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Bill Clinton Argues With Black Lives Matter Protesters Over Superpredator Comment

Hillary Clinton is the democratic front runner in an extremely competitive race for the presidential nomination against Bernie Sanders. Good ol’ Bill, former U.S. President, has been trying to help his wife on the campaign trail. However, he tends toward hurting the campaign more than helping it—which could have well been the case when he decided to address Black Lives Matter protesters this week.

On Thursday, Bill Clinton engaged in a pretty heated exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia. He not only defended his wife’s presidential bid, but he even went back to talking about his 1994 crime bill—one that intended to crack down on gangs, but managed to overload U.S. prisons, according to CNN.

This didn’t stop Clinton from talking about the 22-year-old bill, though. “Because of [crime] bill, we have a 25-year low in crime, a 30-year low in the murder rate, and…a 46-year low in deaths of lives by gun violence.” He didn’t mention this, but U.S. also has the highest prison population rate in the world.

Another one of Bill’s major issues was with a protester who held a sign saying, “Black youth are not superpredators.” This was in reference to when Hillary used the term in a 1996 speech at Keene State College in New Hampshire when she was supporting her husband’s 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, which disproportionately put people of color in prison. Since then, it’s been proven that there’s no such thing as a superpredator. Though you wouldn’t know that from Bill’s retort.

“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children…Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn’t,” Bill said, according to Esquire.

CNN reported that Clinton claimed to “love protesters.” He went on to clarify, saying “Here’s the thing. I like protesters, but the ones that won’t let you answer are afraid of the truth. That’s a simple rule.”

Despite his “love” for protesters, fighting with Black Lives Matter members was not the smartest move. African American support is an ever-important section of the Democratic base for candidates. It’s not a given that Bill’s clumsiness would affect Hillary’s favorability among black voters—she won nearly 90 percent of the black voters in Alabama and Arkansas, and more than 80 percent in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. However, Bill needs to remember one thing: this race is about Hillary, not him.

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins