by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“It’s 2022 and we are celebrating policy victories across the nation: Medicare for All and Free College, and next on the agenda is Reparations,” read a flyer distributed at the secretive Democracy Alliance donor conference last April, outlining a dream agenda they hoped the party could embrace by 2022.
Eight months later, things appear to be moving ahead of schedule.
Both universal healthcare and free college, considered outlandish by even Democrats when Bernie Sanders proposed them in 2016, are already supported by a majority of the party’s 2020 candidates.
The idea of race-based government reparations—a proposal opposed by both Sanders and former president Barack Obama—is now being embraced by 2020 frontrunners Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
Harris, asked during an interview last week whether she supports “some form of reparations for black people,” said she did.
“We have to be honest that people in this country do not start from the same place or have access to the same opportunities,” Harris said. “I’m serious about taking an approach that would change policies and structures and make real investments in black communities.”
Not to be outpaced, Warren came out this week in favor of reparations, saying there need to be “systemic, structural changes” to address “the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country.”
The New York Times says the embrace of reparations by Harris and Warren “signals just how quickly prominent Democrats have expanded their political imagination after decades of dominance by the Clintons and Mr. Obama.”