When asked about the “MAGA threat” to democracy, swing voters responded by saying 2020 riots were comparable to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol building, according to a Friday Washington Post column.
Greg Sargent, an opinion writer for the Post, claimed swing voters told Democratic strategist Celinda Lake that both the Republican and Democratic parties engaged in political violence and “manipulate democracy to their advantage,” in a Friday opinion piece.
Many voters brought up the riots that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020 which killed at least 24 people and caused nearly $1 billion in property damage.
“Why hasn’t the threat to democracy extracted a heavier price from Republicans? Is it true that vulnerable Democrats don’t want Biden to prominently address the topic?” Sargent wrote. “If so, should he have stood down, since Democrats themselves think protecting democracy above all requires keeping MAGA Republicans out of power? Could a more forceful case have made this a bigger voting issue?”
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“One thing that diminishes the impact of some of the crises we’re facing is that Americans have historically had tremendous faith in our institutions,” Lake told Sargent.
Addressing crime is one of the central issues of the upcoming midterms, which Republican candidates have opportunely campaigned on to win votes.
Democrats face a potential red wave, as a Rasmussen poll showed Republicans have a 5% lead on the generic ballot, while a Trafalgar poll gave Republicans a 6% lead.
New York City’s subway system saw murders reach a record level in the last three years despite declining ridership, according to the New York Post.
Crime on the city’s subway system increased by 41%, CNN reported, with over 1,800 incidents as of Oct. 17.
A Trafalgar poll from September noted that 67.9% of respondents felt less safe than they did two years ago, as New York City and Philadelphia saw crime rates increase from 2021, a year in which six major cities reported record-high levels of violent crime.
Multiple candidates for office have also been targeted in violent incidents. An unknown person fired a shot into the house owned by Republican congressional nominee Pat Harrigan of North Carolina Oct. 18, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York was nearly stabbed during a July campaign event and Republican Dan Bolduc, who is seeking to defeat Democratic Sen.
Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire was allegedly the victim of an attempted assault just prior to his Wednesday debate with Hassan.
Pollster Stanley Greenberg, who worked for former President Bill Clinton, blasted Democrats for being “out of touch” and “indefensibly elitist” on crime in the American Prospect.
“I was asked repeatedly by colleagues and campaigning Democrats, ‘What should we be saying on crime and when I’m attacked for ‘defunding the police’?’” Greenberg wrote in the article published Thursday. “To be honest, Democrats were in such terrible shape on crime at this late point, I said, speak as little as possible or mumble.”
New York City and Philadelphia saw crime rates increase in 2021, a year in which six major cities reported record-high levels of violent crime. A Trafalgar poll from September noted that 67.9% of respondents felt less safe than they did two years ago.
Only 37% of respondents approved of President Joe Biden’s handling of crime in a Fox News poll, while 39% approved in Economist/YouGov and Harvard/Harris polls and his approval rating on crime dropped to 33% in a Monmouth poll.
Greenberg accused former President Donald Trump of starting a “race war” in the 2020 election, but said that defeating Trump came with a cost.
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“The battle to defeat Trump’s race war, however, blinded many from seeing the priorities and needs of working-class African American, Hispanic, and Asian American voters. Those were the voters who pulled back from their historic support for Democrats,” Greenberg wrote. “To be honest, many assumed that battling long-standing racial inequities would be their top priority. But that assumption becomes indefensibly elitist when it turns out these voters were much more focused on the economy, corporate power, and crime.”
Greenberg noted that Democrats failed to distance themselves enough from calls to “defund the police” that came from people like Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Cori Bush of Missouri, left-wing members of the House of Representatives often called “The Squad.”
“With Democrats so out of touch on crime and the police, just discussing crime cost Democrats,” Greenberg wrote.
The pollster noted that there is little Democrats can do in the 2022 midterm elections to turn their fortunes around on crime.
“Whatever happens on Tuesday, Democrats should start by listening to the voters again and show that they know how to make communities safe, while raising the power and well-being of all working people,” Greenberg wrote.
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