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Here's All That Matters to Liberals When It Comes to Crime and Punishment

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File

The liberal uproar that ensued after former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was sentenced to a ‘mere’ 47 months in federal prison said more about their true nature than any of their shallow virtue signaling ever could. Because as it turns out, when it comes to criminal justice, liberals are far more about vengeance, forced ‘equality,’ sick sadism, and wielding the system as a bludgeon against their political enemies than they are about what is actually good for society.


I know. I know. Criminal justice and sentencing reform were issues compassionate liberals and conservatives alike were supposed to be able to come together on even in a time as divided as the Trump era. After all, didn’t we all just celebrate when President Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old African-American woman who had been given a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense? Weren’t we all supposed to agree that society doesn’t benefit when it locks away its non-violent offenders behind prison bars for draconian amounts of time?

Of course, by “non-violent,” liberals apparently mean drug dealers, not “white-collar crime.” But why? 

Could it have anything at all to do with that old-as-time liberal obsession- race? 

Consider the outrage that came from California Senator Kamala Harris after the Manafort sentence was announced:

“People who commit white-collar crimes, they should be prepared to bring their toothbrush and spend as much time behind bars as anybody else,” Harris - supposedly a proponent of criminal justice reform - said to enthusiastic applause at a South Carolina campaign stop last week. 

Politico reported:

The former prosecutor ripped into Manafort, bemoaning that someone “who’s committed fraud, who’s clearly been involved in crimes that should rightly be thought of as against the very being of who we are and what is in our collective best interest, gets off with 47 months” in prison, while others get harsher sentences for marijuana possession.


And then, we got down to what this is really all about:

According to Politico’s report, an audience member yelled that “white people” and “rich people” shouldn’t be exempt, to which the California senator replied: “Everyone should be treated equally under the law, no question. That’s right.”

“Bring your toothbrush,” because by golly if violent criminals have to go to jail for decades for, you know, murdering and raping people, you pencil pushers are gonna have to do do the SAME THING for the horrible paperwork crimes you commit.

Harris wasn’t alone, not by a long shot. Cory Booker is “ticked off” about Manafort’s supposed slap on the wrist. Fox News host Tucker Carlson said it perfectly on his Friday night show when he described Booker as the “phoniest person in Washington” before juxtaposing Booker’s leniency for fentanyl dealers with his thirst for “justice” when it comes to Manafort. 

“Cory Booker just got on the Senate floor hour after hour telling us that we’re racist for putting fentanyl dealers in prison and we need to have their sentences [reduced],” Carlson said. “He sponsored that bill. Now he’s telling us that Paul Manafort needs to spend the rest of his life in prison for tax evasion.”

And then there’s Van Jones, a man who’s been willing to go into the proverbial lion’s den and even take flak for it in order to work and dialogue with Republicans on criminal justice reform. Except, Jones is also outraged by Manafort’s “insulting” prison sentence. The CNN commentator said this during a CNN panel discussion Friday night:


The statistics just don’t lie here and it is really unfortunate. At every stage of our criminal justice system, if you are a person of color, you get worse treatment. Even when you control for income, even when you control for neighborhood, even when you control for educational attainment. African Americans and white Americans use drugs, illegal drugs in exactly the same rate. Study after study shows that. And yet, African Americans are six times more likely to go to prison for illegal drug use. Now you can come up with a lot of different explanations. It’s hard. If it’s 50 percent more or 20 percent more, 100 percent more. Six times more? That shows a systemic bias that we have to deal with and while this case is unusual, as Ken said because of the political nature of it, it is all too often the case that people who have all kinds of privilege, whether it is money, race, education, back ground, they wind up getting a better break.

Liberal leaning Politifact rated Jones’ claim on black and white drug use “mostly true” while acknowledging that drug use among blacks is still higher (for example, 11.3 percent in 2012 compared to 9.2 percent among whites) and that whites are more likely to “give up” illicit drug use over time.

Also from Politifact, on why blacks are caught more:

[Blacks] are more likely to get caught selling drugs, as Michael Tonry, professor of law at the University of Minnesota, told us back in February. "Whites are more likely to sell to people they know, and they much more often sell behind closed doors. Blacks sell to people they don't know and in public, which makes them vastly easier to arrest."

Blacks arrested for drugs are more likely to be sent to jail because they're more likely to have had a previous run-in with the law. Police tend to patrol high-crime areas more aggressively, which tend to be the poor areas, which have a higher proportion of minorities. Thus, they're more likely to be stopped for something and have a rap sheet once a drug charge comes along.


Given that, we can grant that there is somewhat of a racial disparity when it comes to people imprisoned for drugs and even call for a degree of leniency for people of all races when it comes to these non-violent offenses (assuming the people in prison for “simple” drug possession crimes didn’t plead down from something far worse, a practice that would have to end if society granted such leniency).

Most normal people can do that because we’re capable of feeling empathy for people of all races and we’re not raging psychopaths. Liberals, on the other hand, only want to help those who make mistakes when those who make the mistakes are the right color. Thus, minorities convicted of drug offenses deserve sympathy, but white (they believe) people convicted of “white collar crime” deserve to rot in prison for almost as long as a rapist.

That’s right, the average sentence for rape in the United States is 9.8 years, with the average amount of time rapists actually spends behind bars slightly over half that, at an absurd 5.4 years. With a 47 month federal sentence which doesn’t grant parole, Paul Manafort will serve around half a year less than the average rapist, and when more time is tacked to this for the other charges, he’ll likely serve much more. Do YOU feel safer?

To put this in perspective, Mueller’s team asked for Manafort to receive 24 years in prison, or, as Tucker Carlson noted, “twice what the average murderer spends behind bars.” Is this just? Is this fair? Not to normal people. Not to Judge Ellis. But to vengeful, race-obsessed liberals, four years in hell is just a slap on the wrist for white perpetrators of paperwork crimes. 


And then there are the very real racial disparities when it comes to the commission of violent crime in the United States. While we need always remember that the overwhelming majority of blacks are not criminals, that 52 percent of homicides are committed by 13 percent of the population is a fact that bears mentioning, however uncomfortable. Are white people somehow not being charged with all the murders they commit? No? Thus, in order to somehow ‘equalize’ the prison population liberals supposedly feel they have no choice but to go after what they apparently consider ‘white people crimes.’

In other words, it’s not that those crimes are actually as harmful to society as murder, rape, and other violent crimes, it’s that the wrong people are committing them. 

Who said justice was blind?

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