One of the most relentless critiques of #Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign was for her role in the 1996 crime bill that led to the incarceration of millions of people of color in America. Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow," a compelling examination of racial politics and jailing practices in America, wrote in The Nation that Hillary Clinton did not deserve the black vote, because the policies that she and her husband championed during his time in office decimated the black community, and their atonement is simply not commensurate with the damage caused.
The argument is that this new era of #Mass Incarceration has led to the relegation of black offenders to a second-class status eerily reminiscent of the Jim Crow Era of America, a period of history Americans are all too eager to forget.
The problems of gerrymandering, police brutality, and restrictive voter ID laws that black Americans fought tirelessly against have come back, in an aggressive but differently disguised package.
None of this is likely to get better under #Donald Trump.
Trump on Crime
On the campaign trail, Trump asked black Americans what they had to lose by voting for him. As many have noted, they stood to lose a lot. Trump billed himself as the "law and order candidate," an echo to President Richard Nixon, who said the exact same thing about himself. Not to mention that when Trump says "law and order," it is a dog-whistling technique to those who feel that some groups are given, as Ben Carson, HUD secretary, would put it, "extra rights."
In keeping with Nixon, it appears Trump would like to revive some of the classics from his administration, most notably the war on drugs. Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions has long abhorred marijuana, does not believe its proven medical benefits for patients, and is ordering his department to review existing marijuana policy.
It's not clear in what direction he will go with this, or what he will do about the wave of states pushing for the legalization of the drug. Some would like to see it at least taken down from Schedule 1, which marks it as equally damaging as heroin (it isn't).
It is safe to suspect that Obama's practices of federal prison visits, record commutations, and pushes to hold back on mandatory minimums if they don't truly match the crimes committed are over, as Sessions has noted that he views this, not as a political issue, but a moral one. And as we've seen with topics like abortion, people can dole out much more vengeful punishment against things they think are morally reprehensible than simply things we can disagree about politically.