From Nathan J. Robinson, editor of Current Affairs, writing for Jacobin on the great harms done by Bill Clinton’s to African Americans:
Throughout his presidency, Clinton’s actual actions on issues relevant to black Americans were at odds with his repeated rhetorical commitments to civil rights and racial equality. Clinton presided over a massive continuing expansion of the American prison system, escalated the War on Drugs, and made it easier to administer the death penalty while opposing an effort by black legislators to prohibit racially biased capital punishment.
In social policy, Clinton campaigned on a plan to end the welfare system, and successfully did so, promoting, passing, and signing an act that all but eliminated government financial support for poor families. And Clinton’s deregulation of the financial system laid the foundation for the disastrous economic crisis that would wipe out black wealth a few years after he left office.
In fact, when Bill Clinton’s actions, rather than his words, are scrutinized closely, they reveal a record far more damaging to black interests than that of even many Republican presidents.
George W. Bush, for all his atrocities abroad, never signed any law that inflicted the kind of harm that Clinton’s crime and welfare policies did. As Michelle Alexander has observed, Clinton escalated the “war on drugs” “beyond what many conservatives had imagined possible … ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did.”
Historian Christopher Brian Booker refers to Clinton’s “central role in the incarceration binge in the black community,” and Charles Ogletree has called it “shocking and regrettable that more African Americans were incarcerated on Bill Clinton’s watch than any other president’s in the history of the United States.”