Democrats Brace For ‘Defund The Police’ Movement To Damage Party Into Midterms
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and several other high-profile incidents between black Americans and police, calls rang out across the country to defund the police – a movement which Democratic lawmakers largely supported.
Yet, after several cities did just that, crime rates soared, and demoralized cops quit or retired early after what seemed like half of the country vilified them – leaving police forces spread thin as BLM and Antifa riots led to widespread looting, arson, and property damage throughout the country.
And while the Democrats won both the White House and retook the Senate in the 2020 election, the impact of defunding the police took its toll, contributing to their very narrow majorities in both chambers.
Democrats lost seats in the House and lost Senate races in states where they thought they had a chance, including North Carolina and Montana. At least some officials blame those losses on the defund the police debate.
Republicans believe the defund the police narrative is a political gift they can use again to win over swing voters and to energize their own political base. -The Hill
Now, with the George Floyd trial in full swing – and the very real possibility that former officer Derek Chauvin will be acquitted of his murder – as well as brewing protests over the recent Minneapolis shooting death of a 20-year-old black suspect by a white female officer who says she meant to grab her Taser, moderate Democrats are bracing for another round of calls to defund the police, and the violence which is sure to follow.
And while the far-left contingent in Congress openly supports defunding the police – such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who says she’s “done with those who condone government funded murder,” moderate Dems realize this may come back to bite them during the 2022 midterm elections.
It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.
Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder.
No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 12, 2021
Via The Hill:
But while most Democrats share the outrage over the deaths of Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor and a seemingly ever-growing list of Black Americans killed by police, they diverge sharply over whether defunding the police is the solution — or simply a phrase that will cost Democrats elections and leave them without the power to foment change.
“I mean, this defund the police was just a terrible drag on the Democratic Party. It really was. Don’t kid yourself,” veteran Democratic strategist James Carville told Bill Kristol in an interview for the Weekly Standard earlier this month.
“This is music to the Republican minority’s ears in Washington,” according to GOP strategist, Ford O’Connell. “That is more powerful for Republicans than any perfectly scripted message.”
Meanwhile, GOP Senators homed in on an op-ed written by Biden’s Justice Department nominee for the civil rights division – in which she’d advocated for defunding the police.
“You just said you don’t support cutting funds from police,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), adding “I find that astonishing and, Ms. [Kristen] Clarke, frankly not credible because I’m holding the article you wrote.”
Clarke replied that she doesn’t support defunding police departments, and that the headline of the Op-Ed was poorly worded.
Democrats recognize the threat that the ‘defund’ movement poses.
“The one thing we cannot allow is for Republicans to use this as a weapon of mass distraction,” said Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright in a statement to The Hill. “Or as a weapon of mass political destruction as they have done in the past,” whatever that means.
“I think the ability — using terms like defund the police have led to Democratic losses in this last year,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in November. Warner was joined by fellow Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who pointed to progressive proposals to reallocate police funds as the reason more than a half-dozen moderate lawmakers lost their seats in the last election.
According to polls, defunding the police does not have widespread support. According to a recent USA Today-Ipsos poll, just 20% of Americans support the movement. That said, polling last year in the wake of George Floyd’s death revealed that over half the country, 58%, say that changes are needed to policing.
“We can’t allow them, meaning the opposition, to try to paint this picture that we are anti-police. We’re just pro-good policing,” said Seawright. “We have to do something at the federal level, for certain.”
The Biden administration, meanwhile, falls on the side of ‘reform’ but not ‘defund.’
““The president’s view is that there are necessary, outdated reforms that should be put in place; that there is accountability that needs to happen; that the loss of life is far too high; that these families are suffering around the country; and that the Black community is exhausted from the ongoing threats they feel,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, adding: “But he also believes that there is a forum for putting in place legislation, the George Floyd Act, that can help put many of these necessary reforms in place, and that part of what needs to happen is rebuilding trust in communities in order to get to a better place.”
Apparently some Democrats realize that virtue signaling has consequences.
Fri, 04/16/2021 – 22:40