For years now, a quiet but powerful movement to roll back the excesses of the War on Drugs and the mass incarceration it helped spur has slowly made progress across the political and ideological landscape. A natural topic of interest for progressives, it's gained ground on the right thanks to a combination of Christian conservative prison-ministry pressure, libertarian hostility to hypercriminalization of nonviolent drug use, and concerns about the fiscal costs of mass incarceration. Republican support for reform has been critical not just for the obvious legislative reasons: It made the topic safe for Democrats who might otherwise fear the ancient backlash politics of law and order.Why exactly are some libertarians supporting Donald Trump?
At the beginning of the year, it looked like the first major federal legislation associated with criminal-justice reform might actually go somewhere. Legislation to relax mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses was reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee last October after chairman Chuck Grassley finally climbed onboard. And House Speaker Paul Ryan is on record favoring passage of reform legislation in this Congress.
But there are two separate sources of dissension rising rapidly among Republicans....backlash is being led by Donald Trump's best friend and closest adviser in Congress, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama....
"My best judgment after many, many years in law enforcement is that bottom on crime rates has been reached and the rise we're beginning to see is part of a long-term trend, not an aberration, and the last thing we need to do is a major reduction in penalties," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told reporters Wednesday.
Trump is expected to soon deliver a law and order policy speech that should be insightful.