To the Democrats’ dismay, crime is once again emerging as a pivotal election issue

Reports indicate that crime is likely to become a crucial issue in upcoming elections for the first time in decades. 

If true, then this spells trouble for the Democrats. And, some of them, as we will see, already know it.

Background

2020 was a bad year for America in terms of crime, and 2021 isn’t looking any better.

2020, for example, saw a 25 percent increase in homicides, which was the biggest single-year increase since 1960, and the homicide numbers have still not ebbed here in 2021.

The hot spots for crime in 2020 were major cities. The Major Cities Chiefs Association has reported that, in 2020, 63 of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw an increase in at least one category of violent crime.

And, the simple fact is that most of these major cities are run by Democrats, Democrats who have supported the sort of policies – such as defunding the police – that many argue are fueling the rise in crime, which leads us to the Democrats’ problem.

History is about to repeat itself

As is almost always the case, this recent phenomenon – the increase in crime – is not unprecedented. There are some parallels, in fact, to what America witnessed during the 1960s.

Just like the past couple of years, America in the 1960s witnessed a surge in violent crime, and, just like now, Americans back then recognized that the Democrats were not helping the problem. The result was that crime became a leading issue in elections, and Republicans, who were perceived as strong on crime, won those elections in the 1970s and 1980s.

It is not outside of the realm of possibility that this is all going to happen again, and some Democrats are well aware of this.

Ezra Klein, for example, a columnist at the New York Times, recently tweeted: “The politics of this could really tip, and not just in cities — if these numbers keep getting worse, then as with Nixon and Reagan in the 70s and 80s, it could bring ‘law and order’ conservatives (including Trump) back to power in 2024.”

Indeed, in the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump beat out Joe Biden on the issue of crime by 44 points.

The question going forward will be how the Democrats will respond to this concern. One can predict that establishment Democrats will try to adopt some sort of quasi-law and order tone, while the more radical Democrats will try to reframe the issue in a way more favorable for them. But, we’ll see.

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