July 21, 2021
It would be hard to think of an idea more manifestly idiotic than “defund the police.”
For such a slogan to become the mainstream rallying cry of Left-wing community organizers and media elites during a stunning rise in murders and homicides nationwide would seem unfathomable… But that is exactly what happened last year.
When the Black Lives Matter (“BLM”) movement rose in June of 2020 in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Democrats saw it as an opportunity. America was already reeling from COVID-19, and there was a tremendous national anxiety to exploit.
To mobilize the Democrats into the streets during a nationwide pandemic lockdown, the institutional Left, woke corporations, and the hysterical media embraced the cynical lie that police in America are systemically racist and murder unarmed black men routinely and without consequence.
In the short term, this was effective politics… Months of Democrat riots in the summer of 2020 galvanized the most radical elements of the political Left and put them in a position to dictate the narrative to the more mainstream elements of their party. The chaos they created made the Trump White House look ineffective on one of the then-president’s signature issues: law and order (though he did tweet “LAW AND ORDER” in all caps many times).
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The Democrats eked out a win with Joe Biden, and to many it seemed the election was a referendum on COVID response and lawlessness in the streets.
Just how extreme was this anti-police movement? For anyone wondering whether some of the Left actually wanted to get rid of police entirely, there was an op-ed published in June of 2020 in the New York Times with the helpful title “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.” The piece contained such memorable lines as “There is not a single era in United States history in which the police were not a force of violence against black people.”
Among so-called police reform activists on the Left, this delusional framing of police in America was fashionable in the second half of 2020 and mandated for anyone seeking to be “woke.”
But things have changed a lot in the past six months… We’re halfway through 2021, and Democrats are recognizing (hopefully too late) that the defund-police movement within their ranks has become an enormous political liability. One big tip-off that they are concerned is in their almost comical, Soviet-style rewriting of recent history on the subject.
A perfect example comes from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who recently said in response to a question from a Fox News reporter who was probing the Biden administration’s position on defunding police:
Well, first, let me just note that the president ran and won the most votes of any candidate in history on a platform of boosting funding for law enforcement after Republicans spent decades trying to cut the COPS program.
Oh, really? Biden won the White House as a big advocate for increasing police funding? This would come as a shock to anyone who had paid even passing attention to politics in the U.S. over the past 12 months.
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Biden: Protecting (His Agenda) And Serving (His Party)
Back in the world of facts and reality, here’s a reminder of the kind of statements then-candidate Joe Biden was making about law enforcement when it was politically advantageous to undermine them…
During a speech on June 2, 2020, where Biden rolled out his absurd (but, sadly, effective) “America’s healing grandpa” routine, here’s what he said about police nationwide:
A down payment on what is long overdue should come now. Immediately.
I call on Congress to act this month on measures that would be a first step in this direction. Starting with real police reform.
Congressman Jeffries has a bill to outlaw choke holds. Congress should put it on President Trump’s desk in the next few days.
There are other measures: to stop transferring weapons of war to police forces, to improve oversight and accountability, to create a model use of force standard – that also should be made law this month.
Of course, there was no real effort at police reform… That was just cover from top-level Democrats like Biden so they could pander to the anti-cop elements within the Democrat party.
Now that the political winds have shifted, Democrats are rapidly trying to spin a narrative where they don’t look like their party has dabbled in pro-criminal lunacy for a whole year with disastrous consequences.
This newfound pro-police narrative for Democrats is so disingenuous, it has become fodder for Right-wing mockery. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas summed up the Democrats’ absurd about-face well enough when he said on Fox News late last month:
For them to come out and claim that it’s Republicans who want to defund the police, that’s like an arsonist showing up at the fire and blaming the firemen. That’s like the Chinese blaming the Americans for the Wuhan virus. That’s like OJ [Simpson] saying he’s gonna help find the real killer.
A quick look at the data shows why Democrats are so rapidly moving away from “defund the police.” Polling has been consistent in 2021 that only about 20% of the American people support the concept in theory.
Overwhelmingly, those who believe in actual “defunding” or even abolition of police (a fringe but growing movement on the Left) are well-off white liberals who live in safe neighborhoods. They gladly signal their virtue while low-income minorities disproportionately suffer the consequences of “defund” put into action.
Cities like New York, Minneapolis, Austin, Los Angeles, Baltimore, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Atlanta either began the process of defunding in 2020 or actually made major budget cuts to their police forces. Some have tried to reallocate some portion of funds to social workers or “violence interruption” programs, while others have merely cut the police without any plan at all (realistic or not) to supplement public safety.
The results have been predictably awful… In 2020, the U.S. went through the worst 12-month increase in homicides and shootings in two decades. There were many major American cities that saw 30% or more increases in the murder rate. Six months into 2021, the level of shootings and murders is already outpacing the record year before it. Philadelphia is on track to end up with the most violent year in its history.
Initially, the “defund the police” Democrats tried to downplay these horrific statistics… When that didn’t work, they tried to blame the pandemic for causing more violent crimes (which never made sense – lockdowns result in less human interaction, and other countries have seen substantial violent-crime reductions). Then they turned to their allies in the media to spin a narrative about the wave of gun-buying as the real cause of the violence surge.
To those who prefer to live in reality and deal with facts… This is the direct result of “defund the police.” The only thing the Democrats can do now is slowly walk back their most insane positions on law enforcement from a year ago. With no small amount of assistance from the deeply dishonest media, their plan is to change the subject.
Democrats will hope that enough swing voters forget their pandering to BLM in 2020 that led to such terrible crime spikes in cities nationwide.
Of course, there’s still plenty of time for the Biden White House and a contingent of moderate Democrats to pivot toward a more police-friendly posture. That’s certainly part of their messaging strategy right now…
But the problem of crime rising in major cities isn’t something that can be easily turned around. The staggering increase in homicides and shootings nationwide in 2020 and its continuation in large part into 2021 means the public’s mind will be focused on this issue for months to come.
While some on the Left may be chastened as a result of the backlash against defund the police, true believers in prominent positions remain, particularly at the local level.
There are Left-wing district attorneys in places like Philadelphia and San Francisco who simply don’t care how awful the situation in their cities becomes – as long as they remain welcome guests on MSNBC and receive positive coverage in the Washington Post.
Some of the most radical, destructive public officials in America run the largest urban prosecutors’ offices. Larry Krasner, the Soros-approved district attorney of Philadelphia, thinks that the best way to ensure justice in his city is to stop enforcing a whole host of crimes entirely. The absurd Marxist in charge of prosecuting criminal acts in San Francisco, Chesa Boudin, decided that many crimes would no longer be punished on his watch as well.
Unsurprisingly, both cities have seen substantial increases in crime. The same is true in Chicago, where the shockingly inept Mayor Lori Lightfoot has resorted to saying recently that 99% of her critics are motivated by sexism and racism. Meanwhile, more than 100 people were shot in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend – clear proof to any rational person that America’s third-largest city has a violence rate per capita that is completely unacceptable. To Democrats like Lightfoot, however, the first priority is always to give another speech about “social justice.”
At the congressional level, there has been a downturn in the rhetoric of the so-called “Squad” members when it comes to police issues, but no real change in the policies they pursue. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a woman generally immune to embarrassment for saying stupid things, received widespread ridicule for comments she made that the national crime wave is “hysteria.”
Other members of the Squad, like Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, are still pushing for defunding police in the school system. The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act would eliminate all federal funding for police in schools nationwide.
Blue States, Blue Lives, and Blown Opportunities
Remarkably, when Leftists like Pressley aren’t attempting to use the latest school shooting to abrogate law-abiding gun owners’ Second Amendment rights, they’re attempting to make schools even less safe for the children who attend them.
President Biden will do his best to have it both ways in all of this… He will continue to push the narrative that the Biden administration is supportive of police, but he will do all he can to avoid alienating his far-Left base.
What may start to become problematic for him is that as president, it’s highly noticeable that he never calls out the idiocy of the “defund” Left or tells his own party to repudiate it. He will mutter the required boilerplate on law-enforcement issues, while Leftist loons will continue to talk about “reimagining police.” They just won’t have the entire Democrat party taking orders from them as they did in the summer of 2020.
The plan appears to be for Biden to say one thing, the radical Left to say another, and the corporate media to try to sell this dissonance to the public.
While the day of reckoning with voters in the mid-terms may feel far off, it will come soon enough. And making dozens of American cities much more dangerous is a record that may stay with the Democrats for a long time beyond it… We can all blame the Left for that.
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