Lately I’ve been saying “I’m so old I can remember when Democrats wanted 100,000 more police on the street—and proposed federal funds to make it happen!” That was in the long-ago days of the Clinton Administration, when even Hillary Herself was speaking about “super-predators” who needed to be taken off the street. (This was one reason why leftist law professor Michelle Alexander argued in 2016 that, as Slate reported, “Clinton’s past embrace of tough-on-crime policies is one of several reasons black voters shouldn’t support her.” With all the leftist claims about “voter suppression,” maybe they should look in the mirror?) And no one was more enthusiastic about getting tough than Sen. Joe Biden, who boasted of how tough he could be.
One of the aspects of the move behind the increased criminal sentencing and expanded policing was the demands of leaders in local black neighborhoods for more aggressive crime fighting, because gang-related violence and drugs were tearing their communities apart. Clinton’s 1994 crime bill attracted majority support from the Congressional Black Caucus—a fact that left revisionists today are furiously spinning to airbrush away. NBC News reported back in 2016:
[Charles] Rangel was among the 11 Congressional Black Caucus members who voted against Clinton’s Crime Bill, which did not lack of black support. In addition to the dozens of pastors who signed a letter in support of the bill, it also had the support of black mayors. Kurt Schmoke, the first elected black mayor of Baltimore, was a vigorous supporter.
Even then U.S. Representative Kweisi Mfume, then chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) who understood the bill was a means to “find better ways to incarcerate people” eventually buckled, not only supporting the bill, but was ultimately responsible for its passage by rallying a majority of CBC members to vote for it after the bill was nearly derailed on a procedural issue.
Now that it is open season on the police, we’ll see how low income neighborhoods fare. We may not have to wait long.
Prediction: At some point down the road, the pendulum will swing back hard, and minority politicians and community leaders will demand more vigorous crime fighting. Heck, New York City might even want to bring Rudy Giuliani back as mayor.