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VICTOR JOECKS: Democrat primary voters are closet racists

According to the standard promulgated for years by Democrat politicians, the party’s primary voters are racially discriminating against minority candidates.

In 2014, the Department of Education under President Barack Obama gave schools new guidance on discipline. Previously, the department looked for evidence of different treatment based on race to determine whether a school had violated the Civil Rights Act. But the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleague” letter asserted that it was evidence of discrimination if racially neutral policies resulted in the punishment of a disproportionate number of minority students.

Imagine, for instance, that a school suspended students for fighting. If 10 percent of the school’s students were African-American, but 25 percent of those suspended for fighting were black, the department took that as potential evidence of discrimination. That’s called a disparate impact. Schools couldn’t defend themselves by showing that 25 percent of the students fighting were African-American.

Keep that standard in mind and fast forward to the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

There are a number of minority hopefuls seeking the nomination. Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are both African-Americans. Former Cabinet secretary Julián Castro is Latino. Businessman Andrew Yang is Asian. Minorities make up 38 percent of the Democratic Party, according to a Gallup survey.

But minority candidates are not performing well in the polls. In the Real Clear Politics polling average, Harris has 3.5 percent support. Yang is at 2.8 percent. Booker is under 2 percent. Castro is just above half a percent. In total, minority candidates have 8.8 percent support.

That’s one-fourth of the support they should have, according to the standard set by the Obama administration. Under that logic, however, the poll numbers offer de facto evidence that Democrat primary voters are discriminating based on race, which would make them racists.

There is, of course, an alternative explanation: The mere existence of a disparate impact isn’t sufficient evidence of discrimination. Democrat primary voters are making individual determinations about their favorite candidate. It’s not racism causing African-American voters to favor Joe Biden. It isn’t discrimination that made Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, herself a minority, endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders, an old, white guy.

Bring it back to school discipline. Before Obama’s letter, which Education Secretary Betsy Devos withdrew last year, black students were three times as likely to be suspended as white students. That statistic, however, wasn’t adjusted for other pertinent factors. Around 70 percent of African-American babies are born out of wedlock. The rate is 28 percent for white children. Children raised by single mothers are more likely to be poor and engage in risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use. Just adjusting for that one factor would have shown how bogus this whole concept is.

Democrats should ditch the idea that disparate impacts prove discrimination. Otherwise, they should decline to vote in an effort to attack racism.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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