Ads attacking Democrats for undermining cops are fair game
A political ad targeting Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden's campaign has caused the liberal media to erupt in criticism. It depicts a nervous elderly woman watching a chaotic nightly newscast while an intruder is breaking into her home.
She frantically dials 9-1-1 while the audio from the news commentator reports on municipalities across the country defunding police. The phone rings three times before the answering machine picks up: "Hello you've reached 9-1-1, I'm sorry there is no one here to answer your emergency call. Leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can."
The commercial ends with the assailant attacking the woman. The tagline appears: "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America".
Campaign strategists have long recognized that human emotions are dynamic allies, and skilled communicators can be highly persuasive. Trump tapped into that visceral suspicion and rage in 2016 and rode it all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Political puppet masters have forged public opinion for decades.
Is depicting a crime-soaked America, and a lack of support for police, justified?
The liberal talking heads are bemoaning that the Trump campaign is being disingenuous, overreaching in its depiction of lawless chaos.
But is it an overreach?
The advertisement may take some liberty with Biden's position by suggesting he wants to dismantle police (he doesn’t), but I contend it accurately conveys the sentiment liberal America has for the police. Many Democratic mayors, governors and congresspeople are hell-bent on breaking the back of law enforcement.
Seattle City Council pressed hard to defund police and move 911 response dispatchers out of the department. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sliced $1 billion from his police budget. The Baltimore City Council approved a $22.4 million budget cut for the department. The Los Angeles City Council voted to cut funding by $150 million.
Here in Connecticut, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin agreed to a plan on June 11 to slash police department funding by essentially $2 million. Other major municipalities discussing cuts include Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Diego and Portland – all run by Democrats.
This demand for less policing has proven to be the accelerant for an explosion in violent crime. The Chicago Police Department reported 31 murders in early July, a 417% increase from the same time last year. Atlanta has seen a 240% jump in murders this year, while homicides in Houston have increased by 37%. In Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle violent crimes have risen.
And still, many Democrats embrace defund?
Connecticut has inserted itself into the police controversy. Last week, after nearly eight hours of tumultuous debate, state representatives voted in favor of the police accountability bill, 86-58. Wednesday, state senators acquiesced and, despite furious resistance from Connecticut police unions, voted in favor 21-15. Within the legislation are dozens of questionable changes including clumsy guidelines for the use of lethal force, a ban on night goggles and anything resembling military-grade equipment.
Republicans were unified in their opposition.
The ultimate silver bullet targeted at cops, however, is the provision limiting qualified immunity. Qualified immunity grants government officials performing discretionary functions immunity from civil suits. Ending qualified immunity exposes police officers and their municipalities to civil lawsuits, with major implications for local governments. This bill felt less like a cooperative endeavor and more like punishment for law enforcement.
Several Republican state senators appeared on my radio broadcast to decry the elimination of qualified immunity.
20th District Senator Paul Formica said, "The way the language is written, the bill allows for multiple opportunities for frivolous lawsuits that will have to be defended by the police. The immunity that would be removed from the bill creates a problem for the 99.999% of officers who go in each and every day and do the right thing."
18th District Senator Heather Somers responded to my question about Connecticut Attorney General William Tong's failure to address the potential legal ramifications of the bill. "It's a complete joke…a disservice to every citizen, every officer and every person that lives in this state. This bill, in essence, is a way to defund the police department. Municipalities will not be able to afford to keep the size of their current departments."
Minority Leader Senator Len Fasano’s reaction: "I see the fingerprints of the ACLU all over this bill. I think it is very poorly drafted. I suspect you'll see law-enforcement career changes and an awful lot of retirements."
Connecticut Democrats have made the job of protecting and serving simply too risky. In the end, this legislation will lead to a mass exodus of police, making us less safe.
Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.
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