Um, Joe Biden – Stop Whitewashing the ’94 Crime Bill

Um, Joe Biden – Stop Whitewashing the ’94 Crime Bill

Whitewashing History

If Democratic voters nominate Joe Biden for President of the United States, they’ll have to whitewash history to rationalize their decision. On the campaign trail, Biden has been doing the heavy-lifting for them by whitewashing the 94 crime bill himself.

As some of you may know, I’m no fan of Joe Biden. I believe he’s the worse possible choice Democrats can make in 2020. Some Democrats believe that to win, they have to appeal to Trump voters – not the majority of people in the country (over 50%) who say under no circumstances will they vote for Trump in 2020. Biden is the “appeal to Trump voters” pick and represents a severe misunderstanding of the electorate.

This is Democratic voters acting out of fear instead of logic. Doing so may actually have the reverse effect of what Biden supporters believe it’ll have. Logically-speaking, Democrats should nominate the most Progressive man or woman they can find. This puts Trump into a weaker position on policy, whereas Biden actually helps Trump politically because Biden has taken many terrible positions throughout his lengthy political career. How does nominating a man who has supported cutting social security, Medicare, and Medicaid multiple times in the past make the Democrats stronger against Trump? Answer: it doesn’t.

It doesn’t end there either. Now let’s get to the 1994 crime bill. In the video above, Biden wants to talk about “the good parts of the bill” and decries the talk of all the bad that has come from it. It’s 2019, and Joe Biden still can’t bring himself to admit the ’94 crime bill has wreaked havoc on the Black community. You know, the community he is going to need to win the nomination. The actual name of the 94 crime bill is The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Yes – the ’94 crime bill was a damn ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill before there was a fake ‘Blue Lives Matter.’

Here’s what the 94 crime bill did that Biden wants to whitewash – 

  • The 94 Crime Bill Caused an even greater explosion in incarceration rates than what was already forming since 1970. Mass incarceration doubled between 1994 and 2009.
  • 'Three Strikes and You're Out' mandatory minimum sentences.
  • Expanded the Death Penalty: the Federal Death Penalty Act within the 94 crime bill created 60 new death penalty offenses. Some for very heinous crimes, but if you don't believe in the death penalty - well the 94 crime bill put it on steroids.
  • Funded the Explosion of State Prisons: the 94 crime bill granted $12.5 billion to states that passed Truth-in-Sentencing laws that demanded that inmates serve at least 85% of their sentence. By 1999, 42 states had complied with the crime bill thereby sustaining an increase in the nationwide prison population at the state level.
  • The data shows the 94 crime bill played a limited role in reducing the crime rate anyway!
  • Elimination of Higher Education for Inmates: the 94 crime bill gutted the Higher Education Act of 1965 which permitted prison inmates to use Pell Grants to pursue higher education while they were incarcerated. When people talk about the high recidivism rate in prisons and how people end up getting out and winding up back in the system - it's partially because of things like this in the 94 crime bill.

Joe Biden wants to change history. He wants you to forget all of that and focus on an assault weapons ban that isn’t even in effect anymore. What is still very much in effect is the ’94 crime bill.

Democrats have a choice to make, and it’s not a comfortable one. It’s a choice that forces a lot of people to grapple with the role they’ve played in perpetuating systems of control that have negatively impacted the lives of millions. 

What folks will do is whitewash elements of the past to suit the present. Now that the tough-on-crime era is no longer popular, folks want to whitesplain’ the past. People want to make it seem like this trash system hasn’t targeted Black people. The ’94 crime bill created an environment that has led to America having the largest prison population in the world. We have States in America with larger prison populations per capita than in entire countries!

That the Democratic Party was knee-deep in the tough-on-crime (aka tough-on-the-Blacks) era is something many want to run away from. It’s a dark truth that cannot be rationalized – but Joe Biden will try anyway. A stronger politician and a leader would admit that they were wrong. They wouldn’t double down on dog shit policy and call it progress.

Joe Biden is no leader.

Neoliberal Democrats Don't Want to Deal with the Damage Done by the Drug War and Mass Incarceration

I fear what many people are going to realize over the course of the next year is what I’m already witnessing online. Many Democrats want to give a pass to Democratic politicians for the role they’ve played in helping to create the drug war and mass incarceration. That’s an indictment of neoliberal Democrats themselves and really doesn’t differentiate them all that much from Republicans. 

It also says that Democrats largely have not learned the lessons of 2016 – partially because influential partisan hacks have spent the past 3 years blaming “Bernie Bros” for the 2016 loss. A dishonest and bad faith assessment that has nothing to do with the outcome of the election. Democrats lost in 2016 because of a mixture of voter suppression and a bad candidate with too much baggage. Folks just refuse to admit they rode the wrong horse. It’s like how people try to blame Ralph Nader for the 2000 loss which is also a dishonest lie meant to smear the Left.

If Biden loses in 2020, trust me, his supporters won’t blame the fact that they nominated a man with even more baggage than Clinton who was unpopular with the base. They won’t admit that they rode the wrong horse (yet again) and voted out of fear for a Republican-lite nominee. No, they’ll do what they did in 2000 and 2016 – they’ll blame the Progressives. Only this time, I don’t think it’s going to work. You can’t keep blaming the Left for your crappy political decisions (I’m speaking to you neoliberals and centrists).

This just lets me know that many Democrats don’t really care about mass incarceration. They don’t care about the Iraq War vote, they don’t really care about fixing the problems of the past. This doesn’t apply to my fellow Progressives of course. This applies to the neoliberals and centrists in the party who dogmatically cling to a failed ideology. They want Black votes but don’t want to be held accountable for the Black lives they’ve destroyed. 

Every time something problematic from the past that either still exists, or was never fully fixed is brought up, all you hear is, “that happened a long time ago.” Neoliberals and centrists are always on a dismissive kick because really – they have bad politics.

God, I love being a progressive Independent. Partisans are the worst.

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