It really was a no-brainer. Democrats all over the country embraced the idea of “defunding the police” in its various guises and many of them lost their races.
What’s really all that hard to figure out?
Most Americans support the police. They are concerned about some of what they see from cops but overall, they know that a few bad police officers should not condemn the entire law enforcement community.
So when calls go up to defund the police in the midst of a violent crime wave not seen in more than 20 years, the voters’ reaction was entirely predictable.
“I think the defund the police issue hurt a lot of our candidates,” he told the Wall Street Journal, adding that Democrats in his state lost after facing attacks on the topic.
Ryan was one of four House Democrats in Ohio who won reelection — 12 Republicans maintained their seats in the state.
Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s House race has yet to be officially called, but she’s one of the lucky Democrats. She says that an attack ad accusing her of wanting to “defund the police” cost her dearly.
Spanberger on the Dem caucus call: We lost races we shouldn’t have lost.
Defund police almost cost me my race bc of an attack ad.
Don’t say socialism ever again.
Need to get back to basics.
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) November 5, 2020
Republicans are celebrating their success in using the “defund the police” issue as a wedge issue to beat Democrats over the head all over the country. When all is said and done, that one issue may be seen as a breakwater against the “blue wave” that was supposed to wash away Republicans.
Minnesota Republican Rep. Tom Emmer, who chairs the National Republican Committee, said that the GOP attack over defunding the police was effective in hurting Democrats “everywhere that it was used.”
“You can’t equivocate. You either support the men and women of law enforcement or you don’t,” he said.
Though not every race has been decided, Republicans retained a number of their seats in key Senate races, spelling optimism that will likely maintain control of the lower chamber. The balance in power may come down to two runoff races in Georgia in January, for the seats of Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
The Democrats aren’t entirely stupid. They knew the issue was hurting them and tried toning it down in the weeks prior to election day. But they couldn’t outrun the frenzy of “defund the police” demonstrations and the approving words of Democrats entirely. It will be a while before the statisticians can sift through the data to determine what worked and what didn’t. But it seems fairly certain that at least in some districts, the “defund the police” issue played an outsized role in determining who won and who lost.