It's not just the economy. Concern about crime is also driving the midterms.
You can tell, because Dems are talking about Willie Horton
I agree with Bill’s analysis of the battle for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. It seems highly likely, FiveThirtyEight notwithstanding, that the GOP will retake the House.
However, I question whether Election Day will truly be a happy one for America if Republicans are unable to gain control of the Senate. I like to think I’m a glass-half-full guy. But a half-full glass is only half satisfying.
Bill’s election analysis correctly focuses on well-founded concerns about the economy. Another factor helping Republicans is well-founded concern about crime.
That concern certainly concerns Democrats. The Washington Post acknowledges this in a front-page article called, in the paper edition, “GOP focus on crime stirs fears among Democrats.”
According to the Post, Democratic candidates and their media cheerleaders have a two-prong response to the GOP’s focus on crime. First, the candidates argue that they are tough on crime. Second, their surrogates claim the GOP’s focus on the issue is racist.
These two contentions aren’t logically inconsistent. In the real world, however, they cannot be reconciled.
It is precisely because Democratic candidates subscribe to BLM’s view that a focus on fighting crime through traditional tough measures is racist — or are afraid to resist this line — that Democrats have not been, and still are not, tough enough on crime.
The Post’s prime example of a Democrat under fire for softness on crime is Mandela Barnes, the Dems’ candidate for the Senate in Wisconsin. According to the Post, Barnes is running ads “seeking to assure voters he will fight crime and support law enforcement.”
Barnes accuses Republicans of lying when they say he wants to abolish ICE and defund the police. Yet, as the Post admits, Barnes was photographed wearing a T-shirt that said “Abolish ICE.” You can’t be much more clear than that. Barnes also advocated cutting what he called “over-bloated budgets in police departments.”
Johnson’s focus on the issue of crime appears to be helping him. Polling in August had Barnes in front by 2-7 points. (Trafalgar was the poll that showed a lead of only two points). In September, four of the five polls reported by Real Clear Politics have Johnson ahead. The other poll, by Democrat-leaning PPP, has the two candidates tied.
The worsening economy, especially the declining stock market, undoubtedly has contributed to this turnaround. However, the director of the Marquette Law School poll tells the Post that Johnson’s crime-focused ads have come “fast and furious” and have probably contributed to the worsening of Barnes’ numbers.
Naturally, the Post sympathizes with the Democrats’ claim that the GOP’s focus on the crime issue is racist. It quotes a black pollster who worked for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. He calls the GOP’s ads “Willie Horton 2.0.”
This, of course, refers to a highly successful attack ad against Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign. Horton was an inmate at a Massachusetts corrections facility serving a life sentence for murdering a man when he received a weekend pass thanks to a prison furlough program maintained by then-governor Michael Dukakis over the objection of the state legislature. While out of prison, Horton twice raped a Maryland woman after pistol-whipping, knifing, binding, and gagging her fiancé.
Democrats howled “racism” and have been invoking the Horton spot for decades in order to ward off ads attacking them for being soft on crime. This amounts to an attempt by Democrats to escape the dire consequences of their lenient social engineering projects by shouting “racism.”
The stunt has succeeded in part because of Republican cowardice, but mostly because crime receded dramatically thanks to tough-on-crime policies adopted after Dukakis’ defeat.
Now that crime is again rampant — thanks in large part to the abandonment of tough-on-crime policies — invoking Willie Horton isn’t going to deter any sensible Republican candidate.
Nor should it. The Willie Horton was neither illegitimate nor racist. Dukakis’ decision to release Horton, in violation of the wishes of a liberal state legislature, directly led to multiple felonies and serious injuries.
Dukakis endlessly claimed credit for “the Massachusetts miracle.” This was an economic upsurge due mainly to national trends and Reaganite policies. (The alleged economic miracle would end while Dukakis was still governor.) Why shouldn’t he have been held accountable for the consequences of his unilateral decision to release a convicted murderer for a weekend?
Nor was the use of Horton’s picture in the ad racist. Horton was a scruffy-looking black man. There’s little room for doubt that the ad would have used his picture if he had been a scruffy-looking white man.
If the 2022 campaign finally ends more than three decades of Republicans being cowed by unfair blowback against the Willie Horton ad, this will be a happy biproduct of what, I hope, will be a happy midterm election.
I’m most concerned about the crimes committed by Joe Biden, Merrick Garland, and Chris Wray on behalf of the Fascist Eugenicist Oligarchy against the last bastion of free people on the planet, the American Middle Class. Republicans suck, but I’ll be crawling over white hot shards of broken glass to vote for them in self defense if I have to since they are most likely to screw me over less than the Communist controlled Democrats. Happy days!