Republicans are planning to use crime—translation: racist dog whistles—as a major part of their message for the 2022 midterm elections, NBC News reports. “Democrats want to defund the police” is going to be a Republican rallying cry in far more races than there are Democratic politicians who actually want to defund the police. (And the goal of “defund the police” is of course going to be radically misrepresented.) Black Lives Matter is also going to be targeted as a source of violence, all facts to the contrary, because … well, you know.
“In some districts, we focused on ‘defund the police’ and the broader culture fight,” a Republican operative told NBC News of the 2020 effort to win the House. “The broader culture” fight equals overt racism, in case you were wondering. He continued, “But in many suburban districts, we took ‘defund the police’ and turned it into a public safety issue about whether there should be increased or decreased police in your neighborhood, and what public safety officials do to keep people safe.” In other words, in districts where overt racism would turn voters off, Republicans used more veiled racism.
Democrats, meanwhile, are reminding voters that every single Republican in Congress voted against the American Rescue Plan, which sent money to local governments—including, in many areas, to their police departments.
Polling shows that voters think crime is a major, major issue—59% say it’s an “extremely” or “very” serious problem, with 55% believing that more funding for police is the answer to violent crime. It’s fertile ground for appeals to fear, even if reality doesn’t entirely bear that out.
The murder rate rose in 2020, going over six per 100,000 for the first time since 1998, though it remained far below the murder rates of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. Property crimes were mostly down in 2020, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. All of this was happening in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning it’s at least as likely to be a temporary blip as the beginning of a major trend.
“These rising rates of homicide are cause for alarm but not panic. It’s very important to understand we currently have violent crime rates that are a little above half what they were at their peak,” Thomas Abt of the Council on Criminal Justice told The Hill. “We are a long way from those dark days.”
As Republicans gear up to run on a crime-crime-crime-we-are-the-party-that-can-prevent-crime (psst, crime means Black people) platform, there were more than 400 shootings in the United States over the Fourth of July weekend, with at least 150 people killed. Republicans continue to fiercely oppose even the most minor tweaks to gun laws as part of reducing the crime they claim to think is such an enormous problem. Republicans want you to be afraid of a stereotypical racist dog whistle of a criminal, but they want to keep hands in the guns of men who stalk and abuse women they’re dating. The fear they want you to feel doesn’t extend to action on school shootings. Until recently, Republicans even blocked funding for research into gun violence to promote a better understanding of, and better solutions to, the problem. The Republican plan is all about supporting the same old police tactics and blaming the groups of people Republicans blame for everything, rather than considering what would actually work. They hope to ride that to victory in 2022.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.