind bars and policing abuses a national scandal, the crime bill just keeps coming back.
Bruce Shapiro, a contributing editor to the Nation <http://www.thenation.com>, is executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.
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Clintonism screwed the Democrats: How Bill, Hillary and the Democratic Leadership Council gutted progressivism, Paul Rosenberg, Salon
Imagine there's no Clintons. It's easy if you try! Without pernicious DLC, liberalism is a stronger movement today.