The only real reason a political party shifts focus so dramatically from its goals to issues it wishes it could avoid is terrible internal polling.
Something strange is afoot in the party of Jefferson. With the Democrats still spinning after the collapse of their election bill — and progressives furious with the White House’s seeming lack of commitment to that effort — the president has already pivoted, announcing a plan to tackle the violent crime wave besetting American cities.
And the vice president? She’s on her way to the border, 91 days, two countries, and countless laughs after it was first assigned by the boss.
Some might notice that cracking down on rampant crime and tackling a crisis at the border were not topics of discussion when now-President Joe Biden and now-Vice President Kamala (briefly) shared a debate stage two years ago. In fact, it was quite the opposite, littered with jabs and brags about who was more anti-cop or more open-border. So what gives?
“Vice President Kamala Harris is heading to the U.S.-Mexico border this week,” Politico opened another article, “amid an unrelenting chorus of criticism from Republicans over her failure to visit there.”
“Some might say that the other party was for defunding the police,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki even said during Wednesday’s press conference, citing the GOP’s pushback on a Democratic social-workers bill.
Of course, none of the above scribes actually think Republican Party pressure is the reason for this about-face, and even Psaki is smart enough to look embarrassed to try the talking point, nearly walking it back right away.
They all know that the only real reason a political party shifts focus so dramatically from its goals to issues it wishes it could avoid is terrible internal polling: numbers coming back predicting election disasters, battleground states looking dicey, voters across the country responding negatively.
People don’t admit it when this is the reason (unless they’re Don Lemon, who leaked CNN’s internal polling and is a special person), but it’s the same thing we saw when Democrats reversed course on last summer’s deadly riots and the ongoing lockdowns.
And we saw it in real time in New York City, the liberal capital of the East, when on Tuesday a former New York Police Department captain who promised to tackle crime and put more cops on the streets came in first place in the mayoral election and is likely on the path to victory.
How’d he pull it off? “His message,” the Intelligencer reports, “almost singularly emphasized fighting crime (the top issue among all Democratic voters)… He campaigned on increasing the NYPD’s budget and presence on the streets after many candidates initially embraced ‘defund the police’ rhetoric following citywide protests against the police last summer.”
Primary elections are about as trustworthy a poll as you can get, and Democrats are finally listening. But here’s their quagmire: They don’t have a single solution. Both the crisis at the border and the crisis in the cities are the direct results of their policies of dropping enforcement of crime in both places, and what do Biden and Harris want to do in response? Crack down on gun-store owners and fix the economies of Central America.
Lofty goals, both, but it wasn’t a gun-store owner who dragged two young parents from their car and executed them in the street over the weekend or shot 52 other people in the city of Chicago alone. Unless there’s been the largest single one-year increase in gun store owners illegally selling handguns since the country started keeping such records in the 20th century, it doesn’t explain what The Washington Post called “the largest single one-year increase in homicides since the country started keeping such records in the 20th century.” Bullets don’t fall from the sky, and undermining and punishing and demoralizing police isn’t consequence-free.
While grueling poverty once trapped Central Americans in Central America, with increased wealth came increased access to internet, cell phones, and the money needed to pay criminal cartels to smuggle humans. While a roaring economy would undoubtedly severely curtail illegal immigration, Harris’s ability to create one here or there approaches zero, despite her best efforts, leaving enforcement of America’s border laws the only immediate salve.
The Democratic Party is careening for a collision with reality, and voters are catching on. Their ability to reverse several planks of the new left and avoid the crash, however, looks near-impossible.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.