This Week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 6
- Biden has a serious crime problem
- Key Democrat drops out of PA-SEN race
- Minnesota’s Dem governor is at least vulnerable
Biden’s crime problem: We have previously pointed out that inflation is a highly underrated issue in political life in the United States. It motivates voters a lot more than one might expect. But there’s another one that Joe Biden is facing in equal measure to inflation this year. That is crime.
Biden felt the need to go out and give a speech on crime last week in order to tamp this down. It was full of nostrums about gun control. But the availability of guns has stayed constant while crime has spiked. The one is not causing the other. The widespread perception is that the crime is running amok, and that Biden is doing little or nothing about it, or even making it worse. In fact, 76 percent of Americans said in December that the government is not doing enough to address violent crime, and Biden’s approval rating on crime has been persistently low since last summer. Last month, an ABC News poll gave Biden a 36% approval rating on the issue of crime.
Crime, like inflation, is something people experience daily. A lack of safety in one’s neighborhood is a much bigger deal than a tax increase. It is an enormous motivation. The high crime of the early 1990s helped Republicans to retake the House of Representatives for the first time in more than 40 years in 1994. This year, with murders skyrocketing in such cities as Philadelphia (it set a murder record last year), Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and others, Biden has a lot to worry about.
Murders were up approximately 44% in 2021 over 2019. This is an astounding development after 20 years of almost uninterrupted declines in violent crime.
“Progressive prosecutors”: Some of this is genuinely Biden’s fault, and some of it isn’t. The crime wave had been building up before his election — in fact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was warning about it as early as 2017.
What isn’t Biden’s fault, but will hurt him anyway, is that liberal prosecutors have been elected in various local jurisdictions and are letting career criminals off the hook based on a misplaced aversion to incarceration. These “progressive prosecutors,” as they call themselves, have come to power often with financial help from George Soros. Their ideological push has been to change the focus of criminal justice from detaining and punishing criminals to protecting criminals from the consequences of their actions.
Criminal immigrants: The part that Biden himself definitely does deserve blame for is related to what federal prosecutors are doing. First of all, his own hand-picked Federal prosecutors let a killer off the hook in Minneapolis by reducing charges of an arsonist in the George Floyd riots. In addition, however, Biden’s administration is permitting illegal immigrant criminals to stay in the United States unless they have literally been convicted of murder. This means that a lot of immigrant criminals who commit crimes such as burglary, simple assault, and others, will not be deported by biden. The illegal immigrant who drew swastikas on Washington D.C.’s Union station last week is an example of an illegal immigrant whose voluminous rap sheet (35 pages) is not enough to get him deported under Joe Biden.
With liberal district attorneys refusing to prosecute, reducing, and dropping all the charges for serious crimes against so many career criminals, a lot of criminal deportations that should happen for the sake of public safety are not taking place under Biden. That makes him personally responsible for a lot of crimes, including everything from murders to drunken drivers killing people.
Combine this with the active encouragement that Biden and other Democrats gave to violent rioters in summer 2020, and this is a very volatile issue that just happens to be a genuine kitchen table issue.
This might be an even bigger issue than public resentment over endless coronavirus restrictions. It truly has the potential to blow up in Biden’s face.
No-bill Biden: One more point. Something must also be said about the ineffectiveness of the Biden administration in changing anything significant through legislation. His ineffectiveness is truly historic.
Prior to Biden, it seemed almost inevitable that every president would at least be able to get his tax cuts or increases (depending on his proclivities) through Congress, and besides that perhaps some major policy change on top of that. Trump got his tax reform bill, for example. Barack Obama got his tax increases plus Obamacare. George W. Bush got his tax cuts, plus several pieces of legislation that constituted major policy — No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit in Medicare, etc.
Biden does not seem to be getting anything. The bipartisan infrastructure bill might just barely count, but it wasn’t what he wanted to pass.
That is what makes his presidency stand apart so far — his inability to change anything in Congress.
Florida: Before he can run for president — and he is gaining ground even against his old pal Donald Trump, in case he runs again — Ron DeSantis has to win re-election as governor. DeSantis is certainly popular enough, as many polls suggest. But at this point, he does at least hold a convincing lead over both former Gov. Charlie Crist (six points) and Nikki Fried (11 points). In addition, his own numbers are solid — he stands at 49 and 51 percent in those two matchups, which is very good for an incumbent.
The same poll shows Marco Rubio up 8 points against Rep. Val Demings, in case that race is of interest. Republicans are solidly in charge of Florida, and what they would like most is for the state’s races to remain a bit sleepy in this year’s midterm as they fight to maintain as many House seats as possible under the new redistricting rules. They already have the advantage of DeSantis as the de facto party leader, which helped the party raise an astounding $12 million in the second half of last year.
Minnesota: The Gopher State has been on a clear Republican trajectory when you look at presidential results, but it still hasn’t had a Republican governor in a decade. Gov. Tim Walz, however, must be viewed as vulnerable after a local media poll testing him against six different Republican opponents. Although Walz leads all comers — he has less than 45% in every case against relatively obscure Republican opponents — former Sen. Scott Jensen, 2020 congressional nominee Kendall Qualls, state Senate President Paul Gazelka, and state Sen. Michelle Benson.
North Dakota: For what it’s worth, conservative state Rep. Rick Becker announced a longshot challenge to Sen. John Hoeven over the weekend. Not that Hoeven, a former governor, is in serious danger, but he isn’t a firebrand either. This could become interesting if there are Trump endorsements or if Democrats fail to field a credible opponent, which would make sort of “free play” in the June 14 Republican primary.
Pennsylvania: As the Republican field grows, the Democratic field keeps narrowing. Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh has dropped out of the Senate race, leaving it as a contest between the more moderate Rep. Conor Lamb and the more radical Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. This makes the primary a clear ideological struggle that will test just how far left the state’s Democratic Party has lurched. Pennsylvania’s primary is an early one — May 17.