The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:
Well, I see a bit of improvement (link below), but I don’t think he’s there yet. My latest at The Liberal Patriot:
“It’s been widely noted that Democrats’ biggest problem is voters’ thirst for a return to normalcy which they don’t believe that Democrats have delivered. The biggest problems here are the economy and the covid pandemic neither of which have returned to normal in voters’ eyes.
That is certainly what Democrats should be concentrating on most.
But there are other important aspects of American society where normality still seems far away and provide additional headwinds for Democrats as they approach the 2022 elections. One such area is rising violent crime where voters are quite dissatisfied with Democrats’ performance. According to a recent NBC poll, Republicans are favored over Democrats on the crime issue by 22 points. In a December Ipsos/ABC poll, Biden’s approval rating on crime was a dismal 36 percent with 61 percent disapproving. And just 11 percent in a January Pew poll said they were very confident that Biden can “effectively handle law enforcement and criminal justice issues”.
Joe Biden is visiting New York City and Eric Adams this Thursday. He could learn a few things from Adams. To begin with, Biden could stop paying attention to the voices within his party that urge him not to talk tough and be tough on crime. Adams knows that those voices do not represent “normie voters”, especially working class normie voters, especially black, Hispanic and other nonwhite working class normie voters. So Adams has not been afraid to put public safety front and center in his political appeals and call out affluent professionals who think nonwhite and working class communities can do with less policing. He believes that this is what his constituencies want.”
Read the rest at TLP!
Politico Playbook covered the current terrain well:
“President JOE BIDEN travels to New York City today for a pair of events on crime policy with Mayor ERIC ADAMS. Two years ago, if Democrats knew their next president would be meeting with an ex-cop mayor of New York at the NYPD’s Manhattan headquarters to discuss “historic levels of funding for cities and states to put more cops on the beat,” it would have been a big surprise…..[O]outrage over white police officers abusing and killing unarmed Black Americans sparked a fierce backlash against cops, especially among progressives, and birthed the “defund the police” movement, which was embraced by a surprisingly wide spectrum of Democrats.
You don’t hear that slogan much anymore. So what happened to make it safe for Biden to reorient the Democratic Party’s positioning on crime?
Top Dems argue it was several big things:
— Reality: Crime, especially homicide, has spiked in cities across the country. Black mayors in big progressive-dominated cities like San Francisco (LONDON BREED) and Chicago (LORI LIGHTFOOT ) have been more vocal about the problem than well-known Washington Dems who are now playing catch-up. The Adams race was catalytic.
“Adams becoming mayor of one of the most liberal cities in America shifted the politics,” said one high-ranking Democrat. “He captured it the right way: It’s a false choice to pit civil rights against public safety.”
— Justice: High-profile prosecutions of white cops charged with abuse or murder, such as Minneapolis police officer DEREK CHAUVIN, showed the legal system could work. Still, the tension between advocates of criminal justice reform, which crashed in Congress, and advocates of cracking down on violent crime remains.
“Democrats don’t want to be robbed while pumping their gas or to live in fear,” a former Biden administration official told Playbook. “The White House just needs to make sure the violent crime conversation does not over take the police reform conversation because they are two different things. I believe they are sensitive to that dynamic.”
— Personnel: Biden is surrounded at the top levels of the White House by an older generation of advisers who have long been wary of the leftward shift on crime and policing. BRUCE REED, for example, has been working on the politics of crime since the 1990s. They are often pushing on an open door when it comes to Biden.
— The Dem strategist rebellion: A cottage industry of Democratic polling experts has emerged over the last two years to warn the party of the dangers of mishandling the issue of crime. RUY TEIXEIRA, one of the main anti-defund voices, pointed us to something he wrote last summer:
“Initially dismissed as simply an artifact of the Covid shutdown that was being vastly exaggerated by Fox News and the like for their nefarious purposes, it is now apparent that the spike in violent crime is quite real and that voters are very, very concerned about it. According to recent data from the Democratic-oriented Navigator Research, more Americans overall, including among independents and Hispanics, now believe violent crime is a ‘major crisis’ than believe that about the coronavirus pandemic or any other area of concern. … Moreover, majorities of even Democrats now believe violent crime is a major crisis and concerns are sky-high among black voters (70 percent say it’s a major crisis).
“The public response leans heavily in the direction of more policing, not less, countering the defund the police approach that was promulgated by many on the Democratic left and still holds considerable sway in those quarters.”
Back then, Teixeira’s view was seen as heretical among his party’s leaders. Today it’s close to conventional wisdom.”
Of course, there are dissenters from this take on the left of the party. One of the more thoughtful ones is from the Post’s Greg Sargent.
But perhaps we an all agree this is a real problem, not just the fevered fantasy of Fox News!
Correction: ONLY murder is up. All other violent crimes are on the same downward trajectory they’ve been on since the 1990’s. We don’t have an armed robbery spike. We have a murder spike. We don’t have a rape spike. We have a murder spike.
Nobody really knows why exactly. However, pontificating about What Needs To Be Done without addressing the fact that murder is experiencing an anomalous spike is worse than useless. You can’t solve something without understanding it, and to avoid understanding it you confabulate it with irrelevant issues that muddy the waters.