06.15.2020 0

Defund the police? How many sharks can the Democrats jump?

By Bill Dunne

In 1994 the Democrats led by President Bill Clinton implemented a program to fund the addition of 100,00 new police officers on the streets of our cities and towns. How times change.

No normal person needs an explanation of how profoundly stupid and unpopular is the idea of defunding or disbanding our local police forces. Yet that idea has speedily established a foothold in today’s Democratic Party less than five months out from a presidential election they are desperate to win. Does this make sense?

It makes sense if you appreciate how thoroughly the party’s ostensibly “moderate” leadership has lost control to its extreme left wing. Future historians will make careers out of examining how the party got to this point.  One thing they may likely conclude is that allowing an avowed socialist who was not even a member of the party to seek the party’s presidential nomination in 2016 was a watershed event.

Bernie Sanders’ trick, of course, was to tack “democratic” in front of “socialist”. It was BS to anyone who spent five minutes checking his background (honeymooning in the Soviet Union never did become a trend among other Americans for some reason) but it was enough to delude the ill-educated cadres being churned out by our public schools and universities. Together with Marxist academics, fellow travelers in the media, and clueless Hollywood icons, they made a potent combination.

Yes, the Dem leadership missed it, but why indeed should they have worried? They had Hillary, the smartest woman in the world who was sure to become the first female POTUS.  So they waved Bernie into their nominating process, maybe for giggles if nothing else, only to learn they had an electoral Frankenstein on their hands who had to be taken out by any means necessary.

After the 2016 election disaster (their view) came the mid-term elections of 2018.  It was the cheated Bernie Bros and the heart-broken Democrats burning for revenge who gave us the current state of the party — freshly populated with hard-left zealots at all levels of government, from Congress to state houses to local towns and hamlets.

As the National Review’s Stanley Kurtz put it, “Whatever face the Democrats present to the world, their woke left fringe is now in charge. That fringe has not only abandoned core American principles like freedom of speech and due process, it has reimagined American history as a story of ‘systemic’ oppression and demanded radical transformation along identitarian–socialist lines.”

Sure enough, as 2019 progressed, it became clear that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taking orders on key issues instead of giving them, appearances notwithstanding. That’s why we were treated to the impeachment farce, which had followed immediately upon the collapse of the Mueller farce.

Looking now at the defund-the-police mania, one has to wonder: Has their unbridled hatred and fear of the Orange Man brought them to this peak of over-reach, where they lose all touch with the mainstream of American voters and pitch themselves into a decline toward eventual oblivion?  Have they jumped the shark?   Victor Davis Hanson predicted as much a year ago: “What is strange about the new envisioned progressive agendas for 2020 is that no serious Democratic presidential candidate next year could ever run on them.”

Agendas like these:

  • A Green New Deal, key features of which include eliminating the internal combustion engine, the fossil-fuel industry, air travel, and cow farts. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has embraced the GND.
  • Abortion to the level of indifference to infanticide, a position that Ralph Northam, Virginia’s Democratic governor, brought into the light last year.
  • Open borders and abolishing internal immigration enforcement (i.e., ICE). Notwithstanding its temporary eclipse by the COVID pandemic, this one is still very much alive.
  • Providing “free” medical services and other benefits to “undocumented” residents, a bid to turn the entire United States into California.

Each agenda item, whenever publicly broached, looked like political suicide for the party that nurtured it, but strangely enough it seems to have had little effect on overall poll numbers.  Will the idea of defunding/abolishing the police be any different?

Another question is: Are they serious? Maybe not, says Paul Mirengoff writing at the PowerLine blog, “Hardly anyone really wants the police to be defunded or otherwise abolished, and most of those calling for defunding understand that it’s not going to happen. What might well happen, and what the ‘defund’ crowd really seeks, is a severe weakening of the police — a neutering, in effect.”

If that’s the game, we are seeing it play out already, with reports of hundreds or even thousands of seasoned officers around the country putting in for early retirement.  And “the applicant pool for new officers” says Mirengoff, “is likely to shrink and diminish in quality.”

All this may be a prelude to nationalizing the police force. It was none other than then-presidential candidate Barack Obama  who promised in 2008 to create a “Civilian National Security Force”  that would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the US Military.”

In 2015, a year after the Ferguson, Mo., riots over the killing of Michael Brown Jr., President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, rolled out a proposed list of federal standards to be applied to local police departments. This was never implemented, as it was widely denounced as an attempt to federalize the country’s police forces.  On the Left, however, the impulse to do so remains strong.

Funny thought: How would it be if you had to call an agency in Washington, D.C., to get the cops to work on a burglary in your neighborhood?

Be that as it may, one suspects there’s a limit to the number of sharks the Democrats can jump and still remain a viable national party.

Bill Dunne runs a corporate communications consultancy based in Connecticut.

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