Daily Clips: February 17th, 2016

Hillary Clinton vows to solve racial disparities: Her plan is ambitious, I’ll giver her that. Clinton claimed that if elected “she would spend $2 billion to encourage public school districts with a high number of troubled students to hire social workers and other experts to help young people before they get entangled in the criminal justice system.”

While that my sound impressive at first, the more one thinks about it, the less likely they are to feel this program is going to solve the systemic problems. It feels like a mere clog. For example, why not legalize marijuana as a way to make sure young men and women do not get “entangled in the criminal justice system?” After all, “of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were for simply having marijuana.” That seems like a policy change which would significantly decrease our grossly oversized prison population.

These arrests also disproportionately impact Blacks. In fact, “despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.”

Look, I understand that Clinton’s program would help. It just seems like she’s pandering to special interests in this scenario. We know where marijuana legalization is going. Why not get out in front of that issue and really help racial inequalities? Unfortunately, we know through her past that that’s a very difficult thing for Clinton to do as a politician. She has a lot of gifts – and caution is one of them. It can also make her appear incrementalist to a fault.

Video of the day:

Thomas Piketty on the rise of Bernie Sanders: the US enters a new political era

Sanders’ success today shows that much of America is tired of rising inequality and these so-called political changes, and intends to revive both a progressive agenda and the American tradition of egalitarianism. Hillary Clinton, who fought to the left of Barack Obama in 2008 on topics such as health insurance, appears today as if she is defending the status quo, just another heiress of the Reagan-Clinton-Obama political regime.

A way Hillary can differentiate herself from the status quo is by ridiculing trickle-down economics, thereby distancing herself from the old political regime. The public is ripe for a villain more full-bodied than “the big banks.” Trickle-down economics can fill that void.

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Nick Cassella
Nick Cassella graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2014. After graduating, he worked on the Initiative 594 campaign before joining Civic Ventures, where he now manages Civic Skunk Works' social media presence.