Column: The Politics Responsible for the Coming Democratic Disaster
Matthew Continetti • November 4, 2022 5:00 am
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is a case study in denial. The unelected Democrat is in trouble because she won’t recognize the danger of increased crime. When challenger Lee Zeldin, a Republican congressman from Long Island, brought up public safety during last week’s debate, Hochul scoffed. “I don’t know why this is so important to you,” she said. She might as well have stuck her tongue out at voters. Support for Zeldin has increased over the past few days.
Hochul can still win. New York hasn’t voted for a Republican governor since 2002. Whatever the outcome — and Zeldin has a path to victory — the conclusion is clear: Crime is once again a matter of national concern.
Look at the polls. Sixty-one percent of registered voters told the Pew Research Center this month that violent crime is very important to their midterm vote. An October Gallup poll ranked crime third, after the economy and abortion. The October Fox poll showed crime ranked second only to inflation in the minds of voters. According to another recent Gallup survey, a record 56% of Americans say there is more crime in their area than there was last year.
Hochul attributes this feeling to the mass illusion. “They are master manipulators,” she told MSNBC on October 30. “They have this conspiracy all over America trying to convince people in Democratic states that they are not safe.” Hochul did not say who “they” are. She meant Republicans.
The truth is that Hochul is the one who is disconnected. The reason voters are concerned about crime is that crime has increased. The sensational stories of subway murders, carjackings, kidnappings and shoplifting are not isolated events. Murders and assaults have increased across the country since 2019. Murders have declined somewhat since the start of this year, but the decline has been unevenly distributed and other forms of violent crime are on the rise. The lawlessness that has spread across the country in 2020 has not diminished.
Voters also don’t believe Democrats can restore order. An ABC News-Ipsos poll from October showed a paltry 22% of registered voters trust Democrats to handle crime. Thirty-seven percent trust the GOP. Republicans also had a 15-point advantage over Democrats on crime in the October Fox poll.
The trend is visible in individual campaigns. In September, Mandela Barnes was tied with Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Then Johnson’s campaign and Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund began running ads that attacked Barnes’ positions on crime. Johnson has been in the lead ever since. Also in September, John Fetterman edged out Mehmet Oz in the race for the open seat in the Pennsylvania Senate. Then the criminal ads increased. Oz started winning.
The attacks work because progressive Democrats like Barnes and Fetterman have views on crime that are outside the mainstream. Over the past decade, the movement for criminal justice reform has become more radical in advocating for the emptying of prisons or decarceration. Progressive prosecutors such as Kim Foxx in Chicago, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia, George Gascón in Los Angeles, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco and Alvin Bragg in New York have refused to press charges for many crimes and have asked for light sentences for the offenses they prosecuted. . In 2019, New York ended cash bail for most felonies and misdemeanors. In 2020, progressive Democrats began cutting police budgets.
Criminals easily maneuver in these permissive environments. Most cities are sanctuaries that do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Non-profit organizations and local governments subsidize alcoholism and drug addiction. Homeless encampments dot the landscape. The scent of very potent legal marijuana fills the air. In Baltimore, squeegees harass motorists. In New York, turnstile jumping is rampant. Major retail chains have closed locations in downtown San Francisco, Philadelphia and DC. Antisocial behavior flourished.
The progressive left has rejected the lessons of the past. They repudiated the legacy of the 1990s, when Democrats and Republicans built prisons, imposed tough sentences on criminals, hired more police, used the death penalty, and embraced “broken windows” and policing techniques. community. Progressives continued to pursue their false notion of social justice even as the death toll rose. They ignored voters shouting stop.
In the spring of 2020, left-leaning data scientist David Shor shared research on his social media account that showed Republicans were getting electoral benefits from voter backlash against the riots. He was fired from his job. In November 2020, Republicans proved Shor’s point by unexpectedly winning 14 House seats. The left did not flinch.
Certainly, President Biden avoided the slogan “Defund the Police”. He promised to spend more money on law enforcement while cracking down on guns. Its message has been drowned out by the cultural left’s apostles in politics, education and the media, who condemn the police and convictions as racist and the criminal justice system as irremediable. The ineffective Biden has little sway over the complacent governors and crazed prosecutors behind the crime spike.
The commitment to decarceration and decriminalization persists. Neither the election of Eric Adams as mayor of New York nor the recall of Chesa Boudin to San Francisco stopped her. New York’s bail reform may be responsible for Kathy Hochul’s defeat, but Illinois Governor JB Pritzker wants a similar measure to take effect in the Prairie state next year .
The New York Times expresses amazement that voters in Kenosha, Wisconsin are blaming incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers for presiding over the riot that turned their town into a burning carcass – nerve! The crime scourge may elect Oz to the US Senate, but District Attorney Krasner is more focused on possible election interference. “We have handcuffs, we have jail cells and we have jurors who will be here,” he said at a press conference on extremism this week. This news might surprise anyone who has followed his career. Now that Krasner has acknowledged the existence of handcuffs and prisons, maybe he can use them to lock up the crooks terrorizing Philadelphia?
He won’t. Krasner and company are ideologues who believe they are immune to the destructive consequences of their own agendas. Voters are about to teach progressive Democrats a lesson: Crime doesn’t pay.