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Caging Borders and Carceral StatesIncarcerations, Immigration Detentions, and Resistance$
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Robert T. Chase

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651231

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651231.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 17 June 2021

The Clintons’ War on Drugs

The Clintons’ War on Drugs

Why Black Lives Didn’t Matter

Chapter:
(p.341) The Clintons’ War on Drugs
Source:
Caging Borders and Carceral States
Author(s):

Donna Murch

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651231.003.0012

The chapter offers a political analysis of how mass incarceration unfolded through the designs of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the collection of conservative and centrist Sunbelt governors and congressmen whose political aim was to undo the 1968 presidential primary reforms that established a more pluralistic party base. The chapter takes up the political career of President William J. Clinton, the DLC’s champion, through a political analysis of his “tough on crime” agenda that resulted in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that established $30.2 billion for prisons and policing, the federal expansion of the death penalty, a “three strikes” and lifetime imprisonment provision for federal felony convictions, and gang “enhancements” that allowed minors to be prosecuted as adults. Linking Clinton’s embrace of welfare reform to “get tough” political positioning, the chapter castigates the Democratic Party for pursuing retributive policies that retained white working-class voters within the Democratic fold at the expense of Black people. The “paradox” of Bill Clinton’s political legacy is that he has been able to cast himself as a “liberal” and a friend to the Black community while pursuing such harmful policies, which only makes clear the degree to which African American voters were locked within a detrimental two-party system.

Keywords:   Hillary Clinton, William Jefferson Clinton, Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), Black Lives Matter, Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, Welfare reform, Black community

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