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Democrats have had little incentive to address rampant crime in cities where they control the political system because blaming problems on white people has served as a useful excuse to dupe black voters into keeping them in power, according to a Manhattan Institute senior fellow.
But with the party’s ruling majority in peril, they have a reason to tweak their messaging, especially when it comes to their anti-police rhetoric.
With crime having exploded in the aftermath of the mayhem that came after the viral video of George Floyd’s death sparking leftist politicians to pursue policies to strip local police departments of funding, voters in crime-ridden areas are experiencing the violent fallout of measures that were justified by pointing the finger at systemic racism and the myth that cops were disproportionately targeting blacks and could be about to turn on those who enabled criminals.
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Jason Riley who is also a columnist for the Wall Street Journal described the cynical political strategy to Fox News Digital.
“It’s about power. And the Democratic Party gets a lot of mileage out of blaming problems in the black community on white people,” he said in a phone interview. “And black activists, that’s how they stay relevant, it’s how they raise money — by blaming the problems of blacks on whites. This is how politicians and liberal politicians, progressive politicians, get elected and scare people to the polls by blaming black problems on white people,”
“There’s a racial spoil system in place. You can make a very good living blaming all of black people’s problems on white racism. It’s very lucrative,” he said.
But now with President Joe Biden’s numbers falling across the board, including with black voters, it could be that the obvious failure of the progressive tendency to coddle criminals could open the door to a revised approach.
Fox News Digital also spoke with one of the authors of a New York Times essay who suggested that the policies implemented to “help” black people have, in fact, had the opposite effect, backfiring spectacularly.
Hannah E. Meyers, the Manhattan Institute’s director of the policing and public safety initiative told the outlet, “A lot of these policies were designed explicitly around the idea that blacks are so disproportionately represented in the people who are arrested and the people who are prosecuted and convicted and incarcerated — and trying to design criminal justice policy to back-engineer that number to be more on par with the racial demographics of everybody of society.”
“That in itself has created a bigger problem,” she said.
According to Riley, “The police do pull back. They’re less likely to get out of their cars and interact with the public and violent crime spikes. We saw it in Ferguson after Michael Brown. We saw it in Baltimore after Freddie Gray. We saw it in Chicago after Laquan McDonald. So there’s definitely a pattern here,” pointing out the results of the Democrat narrative that leaves residents in black areas at the mercy of criminals.
He also spoke of the “disconnect between the activists and elites” who purport to speak on the behalf of black communities and the actual members of those communities.
“What I would hope is that the media would have a better job reaching out to the individuals who live in these neighborhoods, and not simply keeping the NAACP on speed dial. I think that’s a real disservice to the people in these communities who are being misrepresented, both in Washington and on cable television,” Riley said.
With the worst of the crime affecting some of the deepest blue cities, especially Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City, a shift is already visible, notably the election of retired police officer Eric Adams as mayor of the Big Apple as well as increasing political pressure on leftist district attorneys Chesa Boudin in San Francisco and George Gascon in Los Angeles.
“Joe Biden’s numbers among blacks and Hispanics have really fallen off considerably. To a point where Democrats can’t win elections if they’re only getting 65 – 70% of the black vote,” Riley told Fox News Digital, “If they’re looking at the polls right now, they have an incentive to change their messaging.”
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