Sunday, May 03, 2015

sistah sold-yah is 360 degrees of EE-ville personified....,



theatlantic |  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when crime rates hit their peak, the issue enjoyed a salience in American politics that is hard to comprehend today. And for Democrats, the consequences of appearing soft were devastating. In 1988, the George H.W. Bush campaign’s most effective (and notorious) ad slammed Michael Dukakis for furloughing murderers in Massachusetts. (A separate ad, by a pro-Bush PAC, made African American furloughed murderer Willie Horton a household name).

The most important moment in that year’s debates came when Dukakis, after being asked how he would react if his wife was raped and murdered, gave a bloodless, and politically catastrophic, answer. In January 1994, 37 percent of Americans said crime was the most important issue facing the country. And that fall, Mario Cuomo lost the governorship of New York State to a little-known Republican, George Pataki, who had made Cuomo’s opposition to the death penalty central to his campaign.

In 1992, Bill Clinton faced a far tougher electorate than Hillary will this time around. African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, who constituted almost 25 percent of the voters in 2012, and Millennials, who also lean disproportionately left on cultural issues, were either in school or in diapers. There’s a reason Clinton reminded voters that year that his nickname was “Bubba.” It’s because in 1992, far more than today, a Democrat who didn’t appeal to Bubbas couldn’t win. And in 1992, being “tough on crime” was critical to getting most Bubbas to give a Democrat a second look.
Was electing Bill Clinton worth it? It’s the kind of question that separates reformist, “pragmatic” progressives from their more revolutionary, anti-establishment brethren. It can’t be answered empirically. It depends on your worldview.