Democrats’ Defund-the-Police Debacle, by Charles Lipson

You defund the police, crime skyrockets, and you lose a lot of law abiding voters. Who knew? From Charles Lipson at

Democrats' Defund-the-Police Debacle

(AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

It’s easy to find politicians saying dumb things. Television news gives them plenty of coverage. Viewers like colorful voices, which are often the most extreme. The resulting Kardashianization of politics doesn’t matter much unless these caricatures tarnish an entire political party, define its public perception, and compromise its chances of passing legislation and winning elections.

That’s the Democrats’ problem with “the Squad,” led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This problem arose again last week when squad member Cori Bush told a national TV audience how eager she is to defund the police. She said nothing to convince anyone who rejects her views. She probably made matters worse with her transparent hypocrisy, defending her right to hire expensive private security guards while advocating less police protection for everyone else.

Rep. Bush hasn’t learned the single most important lesson about being stuck in a hole: Stop digging. The St. Louis Democrat doesn’t dig with shovels, either. She bought an industrial-size excavator and went to work. The hole she’s digging is “defund the police,” and polls show she’s mining for fool’s gold. The defund movement may be popular with some wealthy (white) elites, activists on the extreme left and, at least temporarily, some African Americans in congressional districts like Bush’s, though its popularity even in those precincts will fade as violence continues to rise. Everyone else is already staunchly opposed. They fear, quite reasonably, that defunding will lead to more crime, not only because there will be fewer cops on the beat but because those who remain will limit their active policing because they lack political support.

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