The Left’s Next Big, Crazy Thing: Reparations 2024! (They’re Serious)
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22 Years Earlier, by Sam Francis: Real Reasons Reparations are Wrong...

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now running as an independent, but he hasn’t abandoned his Leftist roots. Last week, he endorsed “Reparations,” a massive wealth transfer to compensate today’s blacks for alleged damages inflicted by slavery, which was abolished nearly 160 years ago. This will inevitably alienate RFK Jr.’s conservative fans and indicates Reparations will play a big role in the 2024 election. But Democrats are worried about the lukewarm enthusiasm among black voters and RFK Jr.’s endorsement is only the latest sign that Biden may be forced to endorse the idea to bolster his re-election chances. Reparations are wildly unpopular, but the Left thinks it’s more important to pander to blacks than to ordinary white Americans. If you think this is nuts, remember gay marriage.

RFK Jr. announced his support for Reparations on October 18 in a broad platform overhaul headed “Racial Healing.“ He claims blacks still suffer in America and that this is due to the “unhealed legacy of racism in this country.” His steps to accomplish this include “Targeted Community Repair,” “prison reform,” “police reform,” and more money spent on schools, youth programs, and other things that the government already spends billions on.

The Targeted Community Repair plank is where RFK endorses Reparations: 

Communities that were specifically targeted for destruction need to be specifically targeted for repair. During Jim Crow, Black banks, businesses, hospitals, schools, and farms were targeted for destruction. Racists knew that without these, the Black community had no chance of building wealth. We must set federal dollars aside to rebuild Black infrastructure.

RFK claims Targeted Community Repair will not be exclusive for blacks, but “because there so many Black communities in need,” it will be primarily for them.

Significantly, however, Kennedy’s Reparations plan does not offer the direct cash payments that so many black activists demand. It’s instead a call for even more money to be spent on black communities. The fact the American government has done this for years with nothing to show for it apparently does not deter further attempts at the same failed strategy [RFK Jr. comes out in favor of Reparations, carving out lane to Biden’s left, by Diana Glebova, New York Post, October 18, 2023].

It is an interesting move for RFK to embrace such a position. His campaign so far has been designed to win over Republican voters. His stances against the COVID vaccine and Wokeness have attracted many conservatives. He also shows a level of common sense on immigration unheard of since the demise of the Blue Dog Democrats. But promising Reparations is a good way to alienate many of these conservative sympathizers.

A fellow third-party candidate running on the Green Party line, black academic Cornel West, is also promising Reparations to win over Leftist voters. But West, unlike RFK Jr., promises direct cash payments to blacks in his Reparations plan.

Polls show both West and RFK Jr. taking a chunk of votes away from Biden. A September poll found that without West, Biden would lead Trump 45 percent to 43 percent. But with West added to the mix, Biden’s support would drop to 42 percent. There’s a good reason that Democratic officials are working to keep West off the ballot [Biden eyes growing general election threat from Green Party’s Cornel West, by Susan Ferrechio, Washington Times, September 27, 2023].

A poll from last week shows RFK making a far bigger impact than West—and it appears RFK would hurt Biden more than Trump. In that three-way match, Trump would receive 39 percent, Biden 33 percent, and Kennedy 19 percent [Trump leads Biden, RFK Jr.: poll, by Caroline Vakil, The Hill, October 20, 2023].

The president and his party have a complicated relationship with the Reparations issue. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both demanded that the federal government “study” Reparations when they ran in 2020. But Biden has done little to advance the issue in the White House. He hasn’t issued an Executive Order to study the matter, nor has he pushed Congress to do anything. As Fox points out above, his black immigrant press secretary Karine Jean Pierre dodges questions about Reparations at press conferences.

This has irked black activists. ”We are the base of the Democratic Party, and Biden told us very early on not to expect much movement on Reparations,” one of them, Yvette Carnell, told Fox News last summer. ”That tells me he doesn’t take the Black vote seriously. He takes it for granted… It’s obvious to anyone watching that President Biden views the Black vote as a captured vote to which he doesn’t owe any exchange”  [Biden blowing off Black voters, Reparations activists say: the president ’needs to act’, by Aaron Kliegeman, Fox News, July 24, 2023].

Even without Biden’s support, some black lawmakers are pushing for Reparations. Missouri Rep. Cori Bush introduced a Reparations bill earlier this year. She continues to demand her fellow Democrats embrace her idea [Rep. Cori Bush marks Juneteenth with push for Reparations, by Nikole Killion, CBS, June 19, 2023].

And the Reparations issue doesn’t just offer an opening to Leftist third-party Presidential candidates. Biden may face a challenge within his own party from someone making this a centerpiece of their campaign. That person could very well be California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom, unlike Biden, got his state to study Reparations and actually offer recommendations on the matter.

But despite being an ardent supporter of the radical proposal, the California governor seemingly wasn’t thrilled with the recommendations from his state’s Reparations study. His cool response illustrates the core dilemma Reparation pose for Democrats [Gov. Gavin Newsom may regret pledges to Black Californians, by Dan Waters, CalMatters, September 12, 2023].

The major reason Democrats want Reparations: to reward their most loyal voters. Blacks overwhelmingly vote Blue and their turnout is critical to Democratic electoral victories. But recent elections have shown a marked decline in black turnout, as well as shifts among younger and rural blacks to other political options. Democratic strategists urge the party to offer more to blacks to get them to vote. One of those options is Reparations [Democrats keep getting new warning signs about Black voter support, by Steven Shepard, Politico, October 21, 2023].

But despite relentless media propaganda telling Americans that Reparations are needed, the vast majority of the public opposes this racial wealth redistribution scheme. Sixty-eight percent of Americans reject the idea. Even a plurality of Democrats opposes it, according to a 2022 Pew poll [Black and White Americans are far apart in their views of Reparations for slavery, by Carrie Blazina and Kiana Cox, Pew Research Center, November 28, 2022].

Reparations even has only lukewarm support in Newsom’s California. Fifty-nine percent of Californians oppose cash Reparations; just 23 percent support it [Most California voters oppose cash Reparations for slavery, poll find, by Adrian Florido, NPR, September 11, 2023]. The only group that is overwhelmingly in favor of Reparations: blacks, with 77 percent saying they favor them. Democrats risk losing other constituencies with this extreme idea.

This explains why Newsom, who was once so eager to tout Reparations, is now unenthused by the prospect of cash Reparations. He knows the majority of his deep Blue state doesn’t want to make direct payments to blacks.

Democrats also realize the massive financial cost of Reparations. Cori Bush estimates her Reparations bill will cost the U.S. $14 trillion. Some Democrats are wise enough to know our country can’t afford that [Reparations Are a Financial Quandary. For Democrats, They’re a Political One, Too, by Trip Gabriel et al., New York Times, May 27, 2023].

But Democrats won’t give up on Reparations. They know they can’t risk alienating black voters. Most of them will follow RFK Jr.’s path. Instead of calling it Reparations, Democrats will dub it “Community Repair.” It will offer just more money to black locales instead of giving them direct cash payments. It’s a more palatable way to sell it, but it will still be Reparations.

My prediction: expect to see Democrats make this part of their 2024 platform.

This offers an opportunity to Republicans. Tarring Democrats as the pro-Reparations party would give the GOP a serious advantage in 2024.

The problem (as usual): Republicans appear afraid to even bring this issue up. Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville made a strong speech against Reparations last year, saying it would take your money and give it to criminals. The audience cheered his denunciation, and he was of course called a racist in the press for this factual statement. [Alabama Sen. Tuberville equates descendants of enslaved people to criminals, by Juliana Kim, NPR, October 10, 2022]. And other Republicans squirmed over questions about Tuberville’s speech, showing they didn’t want to touch the issue [“I’m Not Going To Say He’s Being Racist”: Fellow Republican Defends Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s Reparations Remarks, by Kelly Rissman, Vanity Fair, October 9, 2022]. Once again, they’re too afraid of being accused of “racism” to stand up for the majority view.

It’s time for Republicans to get over their squishiness and follow Tuberville’s example. Trump won in 2016 by taking brave stances on immigration. The 2024 election will be decided by the GOP responding to the demographic threat in a bold manner. And, no matter how much Republicans want to ignore it, they will have to face the Reparations issue.

It should be a gift, rather than a curse, for them. All it will take is risking the wrath of the Ruling Class media to win over the public.

Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.

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