Police Abuse

Election 2016: Where the Democrats Stand on Criminal Justice and Police Reform

What leading liberal candidates are saying, and not saying, about improving the nation's justice system.

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KIRO

This weekend, protesters affiliated with the "Black Lives Matter" movement stormed the stage at a rally in Seattle for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Some Sanders supporters booed when event organizers allowed the protesters to speak before Sanders. Sanders eventually left without addressing the crowd. One protester, Marissa Johnson, said she wanted "to tell Bernie how racist this city is, with all of its progressives" but that the crowd had "already done that for me."

Last month at the Netroots Nation Democratic presidential candidates forum, protesters from the "Black Lives Matter" heckled the candidates and took to the stage to demand they address issues of police and criminal justice reform.

Only Martin O'Malley, the former mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland, and Sanders attended that event. O'Malley drew the ire of protesters for trying to address their concerns by lumping in victims of police violence with victims of civilian violence and saying the "all lives matter." Sanders had less patience, at one point telling protesters he didn't have to be there if he didn't want them to.

While the issue of criminal justice and police reform has burst onto the national stage in the last year, with even Barack Obama, six years into his presidency, finally focusing on the criminal justice and police reform issues, substantive engagement has so far been minimal, with several candidates giving criminal justice reform policy addresses and most of the discussion over the issue being reserved to those addresses. There's little sign that the issue will enter the ongoing campaign trail discussions any other way than by protesters confronting candidates.

O'Malley, who as mayor of Baltimore helped create an environment of aggressive, unconstitutional overpolicing, has been the target of Black Lives Matter protesters before, at his announcement in May. But other candidates, most notably Hillary Clinton, by far the Democratic frontrunner, have avoided protesters so far. From Clinton to Lincoln Chafee, the Republican-turned-Democrat former Rhode Island senator and governor, the candidates have addressed criminal justice issues, if not their past positions on them. Reason sent a series of questions on criminal justice and police reform to the major candidates; only one responded at all, and none gave direct answers.

Still, the candidates all have histories and records. Here's a review of what each of the declared Democratic presidential candidates have said and done, or not said and not done, about criminal justice reform in the U.S.

marcn/flickr

Hillary Clinton

In April, Clinton gave a policy speech on "race and justice in America" at Columbia University just days after the Baltimore riots over Freddie Gray's death at the hands of cops. Her speech sought to connect the need to "rebuild the bonds of trust and respect" between police and citizens, and "also across society…in our politics, our press, our markets." She offered two policy solutions—"smart policing," including community policing, using federal funds to "bolster best practices rather than to buy weapons for war," and promoting the proliferation of body cameras, and an end to the "era of mass incarceration."

Clinton talked about her work as a children's lawyer in the 70s and 80s, saying she "saw repeatedly repeatedly how our legal system can be and all too often is stacked against those who have the least power, who are the most vulnerable. I saw how families could be and were torn apart by excessive incarceration." But she didn't address the role her husband Bill played in the mass incarceration project as president in the 1990s. Bill did express regret later, nearly fifteen years after leaving office. She said she wanted to "pursue alternative punishments" to keep low-level offenders out of jail, but not out of the criminal justice system.  

"They do have to be in some way registered in the criminal justice system," Clinton said, revealing a lack of senstivity to the connection between mass incarceration and mass state supervision. While it's better for someone to be registered and at home with their family than locked in a cage, being under state supervision is not the same as being free. The fear that comes with living under state supervision or the threat of returning to jail has contributed to tense police interactions, with victims of police violence like Walter Scott in South Carolina preferring to run instead of taking the risk that an interaction with police may cost them their freedom. Clinton mentioned Walter Scott among other victims of police violence in her speech. Many of these people feared an interaction with police because they were in the system—"registered" in Clinton's policy-speak.

Clinton also mentioned her time in the U.S. Senate, pointing to her support of "community policing" legislation, which puts more officers on the street to "build relationships" with residents. In an environment of aggressive petty law enforcement as revenue generation scheme—problems not addressed by Clinton—rebuilding "trust" is impossible.

The absence of substantive discipline against bad cops, a function of powerful police unions, also threatens any positive benefit to "community policing." Clinton doesn't have a history of interest in curbing the power of police and other law enforcement unions that have thrived in the "era of mass incarceration," co-sponsoring a bill in 2007, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, that would set a minimum nationwide standard for collective bargaining for public safety employees—providing those agents of the government that are armed and given wide latitude to use force even more bargaining power vis a vis their "employers," also known as the government and, according to small- and large-D democratic rhetoric, the people.

yashmori/flickr

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has played one note on the campaign trail to greater success than most observers predicted.

He's the only non-Clinton hitting double digits in Democratic polls, and has built that support by focusing on economic populism and income inequality almost exclusively. While Sanders has expressed his support for "mass mobilization" as a means to effect change, he didn't even bother mentioning the "Black Lives Matter" movement as one such protest group that is driving a national conversation despite resistance from an establishment that's settled into a comfortable relationship with the special interests emanating from the criminal justice system. As I noted last month, Sanders' blind spot may be one of ideological necessity—Sanders' conception of a government-endorsed "middle class" by necessity includes those public employees, like cops and correctional officers, who have found their place in the middle class through employment that can sometimes exploit marginalized communities.

Sanders addressed race and criminal justice in a speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Louisiana this weekend, talking about the case of Sandra Bland and offering that a middle-class white woman would not have been dragged out of her car, assaulted, and thrown in jail in a similar situation. Such a statement betrays a position informed by rhetoric and not consideration of the underlying police issues. Black people may be far more likely to be victimized by police, but even a white, female Sunday school teacher can be shot by a cop. Most police reform activists understand this much better than the politicians looking to co-opt their movement. In his Louisiana speech, too, Sanders quickly sought to connect outrage over racialized state violence to the economic populism he's most comfortable with.

Like Clinton, Sanders too voted in the senate in favor of community policing and more cops on the street in poor communities. Like Clinton, he has not directly addressed either the practice of petty law enforcement as government revenue generation nor the role of police unions in preventing reforms.

Twitter

Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley spent 8 years as mayor of Baltimore, from 1999 to 2007, then eight years as governor of Maryland. While mayor of Baltimore, he supported policies that led to tens of thousands of additional arrests for low level offenses—that petty law enforcement during which much of the most troubling instances of police violence occur.

Neill Franklin, who spent 34 years as a cop with the Baltimore Police Department and then the Maryland State Police and is now executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, explained to Reason TV how O'Malley's focus on short-term goals and instant results from police created the conditions that led to this year's riots over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

Baltimore journalist David Simon, who created HBO's The Wire, also explained in an interview with the Marshall Project how O'Malley created a toxic police environment of systemic civil rights abuses in Baltimore. O'Malley easily won re-election in 2003 while this was happening, and was elected governor in 2009. In the Marshall Project interview, Simon said he would end up voting for O'Malley for president if he were the Democratic nominee, because of his stances on issues like gay marriage and the death penalty.

In July Reason sent a number of questions on criminal justice and police reform issues to the different presidential candidates. Only O'Malley's campaign responed, telling us he would be addressing the issues in a speech soon. Last Friday, he spoke about criminal justice and police reform in an address before the National Urban League. He didn't address the problematic aspects of his policy history. Instead, he pointed to "the largest violent crime reductions in modern history" in Baltimore and in Maryland in general, saying this had happened by government becoming "smarter about public safety policies and actions that actually work to save lives, and redeem lives."

In the same time period that arrests and aggressive policing went up, O'Malley noted that from 1999 on "a thousand fewer black men died violent deaths in Baltimore thanks to the biggest ten year improvement in public safety of any big city in America." It's a political argument close to the one laid out by some conservatives, that the kind of policing, now being widely criticized, that was implemented by big city leaders like O'Malley or New York City's former Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, actually led to lower murder rates for black people.

O'Malley's speech paid lip service to the need for police, and politicians, to "believe that you do not surrender your human dignity" from petty violations like not using your turn signal or driving with a burnt out tail light. But it didn't offer any specifics about how to ensure more police officers who respect "human dignity" are hired, or about how to make it easier to fire cops, like perhaps the six on trial for the death of Freddie Gray, who have demonstrated they may not have high standards for human dignity.

O'Malley talked about decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, providing ex-offenders with ID cards, offering more training in jails, abolishing the death penalty, and restoring voting rights for ex-felons as part of his record on criminal justice reform,  but offered little consideration about whether any of the laws that create felons in the first place ought to be reviewed, pushing instead for more drug treatment and training for cops to deal with mental illness. O'Malley claims he did a "better job of policing our police" through "better recruitment, better training, and better pay," but didn't acknowledge the role Baltimore's broken relationship between police and the communities they serve played in spurring protests and riots earlier this year.

O'Malley's electoral history in majority-Democrat jurisdictions, and the willingness of people like Simon to forgive O'Malley's sacrifice of civil rights in order to attain higher office when he's seeking higher office yet again, illustrate the difficulty criminal justice and police reform have in gaining traction in the Democratic presidential race. O'Malley and Clinton both played crucial roles in contributing to the problems of criminal justice and policing getting so much attention in the U.S. today, and are being allowed, so far, to redefine their positions without having to take responsibility for their past positions.

cliff1066/flickr

Jim Webb

In an alternate universe, where enough of the Democratic base is demanding attention be paid to criminal justice reform, perhaps former Virginia senator Jim Webb is the insurgent candidate, or even the frontrunner.

He's been calling for review and reform of the criminal justice system for years, sponsoring legislation in 2009 for a "blue ribbon commission." The bill didn't make it out of the senate and while Webb spent much of his time in the senate focused on criminal justice reform, he left office in 2013. In April, he said his advisors told him focusing on criminal justice reform in his presidential campaign would be "political suicide." Webb announced his candidacy for president in July, saying criminal justice reform would be one of the issues he would focus on, and his campaign has gone nowhere since. Instead, the early Democratic race is animated instead by the candidates jockeying for the left-most economic rhetoric.

Lincoln Chafee

Lincoln Chafee is technically running for president, but he hasn't said all that much since announcing his candidacy in June.  Chafee served as a Republican senator from Rhode Island from 2000 to 2006, then ran for governor in 2010 as an independent. He was the first governor since 1924 not to seek re-election. His successor unveiled an initiative to start working toward criminal justice reforms in Rhode Island earlier this month.

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  1. There’s no way of knowing where Hillary stands. If she says one thing, I’m inclined to believe the opposite.

    1. In a just world, she’s be standing in the dock.

    2. She stands wherever it is convenient for the rich and powerful to stuff money in her metaphorical g-string.

      1. Gross, even metaphorically.

    3. You know, the pix Reason is running of Hillary look like old pix to me. I don’t think she’s had that hairstyle for years. Maybe she changed back, I don’t know.

      But if Reason is running pix of Hillary that make her look less old and broken down than she is, I’d be curious as to why.

      1. Yeah, that hairstyle goes back to at least 2008, it looks like.

        http://tucson.com/gallery/news…..7a.html#13

        Its just kind of weird, is all.

    4. Which one gets her a vote, or better yet, a campaign donation? Whatever it is will be your answer.

  2. You will never see any serious Criminal Justice Reform from Democrats because they’re afraid of being seen as soft on crime. In fact, most of the biggest expansions of the criminal justice system has been under Democrats trying to appear tougher than Conservatives. For this reason, only a Republican can make changes without being criticized (same goes for the WOD). Will any other candidate other than Paul attempt it? I’m skeptical, but would love to be proven wrong.

    1. Will any other candidate other than Paul attempt it?

      NO

    2. Believe or not (I’m still kinda in disbelief), Sanders put this out yesterday. His stance on policing and the Drug War are pretty similar to Rand.
      https://berniesanders.com/issues/racial-justice/

      1. Well, that explains how I got a 60% Bernie.

      2. I got something similar for Bernie. Maybe after he loses in the primary, he and Rand can put something together in the Senate on reforming the WoD and urban policing.

        I’m just kidding, nothing will get done.

      3. The term ‘racial justice’ makes me nervous. Why do I have a feeling that under a Sanders administration whites will continue to have their lives destroyed over victimless crimes while the favored minority groups will receive passes for violent, non-victimless crimes? Isn’t that the Progressive/Socialist way? Payback and retribution to those who where lucky enough to not have the government’s boot on their neck?

        1. Yeah, I have to admit, that’s a valid concern.

          1. A very valid concern.

            Obama actually signed an executive action ordering schools to even out the discipline handed out by schools between the races regardless of differences in behaviors.

            http://search.har.com/engine/d…..m=74730651

            Valid concern my ass… it’s a reality.

            1. Yes, this is happening in Minneapolis schools. Brilliant.

  3. “to tell Bernie how racist this city is, with all of its progressives” but that the crowd had “already done that for me.”

    This was one of the most delicious moments in Seattle political theater in middle-memory.

    1. That picture should be titled “This is what a male feminist looks like.”

  4. I’m such a SOCON that Santorum is my second choice.

    1. 98% Rand Paul
      90% Ben Carson
      89% Ted Cruz

      13% Hillary Clinton

      What is someone who wants to minimize liberty?

      1. Rand Paul – 85%

        Ted Cruz – 83%

        Rubio – 82%

        Santorum – 82%

        Trump – 81%

        Whoever thought that Santorum was that close to Rand Paul on the issues?

        Me thinks this surveys artificial intelligence algorithm is 2 parts alcohol and one part leftist partisan hack.

        1. Oops, that was Trump 71%

          Must be because I’m not for granting government benefits to illegals.

          Hillary Clinton – 19%

          *barf*, I support exactly zero percent of what that witch is for.

          1. I think the quiz is messed up unless you are basically a Republican or Democrat — of which I am neither.

            I got Rand first (not a huge surprise), followed closely by Bernie (WTF?! — he’s lefty moron!), then by Jeb and Walker (uh, nooooo, I’d just stay home), and then by Hilary. (I’d sooner vote for a bag of dog shit left on my doorstep!)

            The test is near total B.S. For example, it says I “agree” with Hilary on one issue because she says the NSA should not spy on our allies, while I said the NSA should be simply abolished. How is that agreeing?

            1. I’d vote for Walker: He’s Not That Bad!

      2. 83% Rand Paul
        77% Ben Barson
        46% Hillary Clinton.
        Because the website thinks that if Hillary doesn’t take a position on something, whatever your answer is doesn’t matter. Sigh.

      3. I’m kind of shocked that I got 53% for Bernie. I suspect that is in how you use the “weigh the importance of this to you” tool on the left, because I can damn sure tell you that after hearing Hillary talk, I don’t agree with anything near 1/3 of what she says. I wouldn’t believe her if she told me water was wet.

        Rand Paul 89%
        Ben Carson 78%
        Rick Perry 74%
        Ted Cruz 71%
        Scott Walker 71%
        Jeb Bush 64%
        Donald Trump 64%
        Bernie Sanders 53%
        Hillary Clinton 36%

      4. 96% Rand Paul
        96% Ted Cruz
        94% Rubio
        85% Jeb

        9% Hillary
        9% Bernie

        There were way too many questions about illegal immigration. Th

        1. My results are weird. I am a bit hawkish so that might explain the other places after Rand. And my money has been going to Rand for the last 6 months.

          93% Rand
          79% Perry
          75% Cruz
          75% Jindal
          73% Trump
          72% Carson
          71% Walker
          71% Bush

          1. No shock that I got 94% for Rand Paul.

            If Gary Johnson was an option, more of us would probably get him first. I actually like Rand, but I’m closer to Johnson than him, as far as political views go.

      1. What’s up with the period?

        1. I’m not just a name, I’m a statement.

          I added it almost a year ago.

          That’s what I like about you: your attention to detail.

          1. Oh, and I asked for Paul.’s permission. He was the first one.

              1. That thing does have a google plus account and a discus account in my name.

                I only comment here, so I couldn’t give less of a fuck.

                  1. Wow, what a pathetic envy-ridden little man he is.

                1. Yeah, but nobody cares about Disqus, which is even worse than the H&R commenting platform.

                  1. You forgot to mention your blog

                  2. My disqus name is joeblow. I occasionally see a comment from lord humongous, and wonder if that’s the same humongous who posts here.

        2. I dunno. Ask Trump — that’s *his* schtick.

    2. 83% Rand Paul

      “Your political beliefs would be considered extremely Libertarian on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to support policies that promote social and economic freedom.”

      1. Right-Wing Libertarian

        Your political beliefs would be considered strongly Libertarian and moderately Right-Wing on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to support policies that promote free market capitalism and smaller government.

        Fuck, I got 60% Bernie! Does he want to legalize drugs or something or make cops stop killing innocent people? LMAO!

        1. I wonder if anyone ever gets:

          Tea bagging rat fucker

          Your political beliefs mean you want to starve children and put women and minorities back in chains.

          I think I was close to getting that. Maybe they need some questions about orphans and monocles?

        2. make cops stop killing innocent people?

          Yes, but there is probably a catch.

        3. Fuck, I got 60% Bernie! Does he want to legalize drugs or something or make cops stop killing innocent people? LMAO!

          Lul, I got 56% for Bernie (and 57% for Bush, odd).

          Bernie’s probably alright on social issuez. I’m guessing if he were pro-market rather than a socialist retard, he might be palatable.

          1. I have Bernie at 54% ahead of Christie at 51%.

            1. Christie at 41% here. I win.

          2. You can’t be not be a socialist retard on economics and be a Democrat at the same time.

            1. Some Democrats like markets, but think the war on womens is more important. That doesn’t make them any less retarded mind you but maybe not socialist.

          3. Even if he were pro-market, the BLM interruption of his speech shows that even his own base doesn’t respect him. How’s he going to command enough respect from, say, Republicans, to be able to successfully negotiate his agenda through Congress? Even if he were perfect on the issues, he would make a terrible President because nobody respects him. It would be like 4-8 more years of Obama’s foreign policy blunders and inability to get anything he wants done, only worse.

            1. What agenda? Free shit and unicorn farts?

        4. I got Right-Wing Libertarian too.
          My top 3 candidates were Cruz, Paul, and Santorum

          I assigned priorities to the first three questions (same sex marriage related) then forgot to prioritize rest, I don’t know if that skewed the results at all.

          1. Btw, I found it annoying that they didn’t mention the FDA in the drug decriminalization question. I had to write my answer in.

        5. Yup, I got similar Bernie-related results. I think it’s because of his less-interventionist foreign policy. Lord knows I don’t agree with any of his economic views! I even use deodorant every day, for example.

      2. Left-Wing Libertarian

        Your political beliefs would be considered strongly Libertarian and moderately Left-Wing on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to support policies that will reduce elitism and provide freedom and equality for citizens.

    3. 92% Rand Paul
      92% Ted Cruz
      88% Marco Rubio

      I find it interesting that I’d get two who are the same percentage.

      1. It’s odd because if you look at the ideology plot, Marco Rubio & Rand Paul are quite distant from one another.

        1. *Ted Cruz & Rand Paul

    4. 91% Paul
      85% Carson
      67% Trump (!?!?!?)
      65% Sanders (!?!?!?)
      And for the WTF moment:
      55% Clinton

      I’m calling bullshit.

      1. But, it did label me “Libertarian Your political beliefs would be considered extremely Libertarian on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to support policies that promote social and economic freedom”
        So there. I am a true libertarian, no matter what the rest of you say.

  5. Did Bernie evacuate his bowels on stage?

    1. Buildings are evacuated, Bernies are hustled away.

    2. He was wearing Oops I Crapped My Pants.

  6. It’s interesting watching the party not know how to deal with a very reliable voter base start demanding actual attention not lip service.

    1. What’s that reliable voter base going to do? Vote for the other TEAM? Haaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah right. Democrats know this.

      1. If the vote is sufficiently split between Clinton and Bernie Sanders, we might get stuck with The Donald.

      2. Then they’ve effectively disenfranchised themselves.

      3. They might stay home. Though, considering where they tend to be cloistered (districts that will go blue if they stay home or not) and that not voting only has half the effect as switching the team of your vote, I doubt the Dems will really care. This is more likely to hurt state and congress level dems than the presidential election.

    2. It is pretty amusing to watch all the progs sputtering and trying to defend their favorite candidate from charges of racism. They’ve spent all this time perfecting charges that can’t be defended against, and now they are having their own weapon turned back on them.

      1. In fairness, according to these people, objecting to protestors taking over the microphone is racism.

        1. I saw some meme the other day comparing the #alllivesmatter people to telling a fireman to hose down a house that was not on fire instead of the house that was on fire because #allhousesmatter.

          1. Funny thing is, that that is something you actually do occasionally. Sometimes you hose down neighboring houses or houses in the path of a wildfire to prevent them from also catching on fire.

          2. Holy shit. Sadly, I bet they thought that not only made sense but was actually clever.

          3. More like hosing down a big house that’s kind of on fire while also hosing down a trailer that’s completely engulfed in flames. Actually, more like trying to shut off the gas line that is causing both houses to burn, since the hose suggests your efforts have to be directed on a case by case bases instead of into broad structural changes.

        2. Yeah, I feel bad for Bernie in that matter. These people jumped up on the stage took the microphone from him and then he let them say their piece, but there are still people calling him a racist because he didn’t show enough support for their actions. I haven’t seen him support SJW politics or tactics in the past (he seems more class war than race war), so it doesn’t even have the ‘taste of his own medicine’ to kill my sympathy. His young supporters deserve every second of this bullshit, though.

          1. He is more national SOCIALIST, than NATIONAL socialist.

        3. He’s a old, white, cis-gendered, man. All he did was check his privilege.

          1. I hate his fiscal views, but he’s at least somewhat genuine. Hilary’s about as genuine as Kim Kardashians backside

  7. For Democrats, the solution to any problem is always more laws. This is a glaring example of a problem caused by too many laws. There’s no possible way the Democrats will do anything except make things worse.

    1. Yep. And even if the D candidate asserts a good justice reform program, you vote for them at the risk of an overall net loss of individual liberty because of all the other laws and taxes and regulations they’ll pass in other issues.

      1. Kind of like how the decades-long struggle for legal pot is bearing fruit, but meanwhile they’ve criminalized a bunch of less-popular substances & have been cracking down on tobacco & nicotine.

    2. There was that one time the Democrats voluntarily repealed an important law. I can’t think of the occasion actually. But I’m sure it happened. 17th Amendment maybe? That seems like something they’d do.

      1. And they immediately replaced that law with other laws just as bad. Sure, prohibition of alcohol ended, but did they send the alcohol inspectors home? No, they still went after moonshine and much, much more. Now they also had the duty to make sure long guns and shotguns don’t have a barrel over 18 inches without paying a tax, make sure people don’t put stocks on pistols without paying their tax, make sure people don’t have a sound suppressors on guns without paying their tax, and make sure people don’t own automatic weapons without paying a fine. And when they find someone that hasn’t paid their taxes, they take their short barreled, sound suppressed, automatic rifles out and go after them.

        And that’s without talking about all the New Deal shit FDR rammed down our throats.

  8. I don’t see anything here about putting heroin vending machines in government schools.

  9. I love it that Bernie started his talk by thanking Seattle for being the “most progressive city” in the country, and then immediately got shut down by Black Lives Matter. LOL

    And today we have another Ferguson riot.

    I wonder if 2016 might be somewhat like 1968 for Democrats: an angry left turning off moderate voters.

    1. You call this a riot?

      1. Look at all that furtive movement!

        *clicks off safety*

      2. I think he means the gunfire, rock throwing, arrests @ around 11PM

        http://abcnews.go.com/US/polic…..d=32988387

        1. Yes, that. I guess it ended by daybreak?

    2. Is Donald Trump gonna be George C. Wallace in this example?

      Half-joking here

  10. Where the Democrats Stand on Criminal Justice and Police Reform

    About twenty blocks away at the intersection of Delusion and Hysteria.

  11. As I have consistently stated, I am still on Team Red. But not because of “party loyalty” but because I think there is a better chance to improve the cause of liberty on that side. One of the reasons is that not a single one of these assholes believes in more than 15% of what I believe in. While Republicans have some the usual asshole types:
    Jeb Bush, Christie, the Socons, the Donald. We also have folks that are honestly about liberty (if imperfectly): Rand Paul (as far as politicians go, as libertarian as you will probably ever find), Ted Cruz and Scott Walker (guys we can work with).

    1. At-minimum, Team Red generally caters to a base that wants less government – IRS, EPA, and Dept of Education were called-out at last week’s debate.

      1. the downside, of course, is that this talk never translates to action. Team Red talks a big game, at least it used to; then it decided to get in on the graft just like the Blues.

        1. At least he’s not a Democrat.

      2. I think that is one reason I still “bang my head against the wall” and support Rs. I think even when the pols don’t live up to it (and sometimes it is because structurally there really is very little that one rep or senator like a Cruz or Paul can do), many more folks who are “conservative” have some libertarian leanings than do “liberals”. At least where I have lived in AZ and KS (and a few in upstate NY and Long Island where I am originally from, but not many).

        1. A very good reason to support the Republicans is that once they are in office the press might go back to being watchdogs instead of lapdogs when the Dims are in office..

    2. Effectively the Milton Friedman formulation: “I am a libertarian with a small ‘l’ and a Republican with a capital ‘R.’ And I am a Republican with a capital ‘R’ on grounds of expediency, not on principle.” (his 2005 Charlie Rose Show quote that bounces around the blogosphere on the Right ? I think I heard it quoted first via Kevin Williamson)

    3. Ben Carson isn’t bad, either. He is a smart dude, who could probably solve a few problems.

      The Republicans do stand for a lot of the same things that the Democrats do, but since neither one is for non-aggression, I go with the next most important thing to me which is fiscal responsibility and capitalism. I hate liberals and socialism, so generally I side with Team Red as well.

      I just can’t stand the fascist views of some of their social conservatives. They’re just as bad as liberals, albeit from the opposing end of the spectrum, and for different reasons.

  12. They love laws and more laws as said above.Laws on smoking and \drugs and sugat and ‘unhealthy food’ and guns and evil corps and oil and gas and coal and helll,you finish it.

  13. ?providing those agents of the government that are armed and given wide latitude to use force even more bargaining power vis a vis their “employers,” also known as the government and, according to small- and large-D democratic rhetoric, the people.

    Referring to ‘government’ as a public safety employees’ “employer” is why we’re in this mess to begin with. The ‘government’ is essentially the public union employees’ “co-worker” at best.

    When a union goes on strike, they negotiate with their co-workers who are essentially on the same team and have no incentive to curb their excesses.

    In addition, when a union engages in a strike action, they’re not engaging in that strike action “against” the government, they’re engaging in an action against me: a captive audience with no other option to obtain services from a competitor.

    Honestly, I can’t think of a more glaring set of perverted incentives than the Union in the government space.

    1. it is becoming alarming to me the way the bureaucrats just tell the DOJ and Congress to fuck off these days. They are gonna do what they want and WTF is Congress gonna do about it ?

      Nothing evidentially.

  14. We just need to put the correct people in jail. You know, like the Koch brothers, and their deranged tea bagsterdz dupes.

    1. The jails are overcrowded. We’ll have to put them in camps.

      1. You know who else… Ah hell I’m too tired.

        1. Put Jews in camps? Allan Sherman, of course.

  15. she “saw repeatedly repeatedly how our legal system can be

    Meta humor. Nice.

  16. What about misogynoir? Huh?

    #blacklivesmatter

    1. “The Third Mansplainer”

  17. ” One protester, Marissa Johnson, said she wanted “to tell Bernie how racist this city is, with all of its progressives” but that the crowd had “already done that for me.””

    Actually, the under-reported parts of the confrontation were for me more interesting.

    Particularly when the event organizer tries to take control of what’s going on, and says something like “We are trying to be reasonable…”

    And the protestors explode in a fury “WE AREN’T REASONABLE!!!”*

    *Its not clear if they mean it in the sense of “self-important, revolutionary spirit”… (because ‘reasonableness’ suggests a willingness to compromise)…

    …or if its just them repeating it as though they’ve been accused, like OMG WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY…. but either way, the petulant attitude is pretty priceless.

    1. Sorry = the link

    2. John Carlson (local conservative radio host– not sure if he still has a show) pointed out years ago that Seattle is a universally liberal (progressive) town, and yet it’s accused of being the most racist city in America. Funny that.

    3. I also loved how they stormed the stage right after Bernie shouts that Seattle is the most progressive place in the galaxy!

      Yes, yes it is, Bernie. Suck on Seattle’s progressivism! It just hit you in the forehead like a 2×4 being swung by a crazy person.

  18. Where do the Democrats stand on law enforcement reform is with both feet planted firmly in midair.

    – They won’t rein in the Police Unions because they desperately DESPERATELY need the support of the public servant unions.

    – They won’t backtrack on petty regulation that keeps the poor brown people down, because they LIKE petty regulation, and don’t really like poor brown people.

    – They won’t de-militarize the police because they LIKE having a secondary military force that might actually take their orders when they try to seize such power as they do not already have. ALL the best dictators and juntas have Special Troops that are loyal to THEM and not to the nation.

    – They won’t willingly back off of their gun control obsession, and let the poor brown people protect themselves, because they don’t really trust an armed populace not to give them the brisk guillotining they deserve.

    Bottom line; THEY LIKE that the poor brown people are feeling oppressed. That means that they, The Designated Saviors, will be able to count on the support of the poor brown people, at least until they figure out how badly they have been used.

    Whereupon the order of the day will be barbecued donkey.

    1. you might 50 years since the war on poverty would be long enough to learn. It might take another 50, though.

      1. How long does it take for a crackhead to realize that the crack dealer isn’t his friend, when there’s a good part of his mind and body so invested in ignoring the facts?

      2. it’s likely to be slow, but I see some cracks on the facade. Inner-city black politicians are finding it smart to be pro-school-choice. The Teacher’s Unions may hate it, but they only have so many votes, and there are a lot of black mothers who know goddamned well that the public schools are holding cells for the discarded.

        We need more private scholarships for inner city kids. Anybody know of a good, reliable, libertarian charity that does that? I have money to donate, but don’t trust the (largely Liberal Democrat run) charities in Philly, (which is the nearest big city).

        1. Doesn’t the Koch Found’n do that?

        2. How much money? Could you start such a foundation yourself?

    2. The Indonesian solution, then. Cf. the weekend post.

    3. And yet an awful lot of the poor brown people vote for the Democrats without question.

      It’s their choice, and while I’m a minority, I am neither poor nor brown so I cannot really fathom why they do.

  19. cops tend to be unionized, certainly in big cities, and it is hard to imagine proggy pols ever taking a stance against that.

    1. Nope, it’s just racism. Just some cops using the n-word in the locker room. There is no larger accountability issue.

    2. They’re one of the few unions in bed with Republicans (see: Wisconsin). Cops tend to be Republicans, because they tend to be assholes.

      It’s really annoying when a real problem is reduced to one of a handful of conservative/libertarian pet grievances, because it means you’re not looking for a real solution. Unionism is not causing the problem. High taxes on billionaires isn’t either.

      1. What’s the “real problem” Tony?

      2. No. The problem, as with MOST of the problems in modern society, is caused by the parasitic Liberal Intellectual class and their hangers on.

        I’m looking and YOU, Tony.

        1. You’re a trained poodle.

          Most of the problems in modern US society are being caused by Republicans. I would never say something so definite if I didn’t believe it were actually true. Listen to them when they speak. What do they want to do to the world? Try and think critically, and ignore the last step where they go “Profit!” Read an objective source of information, if you can muster the courage.

          Tell me when in the history of the world going after the “intellectual class” and calling them parasites has turned out well.

          No one is ever going to recognize himself as a fucking fascist.

          1. The derp, it is strong in this one.
            Come on Tony,I don’t think you believe that, not anymore. You’ve been here long enough to know better, but you figure that if you say something like that, then you’ll get attention.
            I’ll make a deal with you: I’ll pay attention to you and answer your arguments, if your arguments are reasoned positions, and not just emotional outbursts.

      3. Tony i have deemed you have two much. Please donate 50 pct back to society

        #feelingsmug

  20. Curious: what does Reason plan to do about the growing gang situation in America? gangs de facto control sectors of many American cities. There’s also gangs like MS13 moving into America. What’s the plan?

    One reason the police are being militarized is because of the growing gang threat. It is waaaaay out of control, and far worse than it was a generation or two ago. Decrim of drugs will not work. That has been tried in Mexico, and you still have the cartels running amok. One reason for police abuses — and there are many such police abuses — is that the situation has gotten so out of hand that constitutional policing methods just do not do the job.

    Does Reason even consider the gang situation? Or is it so busy bashing the cops that they can not see the barbarians within the gates?

    1. Ferguson, MO is well known for being a hotbed of MS13 activity. That’s why they needed those APCs.

    2. …the growing gang situation in America? gangs de facto control sectors of many American cities. There’s also gangs like MS13 moving into America.

      citation needed

  21. I stand on 17.

  22. “…..how racist this city is, with all of its progressives”

    But surely the “progressives” in the dem controlled city include African Americans, who massively vote for either Democrats or black democrats?

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