As public opinion turns, so does the rhetoric of Hillary Clinton. Whether it’s gun control, immigration, trade, gay marriage, or foreign policy, it isn’t hard to find a position she’s become “enlightened” about once public opinion swings against it.
bandwagon position Hillary has adopted? The specter of racism in criminal justice.
Via the Daily Caller
Hillary Clinton claims that she only just learned about “systemic racism” in the criminal justice system after she “immersed” herself in it relatively recently.
In an editorial meeting with Newsday on Monday, Clinton criticized her husband Bill’s 1994 crime bill, suggesting it had “a very powerful and egregious impact on the criminal justice system.”
To her credit, even Bill acknowledged that his 1994 crime bill made mass incarceration worse last year, but I won’t interrupt them arguing that they’re part of the problem.
Lane Filler, a member of the Newsday editorial board, asked Clinton, “Do you think it’s fair to say that if we look back at the 1994 crime bill, and it hadn’t had disparate effects on different populations, in other hands, if the biases of judges and police officers and juries hadn’t gotten involved, we’d be looking at that now as a perfectly fine bill, that it’s really just the disparate outcomes that are the problem?”
Clinton replied, “I think that’s a very good point. I mean there were so many positive features to the crime bill, but, it did, I think, catalyze a kind of much more wrongly defined mentality about cracking down on crime, and people took it too far.”
Bill Clinton was confronted by #BlackLivesMatter protestors at a speech weeks ago over the 1994 crime bill, which he defended, blasting the protestors. Quite a change of tune from a year ago. Meanwhile, Hillary continued to criticize the law her husband signed into law.
So who is right? While Bill Clinton will claim the bill reduced crime, crime rates were already on a trajectory downward before it ever went into effect. In other words, attributing any declines in crime to the bill would be like hopping in front of a parade and claiming you’re leading it.
On the other hand, did the law cause mass incarceration? It may have added a few drops of gasoline to the fire, but the so-called “age of mass incarceration” began in the 1970s, long before Bill’s bill.
Depending on what happens with the FBI investigation into her emails, Mrs. Clinton may yet have an opportunity for total immersion in our criminal justice system. We can only hope.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]