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Republicans Say Dems' Abandoning 'Defund Police' Won't Work at Polls

Democrats are looking to shake off the “defund the police” slogan, moving to be more visibly proactive in addressing rising crime rates as Republicans seek to tie them back to the 2020 movement ahead of November’s midterms, The Hill reports. "Enough is enough because we know we can do things about this," Biden said in his visit to New York City last Thursday. "But for the resistance, we're getting from some sectors of the government and the Congress and the state legislatures and the organizational structures out there ... the answer is not to abandon our streets, that's not the answer." Republicans are looking to pin recent crime increases on Democrats, in an extension of a strategy they used successfully in 2020 to tie down-ballot Democrats to activists seeking to “defund the police” after high-profile police killings of Black Americans.

“Joe Biden and Democrats’ soft-on-crime policies have emboldened criminals in Democrat-run cities across the country,” said Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, reacting to Biden’s remarks on Thursday. “Americans are less safe because of Democrats’ failed leadership, and until Joe Biden condemns dangerous policies and anti-police rhetoric from Democrats like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, he is complicit in the crime surges across the country.”

The public appetite for reducing police funding has waned. A Pew Research survey released in October found 47 percent of Americans said police spending in their respective communities should be increased, up from 31 percent in June of 2020. The poll also found that support for decreasing police funding dropped from 25 percent in 2020 to 15 percent. “Defund the police is an absolutely stupid slogan,” said Democratic strategist Adrian Hemond. “Even if you agree with the policy goals of what folks in this movement are pushing, it’s a very bad slogan because it’s not actually at least a hundred percent indicative of what they say they want to do, at least most of them.” "Defund' ..."became an issue that defined many races in 2020 and I don’t think we can allow the same mistake to happen in 2022,” said Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright. “Therefore I think it’s good that we’re being crystal clear about our position on the issue.”

Democrats were busy pointing out that House Republicans opposed the president’s American Rescue Plan last year, which provided $350 million to help local governments, which include police departments.

Republicans say the strategy won’t work at the ballot box come November. “Voters aren’t going to believe that Democrats are suddenly tough on crime after they spent the last two years trying to defund the police,” said Mike Berg of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. “The fact is Democrats’ pro-crime agenda is the reason we are seeing a wave of violent crime against the country,” he added.

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