One of the wildest things about American politics is how easy it is to paint Democrats into a corner. Case-in-point: Republicans are spending roughly a gazillion dollars in the midterm election cycle to portray their opponents as the weak-on-crime party that wants to defund police and let everybody out of jail. My personal favorite is a commercial from Republican New Jersey resident Dr. Oz—currently, somehow running for U.S. Senate in my home state of Pennsylvania—that portrays his opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman as a guy who wants to let murderers out of jail en masse, a thing Fetterman, of course, has never said.
Likewise, Dems have never said that they want to defund police, and if results are any indication of effort, they haven’t exactly been going to the mattress for any manner of substantive police reform—something supported by the overwhelming majority of Black voters, who are their most loyal constituency, while they’ve controlled the White House and Congress over the past two years. So what are Democrats hoping will give them a quick bump in the polls coming up? Yup: they’re crowing about getting House Republicans to agree to passing four bills that will increase police funding, even though those bills have virtually no shot at becoming law.
Democrats were expected to vote on a rule advancing a series of four bills that provide millions of dollars to local law enforcement.
Leaders of the Progressive and Black caucuses foreshadowed Wednesday that while a deal was struck, many members still had concerns over the proposals.
An agreement on the public safety package was announced Wednesday after months of deliberations between moderate Democrats and their more liberal counterparts.
Representatives in swing districts facing tough reelection fights had wanted a vote that could counter Republican attacks that the Democratic Party is anti-police. But liberals were adamant that any legislation must also increase police accountability provisions.
I’m not sure if they’ve noticed, but literally nothing Democrats pass by way of increased police funding will counter conservatives’ attacks that they’re anti-police. Democrats have spent the past two years running as far as possible from the concept of defunding, and that hasn’t worked. The party has all but abandoned talking publicly about police reform, or about putting progressive prosecutors in office in local races, and they’ll still be bombarded with ads meant to scare white suburbanites into voting Republican, against their own economic, and in the case of women, reproductive, interests.
In the meantime, this is how Black voters who delivered control of two-thirds of government to their preferred party are being rewarded: a victory lap by Dems in Congress over passing (but not really passing) a bill to give millions of dollars more to cops who remain protected by awful deals cut with bad-faith police unions and the nonsense known as qualified immunity.