DANIEL VAUGHAN: With violent crime a top issue, Democrats face “Defund the Police” reckoning

If you were to guess the subject subject that unites Democrats, Republicans, and independents as a major issue in America, what would you guess? At the moment, it would make sense to presume it would be something like the global pandemic, the economy, jobs, or similar topics. What you’d be forgiven for not guessing is the issue of violent crime.

That’s the conclusion of new polling by Democratic pollster Navigator Research, which found that all three partisan groups in America — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — placed violent crime as either the top issue in the country or in the top three.

In fact, the most telling point of all, violent crime is now more concerning to most voters than the COVID-19 pandemic. The Democratic pollsters said, “White liberal Democrats (48%) and Hispanic Democrats (54%) are more concerned about the pandemic, while white non-liberal (56%), Black (52%), and Asian (59%) Democrats are all more concerned about crime.”

As Josh Kraushaar at National Journal noted, this is coming at a moment when the Democratic Party has embraced the far-left’s ideas and slogans around the “defund the police” movement.

Kraushaar wrote: “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.”

Not everyone is talking that way. Eric Adams’ successful mayoral campaign in New York explicitly ran on crime and castigated the far-left on the issue.

According to the New York Post, in an April interview, Adams said:

“I don’t believe [if] the same level of crime you’re seeing in black and brown and immigrant communities — if that crime level was all over the city, I don’t believe you would see the silence we see,” the retired NYPD officer said during a rally to accept the endorsement of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“When I go to community meetings, when I visit these NYCHA developments here, I hear what they’re saying on the ground. I am not shaping my campaign based on Twitter. I’m shaping my campaign based on speaking with real New Yorkers.”

Adams’ point, and the polling by Navigator Research, suggest that white liberal Democrats living in gentrified neighborhoods don’t see crime as an issue. They’re the ones pushing the “defund the police” narrative, and meanwhile, everyone else is bearing the brunt of that stupidity.

Kraushaar concluded his column by writing: “For too long, Democrats held onto a comforting fiction that the issue of rising crime was merely a conservative-fueled narrative, amplified by Fox News but far removed from the day-to-day lives of most Americans. Between the New York City election results and national polling showing the issue becoming a top priority for all voters, avoiding the subject isn’t sustainable anymore.”

Navigator Research, for their part, attempted to calm liberal discomfort with this by saying that their polling indicates that respondents believe Democrats are more trustworthy on the issue of violent crime. Biden has agreed to talk about the issue of crime with Eric Adams, according to The Wall Street Journal.

One of the most telling current events in politics is that Democrats are now attempting to pivot and say that Republicans are responsible for defunding the police. That slogan is so bad, it now falls into the “sinister Republican plot” territory.

Moderate Democrats know the progressive left is pushing losing lines and issues. In the fallout of the 2020 election, where Republicans came close to retaking the majority, Democrats in the immediate aftermath blamed the far-left for making their elections harder.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat in Virginia, was even blunter. After the election, Politico noted that she stated, “No one should say ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Spanberger said on the call, according to two sources. “Nobody should be talking about socialism.” Spanberger also warned that if Democrats kept up their tactics in 2022: “We will get f—— torn apart.”

Mind you, this was before violent crime was a top issue, and issues like the pandemic and the economy were top issues for voters. When you’re in the middle of a global pandemic and the government has prevented you from working, there are naturally other concerns.

But those were temporary issues, and as they fade, crime is skyrocketing to the top of the list. Meanwhile, Democrats are claiming police officers are bad and demanding that we need to defund the police.

Democrats have no one but themselves to blame, and Republicans are right to hammer Democrats on the issue. Republicans are also smart to hit on issues like inflation and the economy, as the Biden White House continues to ignore those impending disasters as well.

Ideas have consequences and telling people you want to defund police and remove police presence has immediate consequences.

Democrats will have to choose between reality or acquiescing to the far-left on an issue that a majority of Americans on all sides of the political spectrum agree there actually is an issue. Democrats will need to wake up to the reality that defunding the police is a political fiction drawn up by activists who are unconnected to the communities they want to control.

It remains to be seen if they do that in time for the 2022 midterm elections.