For the past several years, the Democratic Party has taken an anti-police position – led by the most radical members of the Party leadership. The call to de-fund literally all the police departments across the nation rose out of a handful of cases where there was evidence of police misconduct – most notably the George Floyd case.
But there were not those cases alone. They drew attention to a pattern of racism and police abuse that has been part of a longer history – primarily in the segregated communities in the major Democrat-run cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Atlanta, etc., etc., etc.
The racism and abuse were evident in the ubiquitous demonstrations, protests, and riots that rose out of oppression and frustration – and brought chaos, destruction, and death to the very communities suffering from unaddressed police misconduct.
Rather than focus on where the problems exist, Democrats and their media allies obfuscated the issue by creating a narrative that ALL police departments – and ALL police — men and women – are culpable. It was a strategy to distract from the core problem — and especially from those responsible.
Where riots broke out, Democrat leaders often ordered their own police to stand down as criminal rioters destroyed neighborhoods and looted businesses – victimizing the people of the community. In some cases, Democrat mayors claimed that the presence of police was provocative.
Democrats then led a massive national political campaign to de-fund the police. Literally to remove money from police budgets as crime was on the rise. It was not an idle threat. Mayors like Bill de Blasio of New York, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and others followed through on their threat and actually cut the police budgets in their communities.
It was not just de-funding. Democrat city administrations ended bail requirements and ceased to prosecute serious crimes. All those actions discouraged police – watching those they arrested back on the street the same day. That led the Washington, D.C. police chief to angrily call out his own city administration – the courts, the prosecutors and the politicians.
Even Democrats who are alleged to be “moderate” took up the campaign against police. While President Biden opposed the term “de-fund the police,” he and others embraced the concept of maintaining level police budgets but “redistributing” the money to non-traditional functions – such as social workers and psychiatrists. In terms of law enforcement, that was essentially de-funding the police.
The Democrat’s national attack on police had a secondary negative result. The public campaign to demonize police – and the tendency to criminalize even justified police action – led to a massive increase in early retirements and resignations all across the country. Chicago alone lost 1,000 officers.
The consequence of the broad-brush campaign against all policing was predictable – an exponential rise in major crime. The rise was so precipitous that it scared the b-Jesus out of the Democrats. They suddenly realized that their de-fund the police strategy was going to cost them dearly in the 2022 midterm election – along with the southern border migration problem and the Afghanistan fiasco.
While the most radical of the radical left in the Democratic Party are demanding massive de-funding of the police – not the redistribution de-funding, but real cuts – the semi-rational Democrats are running from their de-funding strategy like the proverbial rats off the sinking ship.
The de-fund the police campaign backfired so badly because Democrats were of the belief that the strategy would be very popular with black folks. It never occurred to them that those trapped in the segregated high-crime ghettoes did not want racist policing and brutality, BUT they also did not want the crime that was making their communities unsafe and deadly.
They did not want their kids to be abused by police, but they did not want them shot dead by the gangbangers either. And for many, the crime problem loomed larger than police racism. Once the minority communities came out against the de-fund-the-police movement, Democrat leaders, black activists and the tag-along news media started flipping like a perch on the pier.
In one of the more audacious reversals, media personality Al Sharpton claimed that he has always spoken in favor of more policing in the ghettoes. He said, “we have to protect the people.” I have followed Sharpton for many years, and I cannot recall a time he stood up for policing – until now.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has now announced an increase in the police budget – after police turned their backs on her at several public functions. New York Mayor de Blasio may be undoing some of his anti-police actions – such as abolishing the Special Crimes Unit. If not, the incoming Mayor Eric Adams most certainly will.
Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville, of Alabama, proposed an amendment to the $3.5 trillion spending bill that would ban federal funds from cities that de-fund police. It carried 90 to 0. Senate Democrats gleefully pointed to their support for the Bill as evidence that they are not for de-funding the police – at least not Democrat senators. According to them, that was all just a canard concocted by the GOP.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker called the vote proof that Senate Democrats were not in favor of de-funding police. He said, “once and for all, we can put to bed this scurrilous accusation.” He called it a “gift” from Tuberville – and gave the Alabama legislator a hug. (Hmmm. Is that allowed under Covid rules?)
The Senate also overwhelmingly supported an amendment that would fund 100,000 new police by a margin of 95 to 3. The only Democrat voting against was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
While Cory could claim that the vote showed support for police by Democrat Senators – excluding Sanders – it does not apply to the Democratic Party in general – or its supporters.
Black Lives Matter, Inc. issued a Tweet following the vote. It said:
“Make no mistake, this is a universal attempt to silence the demands from the streets. This is an attempt to put our movement ‘in check.’ No one, we repeat NO ONE, had the back of our revolutionary movement in the Senate.”
Members of the so-called Squad in the House were also not overjoyed. They still see de-funding as a necessity. Texas Congresswoman Cori Bush was on television recently vigorously renewing her demand to defund police.
Democrats are hoping the voting public has a short memory – that they can put the de-funding issue behind them. That is not likely to work. The Democrats conversion was not based on a moral or intellectual basis. It was pure political pragmatism – and the stench of that is likely to endure long enough to be in the air when Americans return to the polls.
So, there ‘tis.