The Washington Examiner:
This spells rrouble for Detocrats in 2022
A rise in violent crime is endangering slim Democratic congressional majorities more than a year out from the midterm elections and threatening to revive “law and order” as a major campaign issue for Republicans for the first time since the 1990s.
Homicides in cities increased by up to 40% over the previous year, the biggest single-year increase since 1960, a trend that has not abated so far in 2021. Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw a rise in at least one category of violent crime, ranging from homicide and rape to robbery and assault, according to the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Homicides and shootings have gone up for three straight years in Washington, D.C., and at least a dozen mass shootings were reported nationwide over the weekend.
Democrats’ flirtations with defunding the police — a handful of lawmakers on the Left nearly scuttled a $1.9 billion Capitol security bill in the House — may make them ill-equipped to handle the reemergence of crime as a top issue for voters. A reduction in the violent crime rate that began in the 1990s led to this concern receding at the ballot box, likely to the net benefit of Democratic candidates.
Former President Donald Trump ran hard against violence in major cities last year and frequently invoked the phrase “law and order.” Despite his loss to President Joe Biden and the preference of some Republican operatives for an emphasis on public safety rather than well-worn anti-crime catchphrases Trump tended to use, his hard-line stance still drew votes.
A top Democratic data scientist estimated that rising anxiety about crime and perceptions that Democrats did not support law enforcement drove more conservative-leaning nonwhite voters, especially Hispanics, to cast their ballots for Trump even though Biden disavowed the phrase “defund the police.” In the end, Trump won voters whose top issue was crime and safety by 44 points, while Biden carried those who listed racial inequality by 85 points.
“Rising crime is a problem that must be addressed through both economic policies that are incentives to work while also giving law enforcement the support they need to enforce our laws,” said GOP strategist Jon Gilmore. “Republicans were successful in the 2020 cycle by addressing this important issue, and they would be wise to continue that drumbeat in the midterms.”