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Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on CNN this week and talked about an issue that few Republicans dare to discuss: Racism.

Rubio (R-FL) said he understands the challenges facing young Black men in America such as racial profiling and the steady, unjust confrontations between Black men and police.

But Rubio still doesn’t get it.

He clearly missed the point about how to address — and eradicate — systemic racism in America: He believes the only the way to eliminate racism is to repair troubled schools and broken homes — instead of also supporting criminal justice reform.

Rubio is just like his fellow Republican candidates: He talks about racism in general terms, but he doesn’t offer any substantial policies that would help rid the country of racist practices that disproportionately impact African-Americans.

“There are communities in this country where minority communities and the police department have a terrible relationship,” Rubio, a Cuban-American, said this week during a town hall in South Carolina.

“I personally know someone who happens to be a police officer and a young African-American male, who told me that he’s been pulled over seven, eight times in the last few years and never gets a ticket,” Rubio said. “What is he supposed to think? He gets pulled over, never gets a ticket. No one has any explanation. What is he supposed to think?

“Whether you agree with them or not, I happen to have seen this happen,” Rubio said. “Whether you agree or not, if a significant percentage of the American family believes that they are being treated differently than everyone else, we have a problem, and we have to address it as a society and as a country.”

Yes, government should fix failing schools, but the criminal justice system needs to be completely overhauled.

In fact, Rubio is on the wrong side of the issue according to a new poll that shows more than 60 percent of voters in key battleground states of Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and Nevada feel federal prisons are packed with too many nonviolent offenders.

And more than 70 percent of voters in those states feel the criminal justice system should be “rehabilitating criminals to become productive, law-abiding citizens.”

Why wouldn’t Rubio embrace this concept? Because Rubio, like many Republicans, are long on talk and short on substance.

And let’s be clear: Rubio, who was speaking at a CNN town hall in South Carolina, was responding to a voter’s question about systemic racism — he didn’t volunteer to discuss the issue and he doesn’t talk about much about racism on the campaign trail.

“One reason you see educational and academic underperformance, not just in the African-American community, but in the Hispanic community, is because a disproportionate number of our children are growing up in broken homes in dangerous neighborhoods, living in substandard housing and forced by the government to attend a failing school,” he said. “They’re going to struggle to succeed unless something breaks that cycle.”

Like many Republicans, Rubio tells us what we already know: Racism exists. What he doesn’t offer is a detailed plan to address the faulty systems and institutions which perpetuate it, leaving African-American voters left to wonder if Rubio could truly be a president for all Americans.

What do you think?

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