Via a leaked audio, Joe Biden appeared to blame the “defund the police” movement for contributing to surprising Democratic losses last month.
“That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country…”
The vast majority of the country embraced a conservative or tempered view of crime, cops, and justice.
Mr. Biden understands that he needs cops more than they need him.
Biden states that he will continue “to support law enforcement’s mission to keep our communities safe.”
There’s a profoundly interesting election dynamic taking place that few seem to understand. Law enforcement and tough on crime approaches won big via wins in the Senate, House, and state races. There were considerable increases in Black and Hispanics voting Republican. All of this happened while being considerably outspent. This was supposed to be a Democratic sweep that repudiated conservative politics. It simply didn’t happen.
Democratic leaders are now blaming each other for the losses, Politico. Yes, Mr. Biden won, but just barely.
Don’t be fooled by an emphasis on “defunding cops.” What happened was a repudiation of reformist crime politics.
Per polls, the vast majority of voters oppose police defunding and the same applies to budget cuts. Seventy-three percent of Americans either want funding to increase or stay the same, Pew.
Reform politicians taking a “progressive” stand probably represent one to two percent of the population. This only happens in liberal districts Democrats consider safe. The vast majority of the country embraced a conservative or tempered view of crime, cops and justice.
What most seem to forget is that Joe Biden supported cops and tough on crime approaches throughout ninety percent of his political career. He had to lean left to get elected. Yes, he has to appease progressives to some degree regarding cops and crime.
Because we are engaged in culture wars with the country split down the middle, some want to make Biden and Democrats the enemy. That would be a costly mistake; there are a ton of Democrats taking a moderate view of crime policy. More than half of all Democrats think that the current justice system isn’t tough enough or about right, Gallup.
Via a leaked audio of a recent meeting with civil rights leaders, Biden pushed back on progressives regarding criminal justice reform, especially in light of upcoming Senate races that could (however unlikely) shift control to Democrats. Progressives are harshly criticizing Biden for his remarks during the meeting. One source suggests racism.
Leaked Audio-NBC News (rearranged quotes for brevity)
President-elect Joe Biden appeared to blame the “defund the police” movement for contributing to surprising Democratic down-ballot losses last month, telling civil rights leaders this week that they should proceed carefully on criminal justice issues.
“That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police. We’re not. We’re talking about holding them accountable,” Biden said Tuesday in a virtual meeting with civil rights leaders, according to audio excerpts posted Thursday in a podcast from The Intercept.
Biden pledged that he would follow through on his promises to address systemic racism, but he warned about getting “too far ahead of ourselves” with critical Senate runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5.
“We can go very far. It matters how we do it. I think it matters how we do it,” Biden said.
Even as Democrats have said criminal justice reform legislation should be a priority once Biden takes office, the audio reveals how some civil rights leaders want Biden to use his executive authority to take significant steps, like creating a national database of police misconduct.
Biden said he would be able to do some things by executive order, but — as he often did publicly throughout the campaign — he said, “I am not going to violate the Constitution.”
“Where I have executive authority, I will use it to undo every single damn thing this guy’s done by executive authority,” Biden said, according to the audio. “But I’m not going to exercise executive authority where it’s a question where I can come along and say I can do away with assault weapons. There’s no executive authority to do that. And no one has fought harder to get rid of assault weapons than me, me. You can’t do it by executive order.”
The Biden transition team did not dispute the authenticity of the leaked audio. In a statement, a transition official said:
“President-elect Biden is the same person behind closed doors that he is public; honest, direct and realistic about the challenges facing our nation the day he is sworn in.
As he made clear throughout the campaign, he believes in supporting bold and urgent reform to our criminal justice system while continuing to support law enforcement’s mission to keep our communities safe,” (emphasis added).
We’re Talking About Giving Them Money-CNN (edited and rearranged quotes for brevity)
Per audio from the same meeting, “I also don’t think we should get too far ahead of ourselves on dealing with police reform in that, because they’ve already labeled us as being ‘defund the police’ as to anything we put forward in terms of the organizational structure to change policing — which I promise you, will occur.
We’re talking about giving them money to do the right things. We’re talking about putting more psychologists and psychiatrists on the telephones when the 911 calls through. We’re talking about spending money to enable them to do their jobs better, not with more force, with less force and more understanding.”
Not Just Biden-Obama: Cool It With The “Defund The Police” Slogan
Obama: Cool it with the “defund the police” slogan. The former president this week cautioned justice reform advocates against using the phrase to describe efforts to reduce police brutality and limit racial disparities in policing. “I guess you can use a snappy slogan like ‘Defund The Police,’” Obama told an interviewer, “but, you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done…” CNN Some Democratic lawmakers, like Rep. Ilhan Omar, immediately pushed back, The Guardian.
But It Goes Beyond Politics
Per Gallup, the majority of those polled believe that “tough on crime” issues should guide public policy, Gallup.
Violent crime is up 28 percent since 2015 per the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice. Per Gallup, violence has tripled. Violence is skyrocketing in 2020 in a variety of cities, US Crime Rates.
Americans are more likely to perceive crime in the U.S. as having increased over the prior year (78%) than they have been at any point since 1993, Gallup.
Support for law enforcement indicates that they are still one of the most trusted institutions in America, Perceptions of Law Enforcement.
Considering articles summarizing the election, those wanting to run against cops would do well to reconsider their position.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn criticized calls to “defund the police” Sunday, saying that the phrase hurt Democratic congressional candidates and could potentially derail the Black Lives Matter movement, reports USA Today. Clyburn told CNN that he’d spoken with the late Rep. John Lewis about the phrase this summer, the two concluding “that it had the possibilities of doing to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what ‘Burn, baby, burn’ did to us back in 1960.”
Shell-shocked Democratic lawmakers, strategists and aides privately began trying to pin the blame for election results: The unreliable polls. The GOP’s law-and-order message amid a summer of unrest (emphasis added), Politico.
Most of us writing about the justice system understand the politics of crime and cops. Based on polling data, we warned that attacks on policing would backfire.
There are Democrats at state and national levels who also think that denunciations of law enforcement and support for progressive reform were simply nuts and did nothing to get their candidates elected, Police And Crime Issues.
I predict that Mr. Biden will immediately call for national commissions to address crime and justice issues just to buy some time and to give progressives a chance to vent.
He knows he doesn’t have the legal authority or money to make substantial changes. He also understands that Democrats lost big via the House, Senate, and state races partially based on cops and crime. He understands that it could happen again in the upcoming Georgia Senate races.
Mr. Biden’s not as confused as his remarks indicate regarding an impossible to enforce COVID national mask mandate and a willingness to cut the prison population by more than 50 percent without having the legal or monetary authority to do so.
Mr. Biden’s been around long enough to understand that you need cops to be appropriately proactive to cut exploding violence and those arrested for crimes of violence need prison terms.
Going to war with his administration could (and probably will) backfire.
He’ll do things that cops will question and oppose “but” he could also be an advocate for law enforcement because he needs cops to implement investment programs addressing poverty. No one is willing to invest in communities that are violent. Nothing will change unless violence is significantly reduced.
Don’t shut out opportunities for compromise or a working relationship. Mr. Biden understands that he needs cops more than they need him.
See more on Joe Biden and crime at Crime in America.
See more articles on crime and justice at Crime in America.
Most Dangerous Cities/States/Countries at Most Dangerous Cities.
US Crime Rates at Nationwide Crime Rates.
National Offender Recidivism Rates at Offender Recidivism.
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