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July 25, 2016

How much (and what kind of) criminal justice reform talk can we expect to hear at the DNC?

I am going to be off-line much of today, and thus I am genuinely interested in having folks spend the day discussion what I see as the most interesting criminal justice reform question for this work-week.  I was not too surprised that we heard relatively little criminal justice reform discussion at the RNC last week, although arguably the emphasis by GOP Prez nominee Donald Trump on being the "law and order" candidate was an indication that the new GOP leader is inclined to get Republicans back to "tough-and-tougher" rhetoric and realities.

Meanwhile, Democratic Prez nominee Hillary Clinton seems likely to be eager to reach out (and motivate) voters interesting in significant sentencing (and police and marijuana) reforms, and these topics even were addressed this past weekend when she officially announced her VP pick Tim Kaine.  Consequently, I am expecting to hear a lot more express and significant reform talk at the DNC than at the RNC.  But how much, and what will be the main focus and more-frequent "talking points"?

In addition to hoping many folks will respond to this post with predictions about what we will hear at the DNC, I would also love to see folks explain just what they are hoping to hear.  So if you could, for example, script two of three sentences that would be in the speech to be given by Clinton or Kaine or others, what would they be?

A few recent related posts:

July 25, 2016 at 11:26 AM | Permalink


You will hear more about criminal justice issues (which were pretty much ignored at the Republican convention other than implying that immigrants are a major cause of the crime problem and erroneously suggesting that the crime rate has significantly increased over the last eight years). You have a whole segment featuring relatives of those on the receiving end of police use of force (some of which were justified uses of force). Additionally, I can think of several speakers who are likely to mention it. While it might feature in the Kaine and Clinton speeches, however, it will not be the centerpiece of the convention.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 25, 2016 3:06:23 PM

Well, given that the idiot mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who ordered Baltimore cops to stand down and said that people would get space to destroy property (which apparently, included trashing cars with occupants inside), I think that choice of speakers sends a powerful message.

'rats just can't help it.

Curious your thoughts, Doug, on the appropriateness of the Rawlings-Blake choice.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 25, 2016 6:32:21 PM

I think, federalist, that the Dems realize they might lose the White House without a large turn-out from minority voters, and I surmise the choice of DNC speakers reflects an effort to energize and excite these voters. I do not know if Rawlings-Blake will do this, but I do know that Dems need to worry about Maryland in 2016 after the results in 2014.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 25, 2016 9:07:50 PM

well, there you are Doug---dumb mayor of Baltimore signals that rioters can assault cops, destroy property and harm innocent people, and it's chill if it panders to minority voters

Posted by: federalist | Jul 25, 2016 10:56:00 PM

My sense, Doug, is that you wouldn't be so chill if rioters who got that sort of signal jumped up and down on a car that your kids were driving.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 26, 2016 10:13:28 AM

The discussion of Rawlings-Blake is misplaced. She did not give a formal speech. Instead, she served as temporary chair. By way of background, Rawlings-Blake has been Secretary of the DNC since 2013. When Wasserman-Schultz had to step down at the last second, she was next in line to serve as temporary chair until the election of the permanent chair. (I don't think any Democrat is particular concerned about Maryland. Other than the race for governor, the Democrats held their own in Maryland in 2014 and it is well down on any list of Republican targets in 2016.)

Posted by: tmm | Jul 26, 2016 2:23:57 PM

Why, tmm, is it misplaced? Ms. Rawlings-Blake had this to say: "It's a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate." So basically, you have a high up official at the DNC who has a formal role at the convention who by words and deeds gave succor to lawless thugs who destroyed property, assaulted cops and civilians. Shameless pandering of the worst sort. And given what's happened recently, her words (and deeds) have been shown to have been misguided and absolutely appalling. Dems OWN that.

I get that Democrats (and their press allies) love to hide the ball on just how loopy they are. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is a face of the Democratic party. Why, tmm, so you want to obfuscate that? Her comments and actions were indefensible (apparently, you're ok with everyday citizens being accosted in their cars--can you imagine how scary that is), and there she is with a place of honor at the DNC.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 26, 2016 3:19:06 PM

Accuracy is not obsfucation. My statements accurately described how Rawlins-Blake became temporary chair of the convention -- which was only a choice in the sense that the party leadership finally decided to dump Wasserman-Schultz (something that both candidates had been asking for since last November). If the party had dumped Wasserman-Schultz earlier, somebody other than Rawlins-Blake would have been temporary chair. If you want to complain about the DNC not deciding to dump Rawley-Blake this year, complain about that. But it was not as if she was picked to be a "speaker" at the convention.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 26, 2016 5:34:07 PM

For the record, federalist, I try pretty hard at being as "chill" as possible in most settings.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 26, 2016 9:47:30 PM

tmm, you're playing games. The point is that the DNC knows who she is and what she has said, and yet puts her in front of the audience. IF we had a non-lapdog press, there would be a political price to pay for that. Be that as it may, she said what she said, and the national party didn't cut her loose. There are legitimate conclusions to be drawn from that.

I know you guys like hiding how loopy you are.

As for Doug, this is what I find interesting--you will argue that people like Ernest Spiller deserve freedom and vociferously so, but you have nothing to say about Rawlings-Blake--a woman whose words and deeds got people hurt.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 27, 2016 10:37:23 AM

federalist, I want and advocate for all people to have as much freedom as possible in the US so that my nation lives up to its repeated claim of being the "land of the free." Because I am not a retributivist, I generally do not believe anyone "deserves freedom" or really deserves anything else. As a consequentialist who sees freedom of the individual and of a society as essential to effective human flourishing, I argue that deprivations of freedom should be a last resort by government.

That said, because public safety can general enhance individual freedom, I do seek to criticize those who harm public safety. Ergo my repeated complains about drunk drivers -- who seem to me on par with the likes of Rawlings-Blake, whose statement was reckless with respect to public safety. I have lots and lots of thoughts about how recklessley and poorly matters were handles by many public officials (local, state and federal) in Feguson and Baltimore and other cities in which riots broke out after high-profile police encounters, but my thoughts on that front take me far afield from the sentencing issues that I try to keep as the focal point of this blog.

You frequently, federalist, complain that others do not criticize dem officials/judges the way you want to criticize them. But that always strikes me as a weak and unproductive way to have a productive conversation.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 29, 2016 9:32:59 AM

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