Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow,” has a question about African-American voters and Hillary Clinton: “What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion?”
In a story for The Nation titled “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote,” Alexander argues that “from the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted — and Hillary Clinton supported — decimated black America.”
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Marist poll shows Clinton-rival Bernie Sanders struggling to attract black voters in South Carolina: Just 17 percent support him, compared to 74 percent for Clinton.
“What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans?” Alexander asks. “Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?”
Alexander then answers her own questions: “No, Quite the opposite.”
Alexander makes it clear that she is not endorsing Bernie Sanders, but says, “there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.”
Alexander writes that as president, Bill Clinton “capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes — ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did.”
“Bill Clinton presided over the largest increase in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history,” she writes. “Clinton did not declare the War on Crime or the War on Drugs–those wars were declared before Reagan was elected and long before crack hit the streets — but he escalated it beyond what many conservatives had imagined possible.”