In one of the most liberal places in the U.S. — New York City — a Democratic primary for mayorship shows a microcosm of how the majority of the public takes to “defunding the police” campaigns and attitudes.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer, currently leads Maya Wiley, who is endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, by over nine points with 82% reporting in the Democratic mayoral primary.
One of the reasons Adams was leading in prior polls is that people of NYC were made weary with high crime rates. Eric Adams promised to take a tough approach to the streets and Maya Wiley called for defunding the police. (RELATED: Rising Crime Forces Liberals To Reckon With Their Stance On The Police)
Adams’ lead is not only an affront to his more progressive contenders, but to some of the stances from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
A Siena College poll from June 2020 found that 60% of New Yorkers disagreed with defunding the police.
An increase in crime is not localized to New York City, however. In 2020, and continuing into 2021, violent crime in America’s cities surged in ways that were unseen in over three decades, with black people making up a majority of the victims. (RELATED: Cities That Pushed For Defunding The Police Reckon With Record-High Crime Rates)
Incredible stats, particularly in Portland pic.twitter.com/tX1ru4zx7k
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 28, 2021
“Defund the police” took the political realm by storm when liberal activists responded to the May 2020 death of George Floyd by calling for budget cuts to police departments all over the country.
With unpopular support — including in liberal hotspots — for the campaign on police, Democrats have come to realize the loud voices in their party are in fact a minority and are hurting their electoral chances.
The movement is so unpopular with voters that Democrats are now claiming Republicans are the ones actually doing it. (RELATED: Obama Comes Out Against ‘Defund The Police’ Slogan)
A YouGov poll taken shortly after the “defund the police” movement began found that only 16% of Americans agreed with the idea. A recent USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll also found that less than 1-5% of Americans support it, along with only 28% of black Americans and 34% of Democrats. (RELATED: Police Departments Say Budget Cuts Are The Reason They’ve Been Unable To Hire New Officer)
Republicans continue to use it to their political advantage and have often tied their Democratic opponents to the movement. It is often regarded as the cudgel which caused Democrats to fail in flipping seats in their favor. (RELATED: ‘The Problem Is Your Ideas Are Stupid’: Bill Maher Rips Millennials For Supporting Communism And Abolishing Police)
“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,” then president-elect Joe Biden reportedly said on a phone call with civil rights leaders shortly after the 2020 election.
Members of the progressive squad, such as Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ihan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman have repeatedly either called for defunding the police or re-allocating their budgets elsewhere. “Defunding police means defunding police,” Ocasio-Cortez said in July after New York City voted to cut $1 billion from the budget of the NYPD.
In response to these calls for defunding police, and the less than stellar public reaction, moderate Democrats attempted to distance themselves from the movement or have avoided directly addressing it.
On a segment of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace challenged Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Banks with the Democrats’ new zinger for the GOP. “Can’t you make the argument that it’s you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?” Wallace asked Rep. Banks.
Wallace’s question seemed to stem from the novel assertion by Democrats that it’s actually Republicans who want to defund the police because they opposed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law without Republican support. The plan contained a $350 billion appropriation designated to state local and tribal governments to serve as a stimulus to their budgets that were depleted by the pandemic. (RELATED: Kevin McCarthy Calls $1.9 Trillion Bill ‘The Pelosi Payoff,’ Says To Stop Calling It ‘COVID Relief’)
Some local governments have used this relief money to boost their police departments. For example, North Haven and Hamden, Connecticut, used the funds to hire new police officers and firefighters. Many others have also used it to invest in mental health services. Multnomah County, Oregon (which is where Portland is located) allocated relief funds to support groups that focus on aiding African American members of the LGBT community and organizations that assist immigrants and refugees, according to the oversight board that tracks the relief funds.
The wide range of uses for the funds is because the provision is not specifically designated for law enforcement only.
Republicans’ opposition to the relief package also centered around its vast number of provisions for items not related to COVID-19. Other reasons included the fact that the money was not subject to the Hyde Amendment, which would prevent it from funding abortion services.
Yet, according to Democrats, Republicans de facto supported defunding the police because they didn’t vote for Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid relief plan.
White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond made the point earlier on Wallace’s program in which he appeared to blame Republicans for increases in violent crime as well as efforts to defund the police.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also floated the idea in the White House press briefing on June 23, later doubling down on the claim Monday, along with White House rapid response director Mike Gwin, and several Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Absolutely shameless. Under questioning from Fox’s Peter Doocy, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki argues it’s *Republicans* who have been defunding the police and not supporting law enforcement because they didn’t vote for Biden’s stimulus boondoggle the American Rescue Plan. pic.twitter.com/pIwfFkonu1
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 28, 2021
The Rescue Plan is providing significant money to help state and local governments hire police and fund a range of other crime fighting measures.@POTUS and Democrats supported that funding. The GOP voted against it unanimously.
So, yes. https://t.co/gYGQTBqst9
— Mike Gwin (@MGwin46) June 28, 2021
Republicans have already voted twice this year to defund the police. They all voted against the American Rescue Plan which contained critical funds for states & localities to fund emergency services, and they also voted against the Capitol Hill security supplemental spending bill https://t.co/kkIP2cVDvE
— Rep. Bobby Scott (@BobbyScott) June 28, 2021
As Democrats are reckoning with polls that show how much the defund movement has disenchanted voters, they are now attempting to project some of its damaging rays onto the GOP.