As the demographics in this country shift away from white people, the younger generations are also coming to dominate the population. According to a Brookings Institution report, people under 40 are 50.7 percent of the population as of July 2019. So what does this mean for serious criminal justice reform? Nothing…yet.
These younger generations are starting to make inroads into governmental and business organizations, leading to a subtle, steady shift in the culture of these institutions. It is my hope that these cracks in the dam of old thinking eventually lead to a flood of changes in the criminal justice system. But first, they need to replace the old guard politicians.
In the state of Virginia– where I’m locked up– what is stopping serious criminal justice reform legislation is two factors: first, nearly unified Republican opposition and, second, a small but influential group of Bill Clinton Democrats. These Democrats support the tough on crime agenda and, if they are not already, should be called LINOs– Liberals In Name Only. They can’t just seem to end their love affair with the 1994 crime bill. So what I propose is a forced break-up. Here’s how:
First, you need to identify these LINOs and find out what district they represent. A LINO can be identified by their voting record on things like restoring parole or increasing earned good time credits.
Second, put forth young, diverse candidates that the under-40 crowd can go for. It is important to note that half of the younger population described in the Brookings report identify as an ethnic or racial minority. A fresh face might galvanize them to vote where they might otherwise stay home.
Finally, replace the Bill Clinton Democrats in the primary. Remember, a lot of these politicians are in “safe” districts, so the primary is where the real choice is made.
Now, this may take a couple election cycles. And we may have a couple of setbacks where we find self-described liberals are taking money from the prison industry (bastards). But eventually the dam will burst and prisons will close.
So, in closing, we learned two things…
One: Get rid of the old guard politicians.
And Two: LINO rhymes with wino.