News & Politics

'Defund the Police' a Losing Issue... in Seattle?

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

There were six candidates on stage at Tuesday’s Seattle mayoral forum, and none of them support cutting the police budget.

Seattle? Really? In fact, many of the candidates advocated for increasing the number of cops.

Last summer, the Seattle City Council endorsed cutting the police budget by 50 percent. What happened?

“I think the pendulum has swung against ‘defund the police,’” candidate Lance Randall said after the debate. “You can see it in these forums — the people who used to talk about it either don’t talk about it anymore or are now actively backpedaling.”

What’s next? Seattle elects a mayor with — dare I say — common sense?

Seattle Times:

Randall stole the show a bit at this forum, hosted by the Downtown Seattle Association, when he told about how he’d been shot at by thieves just this past Saturday in his Rainier Beach neighborhood.

As first reported by KOMO News on Monday, Randall had been awakened at 4 a.m. by the sound of mechanical sawing. On the street outside, two people were cutting out a parked car’s catalytic converter. Randall went out and tried to get the license plate of the thieves’ car, but they spotted him and then fired five shots, some in the air and some at him, as they sped away.

Randall, who is black, had a close call. As he crouched behind his car, one of the bullets struck the headrest.

“We’ve had several forums, and I feel as though there’s an assumption that people of color do not want police officers in their neighborhoods to protect them,” Randall said. “We need police officers.”

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Most of the people making the assumptions are themselves people of color. As a result, Randall will no doubt be branded a “traitor” by Black Lives Matter and other activists.

“I guess I’ve grown weary of the City Council and others in the city attempting to speak and act on behalf of Black people, without asking and without considering the ramifications of some of these actions,” he said.

“We are having nightly shootings,” he went on. “As someone who was just in one of these shootings, I think I can say that this community desperately wants someone to respond when we call 911. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to reform the police or that we can’t do violence prevention programs and other alternative approaches. It means we need both.”

Last summer, as the “defund the police” movement took over city councils and citizen groups clamored to have the police disarmed, national Democrats were terrified. They feared the backlash of “defunding the police” as a campaign issue, concerned that even black people would think twice about supporting them.

The “defund the police” issue broke the wrong way for Democrats on Election Day 2020, and it will continue to plague Democrats going forward. As New York mayoral candidate Eric Adams, a black former cop and strong advocate for fully funding the NYPD proved, it’s not a racial issue.

Democrats believed they had the perfect wedge issue that would drive blacks to the polls and elect more Democrats to office. Instead, blacks voted for Democrats despite “defund the police,” not because of it. And now, the party is terrified it’s stuck with its previous support for the issue going into 2022. “Defund the police” is a winning issue for Republicans, and it’s too late for Democrats to do anything about it.