A Black problem in liberal Democrat rhetoric refers to a white Democratic party candidate's inability to relate to African American voters. Two examples from the 2016 presidential election and 2020 presidential election illustrate:
- 2016: John Podesta spoke of Hillary Rodham Clinton's "Eric Garner problem." Garner was a black man killed in police custody while in a choke hold in 2014. Podesta wrote, "we know we have an Eric Garner problem," getting Blacks to vote for Hillary Clinton in light of her Superpredator comments to "bring them to heal."
- 2020: Mayor Pete Buttigieg was criticized by David Axelrod, Marcia Fudge, Politico, The Daily Beast and others for having a "black problem." Buttigieg attempted a "Sister Souljah moment" when he left off the 2020 campaign trail to deal with a police shooting in his hometown, telling an emotional crowd of Black Lives Matter activists from a prepared script which he later posted on his website, "I'm not asking for your vote." A Sister Souljah moment in liberal parlance is defined as
- "a key moment when the candidate takes what at least appears to be a bold stand against certain extremes in their party" and as "a calculated denunciation of an extremist position or special interest group." Such an act of repudiation is designed to signal to centrist voters that the politician is not beholden to traditional, and sometimes unpopular, interest groups associated with the party."
The origins of the Democratic party's "black problem" can be traced back to Lyndon Johnson and the 1957 and 1964 Civil Rights Acts.
Republican Attorney General Herbert Brownell originally proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Democrat Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson had Judiciary chairman segregationist Sen. James Eastland drastically water-down the House version, removing stringent voting protection clauses. Eastland was a close friend of 2020 Democratic early frontrunner Joe Biden.The bill passed 285-126 in the House with Republicans providing the majority of votes 167–19 and Democrats 118–107. It then passed 72-18 in the Senate, with Republicans again supplying the majority of votes, 43–0 and Democrats voting 29–18. Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who later ran for president, voted against it. It was the first federal civil rights legislation passed by the United States Congress since the Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Johnson told Sen. Richard Russell,
"These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them, we'll lose the filibuster and there'll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It'll be Reconstruction all over again."The Democrats reversal on civil rights culminated with Johnson signing the bi-partisan Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he called "the N*gg*r Bill." In lobbying fellow Democrats, Johnson said,
"I'll have them n*gg*rs voting Democratic for two hundred years."Democrats tried to block passage by filibustering for 75 hours, including a 14-hour and 13-minute speech by the Exalted Cyclops, Sen. Robert Byrd, who later became Senate Democrat Leader in the Reagan era. The law was intended to block Republican gains in the South followed with buying off Blacks through Great Society welfare and affirmative action programs. According to LBJ biographer Robert Caro, Johnson told his chauffeur:
"Let me tell you one thing, n*gg*r. As long as you are black, and you’re gonna be black till the day you die, no one’s gonna call you by your g*dd*mn name. So no matter what you are called, n*gg*r, you just let it roll off your back like water, and you’ll make it. Just pretend you’re a g*dd*mn piece of furniture."
Under the Biden Crime Bill, more the 250,000 African Americans were imprisoned in the United States than under President Reagan, a fact for which both Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton took credit for. Hillary Clinton was at his side when Bill Clinton raised mandatory sentencing guidelines which disproportionately sent Blacks to prison, giving the United States the highest mass incarceration rate in the world. Biden and the Clinton's championed the “three strikes you're out” law, passed a crime bill that created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for more state prisons. By the time the Clinton's left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Human Rights Watch reported that in seven states, African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders even though they were no more likely than whites to use or sell illegal drugs. Prison admissions for drug offenses reached a level in 2000 for African Americans more than 26 times the level they had been under Ronald Reagan.
Cumulatively since the Biden Crime Bill passed, 2.5 million adult black males—more than 10% of the population—were incarcerated leaving untold damage on black families.
The Clinton's divisiveness and hate was targeted at a diverse group of people. Hillary Clinton publicly advocated treating minority youth like dogs, made mocking and offensive comments about Jews and retarded children. These sentiments were confirmed by Hillary's campaign chair, John Podesta, and her campaign manager, Robby Mook. According to all major, reputable sources, Hillary Clinton and/or her organization and its surrogates started the birther movement to discredit Barack Obama.
'Predators beyond the pale'In a 1993 Senate floor speech Biden warned of "predators on our streets" who were "beyond the pale" and said they must be cordoned off from the rest of society because the justice system did not know how to rehabilitate them. Biden described a
"cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally ... because they literally have not been socialized, they literally have not had an opportunity."Biden went on in the same breath,
"It doesn't matter whether or not the person that is accosting your son or daughter or my son or daughter, my wife, your husband, my mother, your parents, it doesn't matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth. It doesn't matter whether or not they had no background that enabled them to become socialized into the fabric of society. It doesn't matter whether or not they're the victims of society. The end result is they're about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons."Biden said, that he didn't care "why someone is a malefactor in society" and that criminals needed to be "away from my mother, your husband, our families." Biden added "we should focus on them now" because "if we don't, they will, or a portion of them, will become the predators 15 years from now."
Biden's 1993 "predator" remarks are similar to comments then made by first lady Hillary Clinton where she warned of "Superpredators" who had "no conscience, no empathy" and who need to be brought "to heel."
- Vennochi, Joan (September 16, 2007). Sister Souljah moments. The Boston Globe.
- Caro, Robert, Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Chapter 39
- HR 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957. PASSED. YEA SUPPORTS PRESIDENT'S POSITION. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/85-1957/h42
- HR. 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957. PASSED. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/85-1957/s75
- Said to Senator Richard Russell, Jr. (D-GA) regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1957. As quoted in Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1977), by Doris Kearns Goodwin, New York: New American Library, p. 155.
- Said to two governors regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to then-Air Force One steward Robert MacMillan as quoted in Inside the White House (1996), by Ronald Kessler, New York: Simon and Schuster, p. 33.
- Sen. Theodore Bilbo, whom Byrd swore his Klan oath to, said in 1949 on Meet the Press, "Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux."
- The Clintons’ War on Drugs: When Black Lives Didn’t Matter, By Donna Murch, The New Republic, February 9, 2016
- Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote, Michelle Alexander, The Nation, February 10, 2016
- Hillary Clinton on "Superpredators", Mrs. Clinton Campaign Speech Keene State University, January 25, 1996. youtube.com