According to a new Op-Ed from Sarah Westwood “Some Democrats are increasingly questioning whether liberal rhetoric on hot-button issues such as policing and education could alienate centrist voters they’ll need to win over in the midterm elections.”
“The concerns are playing out against the backdrop of rising crime levels in cities across the country and a growing movement of parents fighting the introduction of racialized curricula to public schools,” Westwood writes.
A poll published last week by Navigator Research, a Democratic firm, showed the majority of voters from both parties and independents — as well as white, black, and Hispanic voters — cited violent crime as a “major crisis.”
Crime rates have climbed in most major cities since last year; New York City, for example, has seen a 73% increase in shootings. Atlanta has endured a 53% increase in murders since 2019, and Chicago saw a 41% jump in murders over that time frame.
The sobering statistics have prompted some in the party to advocate for moving away from the “defund the police” movement that arose after the murder of George Floyd last year by a white police officer.
Charles Lipson, political science professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, pointed to Democratic losses at the congressional level in 2020 that some centrists have blamed on police-defunding rhetoric.
Lipson said “Mainstream Democrats got kicked in the crotch pretty hard during the last election over the ‘defund the police’ strategy. What you saw in the last election was the elephant going over the cliff, but you hadn’t heard the splat. What you’re hearing now is the splat.”