The Root went through and ranked all the Democratic Presidential candidates’ plans that address African Americans. Here are their criteria:
We asked policy experts, legal scholars and political pundits, all of whom were black, to help us devised a policy matrix. Then we graded each plan on a scale of 1 to 10 using the following criteria:
- Economics: Reparations, economic inequality, employment and housing are just a few of the issues we will examine.
- Criminal Justice: How do they handle the war on drugs, mass incarceration, bail reform, police brutality and sentencing disparities?
- Education: HBCU funding, student debt, K-12 funding, etc.
- Politics: Does it address issues of voting rights, gerrymandering and other political issues?
- Comprehensiveness: How detailed is it? Does it contain specific policy proposals?
- Blind spots: Are there important areas that aren’t addressed?
- Feasibility: What are the chances of the policies being enacted by legislation, executive action or internal policy? Does the candidate have the political skill to make their plan come true?
- History: What is the candidate’s history of dealing with black people? Has the candidate has displayed a willingness to address issues of race and inequality?
- Intentionality: Do we believe them or do they need more people? Can we objectively believe that the candidate will work for Black America? Is he or she pandering or do they have really have the will to make this a priority?
- Impact: If implemented, what impact would these policies have? How would the plan affect the problems it attempts to address?
If the candidate’s campaign literature doesn’t include a specific “black plan,” we examined their individual policy proposals to see what effect their plan would have on black America.
And guess who’s plan ranked number one:
1. Elizabeth Warren
Total Score: 79
Elizabeth Warren’s plan is called “A Working Agenda for Black America.”
- Economics: Look, no one is going to outshine Warren in this category. Her plans offer specifics complete with dollar amounts and budgetary offsets. She has entire separate sections on entrepreneurs of color and farmers of color. She backs reparations.
Economics score: 9
- Criminal Justice: Warren approaches criminal justice reform with compassion and logic. She does not have any new ideas but she outlines exactly how she wants to reform cash bail, sentencing, police brutality and drug legalization. She, along with Tom Steyer, both include mental health reform in their criminal justice plans.
Criminal Justice score: 7
- Education: Warren is a teacher, so it makes sense that her education plans are comprehensive. She separates K-12 education from college reform. However, her college plans focus primarily on student debt and not HBCU funding or college programs.
Education Score: 8
- Politics: Again, Warren offers specifics. She doesn’t just want to end voter purges, she wants to pass a law that bans removing people from voter rolls unless the voter affirmatively requests to be removed or there is objective evidence of a legitimate reason to remove them.” She wants voting machines to be approved statewide and on the federal level before they can be used in elections. She vows to use executive authority to prevent voter discrimination.
Politics Score: 8
- Comprehensiveness: Perhaps no candidate in history ever had a more detailed, comprehensive plan that Elizabeth Warren’s. Every single policy has a separate page explaining how she will accomplish it. She earned extra points for having an entire agenda for black women.
Comprehensiveness Score: 10
- Blind spots: Honestly, it is hard to find holes in Warren’s policies. She doesn’t address college admissions and she’s a little too nice to racist institutions. She points out discrimination but tries to correct it with “investments” instead of criminalizing the institutions for racist practices. Other than that, her plan is as at least as comprehensive as her competitors’.
Blind Spots Score: 7
- Feasibility: Warren’s plan is expensive AF. Unlike other candidates, she explains where she’ll get the money but her wealth tax will be difficult to pass. She does have a legislative history and the ability to explain her policies by breaking them down with compassion. She’s like a kindergarten teacher or a scientist speaking to Donald Trump.
Feasibility Score: 7
- History: Warren is the only candidate whose history isn’t marred by a problematic racial past. That whole Native American blunder might be irrelevant to most black people because we all have a cousin whose “good hair” comes from her “Indian roots.” She was a Republican until 1996.
History Score: 7
- Intentionality: It’s hard to argue that anything about Warren’s platform is performative because she has always displayed intention when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
Intentionality Score: 8
- Impact: Warren’s plan might not be the most impactful, but it is the most realistic plan. It is as progressive as Bernie Sanders’ but she bests him on actual policymaking. It also doesn’t rely on Sanders’ “rising tide lifts all boats” theory because it targets specific issues of race with precision.
Impact Score: 8
Just wanted to pass this along. Something to consider when you go to the polls on Super Tuesday. Click here to get involved with Warren’s campaign.