Friday, November 4, 2022

Democrats Promote Tough-on-Crime Credentials as Party Plays Defense

Shot: At the New York Times, "With sheriffs vouching for them and a flood of ads proclaiming their support for the police, Democrats are shoring up their public safety bona fides. Still, some worry it’s too late":

In the final stretch of the midterm campaigns, Democrats are straining to defend themselves against a barrage of crime-focused attacks from Republicans, forcefully highlighting their public safety credentials amid signs that G.O.P. messaging on the issue may be more potent than usual in some critical races this year.

Democrats have enlisted sheriffs to vouch for them, have outspent Republicans on ads that use the word “police” in the month of October, and have been using the kind of tough-on-crime language that many on the left seemed to reject not long ago — even as some Democrats worry that efforts to inoculate the party on a complex and emotional issue are falling short.

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, who is being criticized over a 2018 video in which he called ending cash bail a “top priority,” aired an ad in which an officer declared him a “tough-on-crime” lawmaker who confronted those “who wanted to defund the police.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada has long highlighted her pro-law enforcement credentials, including with an ad featuring a police chief praising her record of being “tough on crime.”

And Lt. Gov. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, whose history on criminal justice issues is being denounced by Republicans, sounded pro-law enforcement notes at a senior center on Friday as he discussed his tenure as the mayor of Braddock, Pa., saying he “was proud to work with our police departments, and funding the police.”

Nationwide, Democrats spent more money last month on ads that used the word “police” than Republicans did, according to AdImpact, a media-tracking firm. But heavy Republican spending on crime ads earlier this year has helped define the final weeks of the campaign in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

National crime trends are mixed and complex, and Republicans have often reached for arguments about crime or border security, with varying results. Some party strategists doubt the issue will be decisive this year, with many Americans far more focused on economic matters.

But a Gallup survey released late last month found that “Americans are more likely now than at any time over the past five decades to say there is more crime in their local area than there was a year ago.”

The issue, fanned and sometimes distorted by conservative news outlets, has been especially pronounced in liberal-leaning states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Wisconsin, where big cities have struggled with concerns about violence and quality of life over the last few years. But the topic is at play in many tight Senate, House and governors’ races...

Chaser: "Most Candidates Running on Crime Don’t Have Much Power to Solve It :Your congressman doesn’t control the police budget. Your senator probably doesn’t know where the worst hot spots are."

Tuesday's going to be blast!