Speaking at a historically black university, potential Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren delivered what she called “the hard truth about our criminal justice system: It’s racist … I mean front to back,” reports the Associated Press. The Massachusetts senator identified some of the system’s failures: disproportionate arrests of African-Americans for petty drug possession; an overloaded public defender system; and state laws that keep convicted felons from voting even after their sentences are complete. Warren was participating in a Q&A session Friday hosted by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond at the historically black Dillard University in New Orleans.
The stop is the latest sign of Warren’s effort to forge ties beyond her largely white political base in Massachusetts and avoid the fate of fellow progressive icon Bernie Sanders, who struggled to win over African-Americans during his failed bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Facing re-election to the Senate this year, Warren did not directly address her 2020 plans. But when Richmond asked her what might have changed since she decided not to run in 2016, the senator was ready. “Two words: Donald Trump,” Warren said, before shifting to warn the audience that the November midterm vote is the immediate fight as Democrats try to break GOP control of Congress.