Democrats Are Trying to Appease Left-Wing Revolutionaries. It Won’t Work.
Published in The Washington Post
on August 11, 2020
The political left has always been split between those who want reform and those who want revolution. The Seattle City Council’s decision to reduce funding for the city’s police department by 41 percent shows that split is again emerging in force.
Mainstream Democrats have assured us that the “defund the police” slogan isn’t to be taken literally. Former vice president Joe Biden has rejected the idea of defunding the police, although he continues to play footsie with the party’s revolutionary wing by saying he would redirect some funds. He and his fellow Democrats presumably have at least one eye on the polls, which show the public overwhelmingly opposes defunding the police. Support is relatively low even among Democrats and Black Americans, with only half and 45 percent of those demographics, respectively, supporting the idea in a mid-June polling average.
Revolutionaries, however, don’t care about public opinion. And so Seattle’s council surged forward Monday night with its 7-to-1 vote — the only no vote coming from a member who said the 41 percent cut wasn’t large enough. The city’s police chief has already quit in protest over the savage cuts, and one can only imagine how many of the city’s officers will look elsewhere for jobs.
Seattle is not an isolated case. Minneapolis’s City Council has also voted to defund its police force and replace it with a “holistic” entity. Meanwhile, violence has continued in Portland, Ore., despite the removal of federal agents, and looting rocked Chicago’s prestigious Magnificent Mile Sunday night. In neither case does it appear that the Democrats who run these cities are able to either restore public order or restrain the agitators who have used peaceful protests as cover to engage in more violence.
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Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.