When Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted Democratic presidential candidates, liberal Democrats hemmed and hawed. Why protest your political allies, many asked, rather than target your foes?
Protest is, at its core, designed to move policy. And today, for the vast majority of African Americans, the politicians in the best position to move policy for people of color, particularly at the local level, are Democrats. Democrats run most of the big cities where black people live, and they often lead the county and state prosecutors’ offices covering smaller, Republican-run cities like Ferguson, Missouri.
This last point highlights an anomaly that makes BLM protests of Democrats more logical than you might think at first blush. The fact is that the district attorneys who have made the decisions sparking some of the most vibrant outrage and protests have been Democrats. And that gives BLM potential leverage over those Democrats that it can never have over Republicans—if the movement figures out how to use it.