President Joe Biden warned Democratic activists that anti-police rhetoric “beat the hell” out of the party’s candidates in the 2020 election, and it looks like the voters’ pick for the New York City mayoral race could offer them a model for how to avoid the same political disaster in 2022.
Biden and some other Democrats have expressed concern that anti-police rhetoric from more radical members of the party is having a disastrous impact down the ballot. While Republicans lost the 2020 presidential election, they gained seats in the House and stand a strong chance to fully take the chamber in 2022.
“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 told police reform activists in December. (RELATED: Rising Violence Prompts Minneapolis City Officials To Consider Asking Nearby Officers For Support)
Biden warned the activists that being vocal about efforts to defund the police could harm Democrats chances of winning the two Georgia Senate seats in the Jan. 5 election.
“We can go very far. It matters how we do it. I think it matters how we do it,” Biden said. “I just raise it with you to think about how much do we push between now and January 5 — we need those two seats — about police reform. But I guarantee you, there will be a full-blown commission. I guarantee you it’s a major, major, major element.”
Enter Eric Adams, a former captain with the New York Police Department (NYPD) who just secured the Democratic Party nomination for New York City Mayor. Adams’ perspective on crime in the city is a far cry from the city’s other politicians, such as Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Adams took a tough on crime stance in a Wednesday appearance with Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, condemning the current law enforcement situation in the city. (RELATED: Over 100 Released Rikers Inmates Already Arrested Again For New Crimes: Report)
“We have thrown up our hands and we have surrendered our city,” he said. “It’s time for us to ensure our city is for the working-class, everyday people.”
New York City has seen a spike in virtually all violent crime, including homicides and shootings. The crime rate is still far below levels seen in the early 1990’s, however. Adams has been skeptical of city legislation that would end the practice of automatically trying 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, saying lawmakers must ensure there aren’t any unintended consequences, according to the New York Post.
Adams went on to offer thinly-veiled criticism of far-left Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Warns Against ‘Hysteria’ Over Rising Violence, Reiterates Her Proposal To Defund Police)
“I have made it clear over and over again: I am the original progressive voice in this city,” Adams said. “Being progressive is not what you tweet but what you do to help people on the street every day.”
“We’ve allowed the term ‘being progressive’ to be hijacked by those who do not have a track record of putting in place real progressive changes. I am not going to surrender my progressive credentials,” he added.
Adams, if elected, could be a major step toward repairing the relationship between the NYPD and the rest of the city’s government, which deteriorated rapidly under Mayor Bill de Blasio. Hundreds of officers famously turned their backs on the mayor while he was speaking at a 2015 event commemorating slain officer Wenjian Liu.
Some Democrats recognized long ago the electoral danger that “defund the police” rhetoric poses across the country, having only narrowly won elections in 2020.
“We almost lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund the police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t ever say socialism ever again,” Democratic Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger told her fellow Democrats in November. “If we run this race again we will get fucking torn apart again in 2022.”
Not all Democrats are on the same page as Spanberger, Biden and Adams, however. Many progressives continue to push for defunding or seriously reforming the police force, despite the fact that “defund the police” has been so politically toxic that the Democrats decided to blame it on the GOP.
“I believe the path toward justice is a long arc. Safety is not just an officer with a badge and a gun,” Ocasio-Cortez said in response to Spanberger’s criticism. “Our [police budget] is too high.”