Ever in search of benefits to hand leftist constituencies, Democrats have decided to give goodies to their most natural constituency of all: criminals. According to the Associated Press, President Obama will announce executive orders Monday attempting to prevent screening for prior criminality in government hiring.
The so-called “ban the box” program would prevent government agencies from asking about criminal history until later in the interview process. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Loonbag), and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley have all joined Obama in calling for banning “the box” – meaning the check box for criminal conviction. Obama also wants to prevent public housing from hindering the ability for convicted criminals to gain access to subsidies.
So, in short, we all get to hire unhireable employees with criminal backgrounds, and subsidize those who wouldn’t be able to find housing because they have committed crimes.
All of this merely represents the latest in a string of attempts by Democrats to reach out to those at odds with law enforcement. Last summer, Obama visited a federal prison, where he told prisoners that as a former user of both marijuana and cocaine, he could have ended up in prison, too. “These are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from mistakes I made,” Obama said. “The difference is they did not have the support structure, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive these mistakes.”
Actually, the difference is that Obama didn’t get caught, tried, and convicted. And while Obama finds pandering to convicted criminals cute, those who live in the neighborhoods such drug dealers destroy might find it less endearing.
Meanwhile, just days ago, Hillary Clinton said she would sign a law that would ban racial profiling. She did not explain how the legal standard of “racial profiling” would be proved, thus placing every arrest of a person of color at risk of potential legal liability. She also said she would use executive action to destroy sentencing differentials between crack and powder cocaine, despite the fact that crack cocaine and powder cocaine use differs widely, and that black legislators originally sought the sentencing differential to rid drug-ravaged inner cities of the crack scourge. The same day, Clinton – demonstrating her own belief that crime and ethnicity are inherently tied – launched African Americans for Hillary at Clark Atlanta University after lunching with vicious Jesse Jackson. “We have to create those channels of opportunity so that we go from childhood to adulthood pursuing your dreams, instead of cradle to prison and seeing them die,” she intoned.
This weekend, Obama echoed that message. “I believe we can disrupt the pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails,” he said in his weekly address. “I believe we can address the disparities in the application of criminal justice, from arrest rates to sentencing to incarceration.”
Obama did not explain how school funding leads people to become criminals, because there is no information suggesting that it does. Nor did he present statistics showing systemic bias against people of color in the criminal justice system as opposed to white people with the same criminal histories and same crimes. And he certainly didn’t discuss the Welfare-driven collapse of the black family, which has contributed to criminality in the black community more than any other single factor.
No, he pandered, just as he has over and over again with regard to anti-police militancy. Obama’s pattern is simple: the police are always wrong at first glance, and even if they’re not wrong based on the eventually revealed fact pattern, their innocence is an outlier. After all, Obama is fond of saying, black Americans aren’t “making up” issues with law enforcement.
It’s no wonder that crime rates are rising for the first time in decades in major Democrat-governed cities across the country. Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis, New York, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Chicago – all have seen crime rates surge, including violent crime rates. All of this led local leaders to descend on Washington, D.C., last month to discuss the problem with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who admitted to the “devastating effects of crime across the country.” Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said, “We cannot avert our gaze from the fact that police in cities feel like they are not being supported by the federal government. Right now, officers feel like they are being defined by everything they are working against.”
What did Lynch say? According to USA Today:
She referred to the federal government’s commitment to assist the re-entry of newly-released offenders back to their communities and a recent expansion of the federal violence reduction network, designed to provide crime-plagued communities with increased access to existing federal investigative resources.
In other words, give criminals an easier ride. Make sure they exit prison more easily. Ensure that government accept those the private sector will not, turning government employment into a de facto unemployment check for criminals.
Recidivism rates in America remain incredibly high. The Bureau of Justice Statistics currently pegs the recidivism rates at 68 percent within three years and 77 percent within five years; non-violent offenders end up arrested again even more often. President Obama and his Democratic allies say that benefits must be given to ex-cons because, otherwise, they will be forced back into crime. But recidivism rates show that criminals tend to fall back into crime because they are criminals; the easiest way to avoid falling into a life of crime is to avoid falling into a life of crime. But the left won’t do anything about that.
If all of this seems cynical – deliberately undercutting police efforts, increasing crime rates, and redistributing from the law-abiding to criminals – that’s because it is. The real rationale for the new push for “criminal justice reform” by the left is simple: more Democrat voters. In July, Obama stated, “If folks have served their time, and they’ve re-entered society, they should be able to vote.” And according to the Department of Justice, more than 650,000 people are released from prison each year. That number will rise as Obama lets people out of prison early. All of these people are of the age of majority, and virtually all would vote Democrat. So, presumably, would their families members. That’s a hefty chunk of votes.
Those who pay are the law-abiding, the decent. They’re an obstacle to President Obama’s agenda. And it won’t be long before President Obama comes looking for more help from them, as always.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News, Editor-in-Chief of DailyWire.com, and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.