Saturday, May 02, 2015

Race for the White House 2016 Volume 18

This past week, much national attention has been directed towards the City of Baltimore, where six police officers, both black and white, have now been charged in the death of a black suspect who somehow suffered a severed spine while in police custody. Before the charges came down though, the city was met with rioting and looting, after an initial period of peaceful protest ends.

Briefly, this episode will hopefully involve the system working. These officers are due their day in court, but unless the actions of Freddie Gray to injure himself were deliberate, it is hard to excuse what might have happened. If he was loaded into a police van without a seatbelt on and fatal injuries occurred, those officers should certainly be fired. If something more direct occurred, they should absolutely be imprisoned. Everything about this feels very political at this point however. The evidence will have to speak for itself, but many feel that there were severe charges brought down simply to "appease a mob." Needless to say, the rioting, looting, and violence, were unacceptable, and were largely the actions of those who had self-gain far above social justice in their minds. The images of a mother smacking around her 16 year old son, in an effort to get him to not take part in looting a mall has been everywhere and made that Mom quite famous.

After incidents in American cities from Missouri to New York, the lawlessness in the streets has to be disturbing to Americans. The Democrat Mayor of Baltimore apparently told police to stand down when the riots began and later spoke about how "space to destroy" was granted to some in the city. Most feel that the initial reaction was far from what is needed.

These types of national stories can play roles in the narratives of long Presidential campaigns. The overwhelming Democrat front-runner, Hillary Clinton made some news by seeming to pick up an increasingly popular theme from the left, in which it is being said that police forces are too powerful and too many people, especially black males, are being locked up. This is just one example of Clinton, who lost a previous nomination bid to someone more popular among liberals, has been moving to the left. In doing so, especially as it relates to the crime issue, she is putting much stylistic and political differences between her and her former President husband, who twice won the Presidency on the theme of being a "tough on crime" Democrat. It is certainly true that the Democrat Party has moved a great deal to the left since Bill Clinton was its standards bearer and Hillary, who might otherwise be hoping that nostalgia for the '90s, could work to her political benefit, is having to change away from positions and themes that she and her husband had publicly advocated for years.

While most feel that Hillary Clinton has the nomination wrapped up, she now has her first formal opponent, and one that is sure to hold her feet to the "progressive fire." Seventy-three year old Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is a Brooklyn born Jew, who after a couple decades of running quixotic and losing campaigns in Vermont, has been a fixture on Washington D.C. for the past twenty some years as the longest-serving Independent in Congressional history. Of course, Sanders is actually an avowed socialist, which differentiates him a bit from all the formal Democrats who deny being socialists. In running for President though, Sanders is doing so as a Democrat, and should be expected to receive a fair amount of attention in that campaign. He is a steep underdog to Hillary (who is at the moment the youngest Democrat officially running for President), but the force he may have in the debate, especially among young liberals, is not to be underestimated. Of course, many feel that Sanders is a second-tier substitute for Elizabeth Warren, who they really wish were running, but as of now, is staying on the sidelines. Republicans like myself hope that Sanders will give some consideration to trying to find a way on the fall ballot as a third party or Independent candidate as well.

The situation in Baltimore bring up much to discuss, question, and debate. Obviously, the problems there are systemic and complex, but it should not be forgotten that the City, and most other large American urban centers, have been governed exclusively by liberal Democrats, over the past 50 years. One could write an essay on how the "War on Poverty" has failed  and made problems worse. In my view, conservatism, free markets, educational choice, and the strengthening of the family structure are the best antidotes to bigotry, poverty, and hopelessness. That is why elections matter from the White House to City Hall.

We can only hope that the Summer of 2015 does not resemble some of the summers of the 1960s, as Americans were brought images of urban rioting and destruction. That factor helped contribute to a Republican (albeit not a necessarily beloved one) to the White House ending two term of a Democrat in the White House.

If America is disturbed by the social trends in the final years of Obama, it is going to be harder for his party to fight the desire for "change", and an eventual Republican candidate, offering new hope and a new direction will only have another natural advantage in 2016.


At 5:14 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey: You've also heard about Adrian Garcia (D) resigning as Harris County Sheriff this week in order to run for Houston Mayor?

The GOP-controlled Harris County Commissioners Court will likely appoint a GOPer as Harris County Sheriff!


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