The Irony of the GOP’s “Soft on Crime” Campaign
Are you sick of the media hammering home that “polls show” voters are so concerned about crime, they’re leaning towards giving the GOP control of Congress? I know I am. I’m also sick of GOP PAC funded ads that lie about Democrats and crime.
Above is a screenshot of a Facebook post. In the post, there’s a photo of what appears to be a news article. But LOOK CLOSER. On top of the larger, bolder text, which actually contains an outright LIE about John Fetterman, is a “paid advertisement” disclaimer.
At the bottom, it says “Paid for by Citizens for Sanity.” My stomach churned reading the comments on this post. So many people a) bought the lie contained within this post, and b) read this as a news article. A Google search of “Citizens for Sanity” reveals this organization was formed by former Trump administration officials. They’re spending millions to promote lies about Democrats’ record on crime, because polls show it’s one of the top voter concerns.
And by the way, lies in ad after ad after ad hinting that Senate candidate Fetterman released or wants to release nearly every criminal in the state of PA originated with his work on a clemency board whose job it was to release people in prison for whom evidence proved they were innocent. I haven’t researched this, but I’m betting a lot of them were not white.
Sure seems to me that when Republicans refer to “crime” in their ads, it’s a very narrow definition, and probably a racist dog whistle. I live in the Philadelphia area, and I’ve gotten very tired of seeing racist dog whistle comments about crime on nearly every Philly news clip that involves a Black perpetrator (though I suspect these posts are made by bots…I’ll be writing a separate article about that.)
First off, even when you look at general murder rates, Democratic-controlled cities, counties and states don’t compare to red states. According to the data, In 2020, 8 of the 10 states with the highest murder rates in 2020 voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election this century. Republican policies sure haven’t done much to make people safer.
But the media — especially right-wing propaganda coming from Fox News and Newsmax — has done a bang-up job really spotlighting Black crime in urban areas to rile up their bigoted audience, such that even when the Democratic candidate for governor in Oklahoma stated the truth in her debate — that Tulsa’s crime rate is worse than Los Angeles; worse than New York — her opponent turned it into a joke. As in, “everyone KNOWS crime is worse in these big Democratic cities, are you insane?” And the audience laughed with him.
The “soft on crime” accusations go hand in hand with the lie that “Democrats want to defund the police.” If Democrats truly wanted to defund police, why was there money in the American Rescue Plan — which NO Republican voted for, by the way, for state police forces? (Ignoring that GOP portrayals of the “defund the police” are reductionist and ignore the nuance of what the campaign to do so REALLY means — another subject for another article.)
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While we’re on the subject of crime, why won’t Republicans talk about mass shootings, which are overwhelmingly committed by white males? Do those incidences not fall under the “crime” that Republicans are whipping up paranoia about? Could that be because Republicans don’t want to do anything about these uniquely American tragedies, because they take too much NRA money?
Greg Abbott is the perfect example of a mass-shooting enabler. Mass shootings went up 62% when Abbott and the GOP-controlled Texas legislature passed one of the loosest permitless carry laws in the nation. How does it help police to enable your entire citizenry to be armed? Gun violence studies at Harvard University and the RAND Corp. overwhelming show a correlation between loose gun control laws and an increase in homicide and suicide.
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How about the crimes Trump and his insurrectionists have committed? It’s sure looking like Trump has committed one of the worst breaches of national security we’ve ever seen, ignoring what the Rosenbergs did, when he pilfered thousands of national security documents from the White House. We have yet to see any accountability for the dozens upon dozens of crimes the former President committed, even though Mitch McConnell himself seemed to advocate for indicting him once he was out of office, after January 6.
How about seditious conspiracy? Is that not a crime the GOP thinks Americans should worry about? If it was, why would they keep portraying the Jan. 6 insurrectionists as innocent victims? I guess beating cops with American flags isn’t a crime, either, since so many of the Jan 6 rioters only think blue lives matter when they’re not trying to force Trump to become our forever authoritarian ruler.
How many Republicans were pardoned by Trump for crimes, or asked for a pardon? What about the state Republican officials accused of drafting fake electors to override the will of the people and install Donald Trump as president? Not only is that a soft coup, it’s the REAL election fraud.
And what about the Republicans who’ve been convicted of pedophilia and child trafficking? So many Republicans have been convicted of sexual assault or sex trafficking within the last decade, that entire lists have been compiled.
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Speaking of sex trafficking, is Matt Gaetz ever going to be indicted for his alleged crimes? Will Jim Jordan ever face accountability for enabling the molestation of wrestlers under his charge at OSU?
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How about the Boebert family? Rumors have abounded that Lauren Boebert was an escort and once serviced Ted Cruz. We don’t even need to mention that, because she admitted herself that she’s been arrested at least twice.
Her husband was arrested for exposing himself to minors in a bowling alley. Classy.
How about Ron DeSantis kidnapping migrants in Texas and dumping them in various places? Legal experts have suggested that not only was his political stunt immoral and unethical, it could be downright criminal.
How about financial corruption — how many Republicans or Republican donors have been convicted of grifting? Tax evasion (besides Trump)? Taking PPP money from the American Rescue Plan that they didn’t need?
Aren’t those crimes?
Clearly, whether or not Republicans are “tough on crime” depends on how you define crime.
Last week, a deranged lunatic whose social media posts suggest he was inspired by a regular diet of right-wing election lies, hate speech and conspiracy theories broke into Nancy Pelosi’s house and attack her husband, Paul Pelosi, with a hammer. Had Pelosi not managed to get to a room where he could phone police, who showed up just as the attack began, he could be dead.
The assailant echoed the creepy calls the January 6th insurrectionists were heard as they roamed the Capitol, smearing excrement and beating Capitol police officers: “Where’s Nancy?”
I wish I could say it’s a surprise that right-wing media used this attack to further bolster their claims that all crime should be blamed on Democrats. It’s nausea-inducing, but not a shock.
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Also no surprise that no right-wing media outlet is pointing out the elephant in the room — that even Nancy Pelosi’s own colleagues have attacked her relentlessly and made violent threats against her for years.
And what did GOP party leader Donald Trump have to say about the attack against Paul Pelosi yesterday? Nothing. Crickets. He did, however, try to incite violence against the federal judge presiding over the tax evasion case against the Trump Org. Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. We really need to look at where we’re at as a country. None of this is good for our democracy or society as a whole.
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tl, dr: Crime can be blamed on Republicans or Democrats depending on what your definition of crime is, and what biased media you ingest.
Copyright 2022 S. Wade