Alarm About Violent Crime Is Now America’s Lead Issue
For years, the Left’s complacency about crime has tried to disguise itself by claiming that it’s really the norm of mature thinking, and that the problem is the “fear” and “hysteria” of those of us who think complacency is a foolhardy and dishonest response.
As has become undeniably evident in recent months, however, even well disguised complacency isn’t going to work anymore. The country is headed into its second year of an unprecedented surge in murder (and yes, the correct word is “murder,” not “gun violence”). The question is whether this will come to a head in the mid-term elections now less than 16 months away.
A friend of mine, a long-time, crackerjack criminal defense attorney, notes (emphasis added):
“In our tribal times, it’s very rare to find a situation where voters of opposing parties agree on anything. Our society has become so politicized that even the national fight to defeat the pandemic has become a partisan food fight. So when you see a rare point of agreement between Republicans and Democrats, it’s worth taking notice.
That moment happened this week when the Democratic polling firm Navigator Research released its weekly survey, which asked voters what issues they rated as major crises. On most of the 14 issues tested, from the coronavirus pandemic to inflation, Republicans and Democrats differed sharply over their significance. For instance, 70 percent of Democrats still see the pandemic as a “major crisis,” but only 30 percent of Republicans agree.
The one exception? Violent crime. For the first time, crime ranked ahead of the pandemic as the top issue for all voters. Even more surprisingly, it was an issue that voters of both parties ranked highly: 57 percent of Republicans called the issue a major crisis while 52 percent of Democrats concurred. Most significantly, 70 percent of African-American voters called violent crime a major crisis. The only other issue that drew bipartisan consensus was the spread of misinformation. Dealing with violent crime was the top issue for Republicans and independents, and the third-most important issue for Democrats.
The increased salience of crime, as the rate of homicides and other incidents of violence skyrocket across the country, is now a threat to Democrats’ congressional majorities in next year’s midterms. The party’s left-wing activists advanced “defunding the police” as a campaign slogan throughout much of 2020, without much pushback from party leaders. The moderates in the party, including Joe Biden, belatedly distanced themselves from the unpopular ideology, but didn’t condemn the movement itself. Too many lawmakers saw [responding effectively to] crime as a political vulnerability instead of a governing necessity….”
I should add that, having found that the phrase “defunding the police” is a political loser, the Left will used different and more opaque language, like “re-imagining policing” to accomplish the same objective but under better cover. I hope, and expect, that this will fail. The anti-police forces have been depressingly successful with gibberish language, but covering up the mounting toll of bodies in the morgue is likely to be a corpse too far.