Democrats hold down GOP attacks and show new urgency on crime

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But in Washington, Democratic leaders are now clearly more focused on repelling attacks from the right than they are on appeasing activists on the left.

Although this week marked a clearly visible turning point in democratic politics, the party’s move to make public safety a central political concern has been gradual. Indeed, the fortuitous overlap between Mr Adams’ strong performance and Mr Biden’s speech resulted in some kind of artificially sudden climax in a truly month-long process of reshaping the democratic message about crime and law enforcement.

As early as November last, the Democrats in Congress had a heated debate about the effects of the “Defund” movement on downward elections. In the 2020 general election, Republicans devastated Democrats across the country by uniting them with the fiercest faction of activists that emerged from protests against racial justice during a summer. Many Democrats believed the party’s candidates had suffered, while progressives were reluctant to accept what they called the centrist scapegoat.

Two democratic reviews of the campaign concluded that the party had not adequately suppressed these attacks. A report by a collection of democratic interest groups, including the centrist think tank Third Way, concluded that the Republicans had used the slogan “Defund the Police” as a weapon with particular effectiveness “against colored candidates in swing districts with large white populations.” .

Late this spring, the Democratic Congress campaign committee acted more aggressively to respond to the Republican attacks. In a special election to fill a vacant House of Representatives seat in New Mexico, Republicans beat Democratic candidate Melanie Stansbury for advocating sweeping liberal laws that would, among other things, reduce funding for law enforcement agencies and place stricter limits on wish list targets. With a wave of crime sweeping Albuquerque, it was a potentially harmful attack.

But Ms. Stansbury and her national allies responded decisively, covering the Democratic District with advertisements promoting their votes in New Mexico state law to fund local law enforcement. She won the race by a large margin.

In another special election, in which two black Democrats compete for an open house seat in Louisiana, victorious candidate Troy Carter diverted criticism from a more progressive candidate, Karen Carter Peterson, who accused him of supporting the police.



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