Commentary

Cornel West: Biden Will Lose Black Voters to Trump if He Doesn't 'Get Off His Symbolic Crack Pipe'

The 2020 presidential race is heating up — and so is former Vice President Joe Biden’s “symbolic crack pipe,” according to Harvard University philosopher Dr. Cornel West.

West, a leading liberal activist, told the Washington Examiner for an article published Wednesday that Biden, who is leading the 2020 Democrat field in most national polls, is headed for serious trouble if he continues to defend a crime law he wrote in 1994.

According to West, the former vice president can expect low turnout from black voters if President Donald Trump keeps attacking the now-infamous law.

“I hope and pray he is unable to do it. But if Trump comes out strong on criminal justice reform, he is going to get a slice of the black vote, because this is life or death,” said West, who is black.

“I think Biden is going to have to take responsibility and acknowledge the contribution he made to something that was not a force for good. We all make mistakes, but this was a major, major bad judgment. And we have to tell the truth.”

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“That Joe Biden was one of the architects, or core architects, is going to haunt him in a very serious way,” West concluded.

“When he says it didn’t contribute to mass incarceration, I tell him he has to get off his symbolic crack pipe.”

The legislation in question, formally as the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,” resulted rising state prison populations, among other things.

As the Examiner noted: “The 1994 law introduced mandatory life sentences for three-time federal felons and had a ripple effect of increasing state prison populations by granting $12.5 billion for prison construction to states that passed ‘truth-in-sentencing’ laws forcing inmates to serve 85% of sentences.”

Do you think Joe Biden will lose black voters over his support for the crime bill?

It was a steroid shot for the prison system — and Trump is destroying Biden for putting it all together.

“Super Predator was the term associated with the 1994 Crime Bill that Sleepy Joe Biden was so heavily involved in passing. That was a dark period in American History, but has Sleepy Joe apologized? No!” Trump tweeted Monday.

“Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected,” Trump wrote in a follow-up tweet.

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“In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you. I, on the other hand, was responsible for Criminal Justice Reform, which had tremendous support, & helped fix the bad 1994 Bill!”

Many in the black community have shown strong support for Trump’s work to help reform the criminal justice system, specifically his signing into law of the FIRST STEP Act, which reduced the three-strikes penalty from life behind bars to 25 years in prison.

Actor Isaiah Washington wrote on Twitter in April that he voted for former President Barack Obama twice, but appreciates that Trump took meaningful action to help the black community.

Multiple times during his 2016 campaign, Trump promised to help all Americans.

If West is right, he’ll be rewarded at the voting booth for coming through on that promise once November 2020 rolls around.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a freelance journalist and writer. He began reporting news and writing commentary during the 2014 Ferguson riots. Prior to that, he worked as a web editor and columnist for an award-winning local newspaper.
Ryan Ledendecker plunged headfirst into news reporting and political commentary while on the ground during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. He later wrote extensively on Donald Trump's presidential campaign and election.

When he's not writing, Ryan spends time improving his barbecue skills. He has his own brand of BBQ rub and is a trophy winner in the world of competitive BBQ.
Birthplace
Illinois
Nationality
American
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Science & Technology




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