Many a dumb political tactic has been tried by both major political parties over the years. But one that is quickly emerging as a top-10 contender for the most stupid is the attempt by Democrats to whitewash their support for the “Defund the Police” movement.
The campaign to pull much-needed resources from local police departments to the point they are starved out of existence was started several years ago by far-left groups like “Black Lives Matter,” but the push gained momentum after the officer-involved death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd in May 2020.
The media talked about the movement in glowing terms. Prominent Democrats fueled the anti-police fire by pouring gasoline on it. Among them were future Vice President Kamala Harris, who supported a bail fund for extremist defund-the-police “protesters,” many of whom were arrested for their role in virtually destroying entire city blocks in Minneapolis via looting, fires and violence.
Then-Democratic-presidential-nominee Joe Biden also contributed to the effort, suggesting he was open to “redirecting” police funds elsewhere — this at a time when violent crime rates were rising in Democrat-run cities like Chicago, Baltimore and Los Angeles. Local and state Democratic leaders in these areas were also rushing to cut funding.
Over the summer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called federal officers “stormtroopers” and part of then-President Trump’s supposed “secret police” force, when they were sent in to help riot-plagued cities like Portland deal with demonstrators trying to burn down federal courthouses.
The loudest voices came from radical leftist members of the House otherwise known as “The Squad.” Most prominently, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said last year during the debate in New York City on reallocating police funding that “defunding police means defunding police.”
“It does not mean budget tricks or funny math,” she went on to say. “It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.”
Here we are a year later, and Democrats are now pretending like it’s Republicans who didn’t want to fund the police.
“Let’s talk about who defunded the police. When we were in Congress last year trying to pass an emergency rescue plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police, it was the Republicans who objected to it. … They defunded the police. We funded crime intervention and a whole bunch of other things,” Biden advisor and former Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond said during a recent interview.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki agreed, claiming that “the American Rescue Plan, the state and local funding, something that was supported by the president, a lot of Democrats who supported and voted for the bill, could help ensure local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country. As you know, it didn’t receive a single Republican vote.”
The attempt by the Biden administration to revise history on this issue as one where Republicans don’t support the police — simply because they oppose bloated spending bills jam-packed full of unrelated Democrat wish-list items — isn’t going to work. Not only did Democrats latch on to the calls to defund the police, but in some Democrat-run cities, like Asheville, police have had to scale back on the type of 911 calls they respond to because they simply don’t have the resources to do their jobs.
The Democrat embrace of efforts to defund the police came at a high political cost to their House members last fall. They lost 14 seats in an election that “experts” predicted would increase the Democrat majority. That they are trying to reframe the issue now ahead of the 2022 midterms is laughable and an insult to everyone’s intelligence, especially considering the overwhelming amount of evidence that proves them wrong.
The tactic is already backfiring. As it should be.
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.