There isn’t much to laugh about in the news these days but I did find a recent op-ed by James Carville in the Wall Street Journal rather hilarious. The heading proclaimed that “Democrats Are the Anticrime Party.” You could have fooled me. Mr. Carville, a long-time Democrat strategist, was Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign manager. Always outspoken in advocating for his party’s causes, he asks us to believe that the GOP falsely claims to be the party of law and order and that the Democrat Party is “flat-out better on crime than Republicans.” Seriously?
Carville writes that Donald Trump presided over the greatest crime rise in modern American history. From the time of the Clinton presidency until 2019, crime decreased throughout the nation and each succeeding president inherited a declining crime rate, he correctly notes. Things were going just fine until Trump came along, he says. In his final year in office, violent crime exploded. Therefore, it must be Mr. Trump’s fault. Nice try.
In trying to shift the blame for the violence which followed the killing of George Floyd in May, 2020, and continues still, Carville describes the Trump presidency as “one long crime wave.” He broke laws and incited violence, Carville says, and that set an example “for criminals to crawl out of the shadows and believe they would never be brought to justice.” In other words, that devil, Donald Trump, made them do those things like murder, arson, looting, carjacking and assault, and he is to blame because of the example he set. I never knew he was such an influential role model. Does Mr. Carville really believe that Americans are stupid enough to believe such nonsense?
Apparently he does because he wants Democrats to make the case that the largest annual increase in homicides and other violent crime in our recorded history that occurred in 2020 was the fault of our elected president. Many things have been blamed on Donald Trump, some deserved, but this is something of a stretch, even for Mr. Carville. He actually wants the Democrats to campaign for the 2022 midterm elections as the law-and-order party. Please.
As everyone knows, whether or not they will admit it publicly, the sharp increase in violent crime occurred after the killing of George Floyd, triggering protests, many of which turned violent and degenerated into rioting, assault, arson and looting. Resulting actions to demonize, defund and restructure police departments, many of which are now being reversed in a desperate effort to reduce increased violence, resulted in demoralized police forces, early police retirements, a flight of residents and businesses from crime-infested cities, the bidding up of home prices in safer communities and increased gun sales to people who no longer have confidence in the ability of police to protect them and their families. Murder rates rose by 37% in a sample of over 50 large and middle-size U.S. cities in 2020, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald. Over 2000 more Americans were killed by violent crime in 2020 than in the preceding year. In Milwaukee, for example, violent crime reportedly rose by 95% in 2020, in Louisville by 78%, in Seattle by 74%, in New Orleans by 62% and in Atlanta by 58%. In Chicago, 55 children were shot and killed in 2020. In one violent day alone in Chicago following the Floyd killing, 18 people were reportedly murdered. Are we to believe that this carnage was the fault of Donald Trump?
The increases are continuing under the Biden administration, of course, and are predicted to increase still further this summer. The number of shooting victims in Chicago, for example, increased by a reported 43% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with a similar period in 2020 and in New York City by a reported 78.6% in the first four and one-half months. Are these also the fault of Mr. Trump?
This carnage, which disproportionately affects Blacks, is occurring in Democrat-run cities and states, many with black law enforcement officials. The federal government and the president are not in charge of local law enforcement; mayors, county officials and governors are and many have failed miserably in their primary responsibility of protecting their citizens.
James Carville knows that this will be a major issue in the 2022 elections and that the performance of Democrat mayors and governors is difficult to defend. They will be forced to answer to the voters for this failing performance and they have no answer so he offers a novel one, to wit: Blame Donald Trump. The Democrat party must “aggressively begin to own the crime issue,” he writes. But it already owns the blame for it and the voters are smart enough to know it. Most folks will put the safety of their families at the top of their priorities and demand that their elected officials do as well.