Q68: We are seeing a rise in racism, white supremacy, xenophobia and hate crimes in the U.S. against people of color, immigrants, Muslim and Jewish people. What is
your plan to address the rise in hate crimes and racism in this country?
Biden: We need a comprehensive approach to battling racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism that takes seriously both the violence that accompanies it, and the hateful and dangerous lies that undergird it. Sadly, this hate takes many different forms and cuts across ideology, political party, group, and nation. So we must remain vigilant and speak out every time we see the persistent evil of anti-Semitism rear its ugly head. It’s incumbent on all of us to stand against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, or who seek to scare and divide us for political gain. Silence is complicity, so we must speak out–every time. We must call hate by its proper name and condemn it.
We must also address the extremist, white supremacist violence that has sparked so much bloodshed, especially with Trump fanning the flames of hatred and hollowing out resources we put in place during the Obama-Biden Administration to address domestic extremism. I’ll restore that funding and work to pass a federal domestic terrorism law. We can craft legislation that respects free speech and civil liberties, while making the same commitment as a nation to root out domestic terrorism as we have to stopping international terrorism. We must appoint leadership at the U.S. Department of Justice who will prioritize the prosecution of hate crimes — making clear that there is no place for such vitriol in this country.
And, we must break the nexus between extremism and gun violence by enacting sensible gun control laws. As president, I’ll make sure assault weapons and high capacity magazines are banned again, and we’ll put in place a buy-back program to get as many of these weapons of war as possible off our streets. I will enact legislation prohibiting an individual “who has been convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanor because of hate or bias in its commission” from purchasing or possessing a firearm.
Bloomberg: Mike believes that combating hate-driven violence is a national-security priority. He believes that federal law-enforcement and homeland-security agencies should treat the threat posed by violent, far-right extremists as domestic terrorism.
Mike would make hate-crimes a top priority for the FBI, and increase funding for the FBI’s Civil Rights program and reinvigorate the Office of Community Partnerships. President Trump cut funding for the Office of Community Partnerships, which provided funding to help local areas stem white nationalism, from $21 million to $3 million.
Mike will work with Congress to improve the government’s ability to collect more reliable data on hate crimes and domestic terrorism and evaluate whether resources are being spent wisely to combat the threat. He will also establish a single point-of-contact within the DOJ for places of worship to speak to in order to facilitate and improve communication.
Buttigeig: Yes. Today, America is under attack from homegrown white nationalist terror — facilitated by an unchecked corporate gun lobby. That is why I have put together an action plan to combat the threat posed by hate and the gun lobby. This includes a proposal to dedicate $1 bill to combat white supremacy and radical extremism to ensure that law enforcement across all agencies and all levels have sufficient resources to counter the growing tide of white nationalist violence. I also have pledged to vigorously enforce the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, so that hate crimes are prioritized.
De La Fuente: Yes. We must work to prevent violent extremism in local communities throughout the country by implementing partnerships with parents, local officials and deradicalized former extremists to provide expertise and knowledge of how we, as a society, can look for the signs (often online) of indoctrination of our youngest children by extremists. At the same time, we must support efforts to promote intervention programs organized by former extremists with current extremists in partnerships with local communities.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar will prioritize combating domestic terrorism and empower law enforcement to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of hate-motivated violence, including against minorities, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. She will also push to make lynching a federal hate crime. Read more about Senator Klobuchar on combating hate and domestic terrorism here: https://medium.com/@AmyforAmerica/turning-ideas-into- action-senator-klobuchar-on-combating-hate-b2cc6a985aed
Sanders: We have got to come together as a nation and combat the rise of violent white supremacist extremism. That means redirecting federal resources to address this threat to our national security. Incredibly, the Trump administration has spent limited federal law enforcement dollars caging immigrant children while cutting funding from initiatives designed to fight the growing influence of white nationalist propaganda and violence. As hate crimes and hostility toward minorities surge, now more than ever we must stand against those who threaten our brothers and sisters. As President, Bernie will investigate every murder of trans individuals as a federal hate crime.
We must speak out against hate crimes and violence targeted at communities. We have got to remove weapons of war from the hands of these extremists. In Dayton, reports are that the shooter was able to kill or wound over 30 people in a minute. Fortunately, the police were almost immediately on the scene and through effective action were able to prevent an even greater tragedy.
Our First Amendment allows anyone to hold any view they want — even hateful and repugnant ones. But it does not permit carrying out acts of treason against our country. And that’s what these attacks are. Nor does it or should it shield the online platforms from responsibility where the owners knowingly allow these violent extremists to plot and plan attacks on our people.
We need leadership in this country that is unequivocal in condemning violence and hatred. Instead, we have a president who actively demonizes racial and religious minorities, who coddles Nazis and Klansmen, and who wields white supremacy as a political weapon. Racism, religious bigotry, homophobia and xenophobia are not new. They have been with us since the founding of the country. But having a modern American president so actively promote hatred is new and must not be accepted.
Steyer: Yes. Hate has no place in our country and I call on all Americans to speak out and denounce this disturbing trend in our society—we owe it to victims and their families. I will fight to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act and Disarm Hate Act, fund DHS programs on domestic terrorism, including groups designated as white supremacists, and issue an annual public report on domestic terrorism. We must continue to prove that love WILL conquer hate in this country.
Warren: Yes. White supremacy is completely incompatible with American values. But in 2018, the FBI logged over 7,000 hate crimes, more than half of which were motivated by race. These crimes could and should have been prevented. In a Warren administration, we will use every tool we have to defeat domestic right-wing terrorism and white supremacy. That means making the prosecution and investigation of white nationalist violence a top priority for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. It means keeping guns away from those at risk of violence by expanding background checks, passing extreme risk protection laws, and preventing hate-inspired criminals from owning guns. And it means enacting police reform that would end racially discriminatory policing, separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement, and restricting qualified immunity to hold police officers accountable. We must also ensure that victims of white supremacy have access to the support they need. I’ll invest in researching the public health effects of white nationalist violence and funding evidence-based programs for victims’ services, trauma-informed care, and restorative justice programs. You can read my full plan to combat white nationalist violence here: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/confronting-white-nationalism