And in the opening statements no less! Bernie Sanders, who went first in Thursday’s PBS debate, introduced a new criminal justice plug in his usual rigged-economy stump speech. Hillary Clinton did him one better, mentioning immigration reform, as well.
Later on, in an impassioned segment on criminal justice, Sanders said, “Any police officer who breaks the law will in fact be held accountable.” Meanwhile, Clinton brought up Dontre Hamilton, a local killed in Milkwaukee after being shot multiple times by police. Clinton added, “When we talk about criminal justice reform and ending the age of mass incarceration, we also have to talk about jobs, housing, education.”
Through the first five Democratic debates, we’ve heard precious little about voter suppression, broken windows policing, drug sentencing, carceral policy, welfare, environmental racism, poverty, and other issues that disprortionately affect black and Latino communities. Now that we’re out of Iowa and New Hampshire, and black and Latino voters are suddenly much more relevant—even vital—the priorities appear to have shifted.