Bill Clinton Wrong to Double Down on Racist Language


The political debate around Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill is rather complicated complicated as Hillary Clinton championed the bill but Bernie Sanders voted for the legislation, so he can’t get a free pass. Sanders does note that he criticized parts of the bill and ultimately voted for the bill because of provisions that he did support, such as the Violence Against Women Act and a ban on assault weapons.

It did seem that both campaigns did agree that the 1994 Crime Bill made mass incarceration worse and that Hillary Clinton’s racially-charged language about “superpredators” and how our nation “needed to bring them to heel” was no longer acceptable. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton disagrees and he was wrong to double down on his bill and racist language used by Hillary Clinton.

Former First Lady Hillary Clinton had a fundraiser interrupted by activist Ashley Williams who requested that Clinton apologize for her inflammatory language of the 1990s. As Williams was being escorted out by Secret Service, Clinton stated,“You know what, nobody’s ever asked me before, you’re the first person that’s ever asked me, and I’m happy to address it.” To her credit, the Democratic front-runner later stated, “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.”

Former President Bill Clinton, when protested by Black Lives Matter activists today, he defended his wife’s racist language, instead of simply  acknowledging that his wife admitted that she shouldn’t have used such damaging words. “I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them out in the streets to murder other African-American children,” the former president stated. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens — she didn’t.”

Bill Clinton was known to say publicly, and privately, several unhelpful comments during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary against Barack Obama. Former President Clinton called Obama’s candidacy a “fairytale” and discounted his win in South Carolina, since Jesse Jackson won there as well. Privately, Bill clinton reportedly told Ted Kennedy that, “A few years ago, this guy (Obama) would be getting us coffee.”

Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, Bill may be spouting off at the wrong time as Bernie Sanders has rallied off a series of wins ahead of the crucial New York primary. Former Secretary Clinton has relied upon the black vote to her primary victories. Senator Sanders has fared better among black voters outside of the South and seems to do well with young black voters. Hillary Clinton will be counting upon the black vote in the upcoming New York primary and beyond, but Bill Clinton didn’t do her any favors by defending the racist language she used to support a bill that helped usher in an era of mass incarceration that has been deemed, the New Jim Crow.

Professor Michelle Alexander wrote, “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote” for The Nation due to Hillary Clinton’s championing of her husband’s crime and welfare bills. By defending his wife’s racist language when defending his signature crime bill that helped decimate black communities, Bill Clinton may just cause many more voters, of all colors, to reexamine their support for Hillary Clinton.

I believe this is a moment in history when millions of people could be mobilized in a way that changes the course of…

Posted by Michelle Alexander on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.