by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Democratic Party is worried about crime. “In private and public,” Axios reports, Democrats “are warning that rising crime — and the old and new progressive calls to defund the police — represent the single biggest threat to their electoral chances in 2022.”
If only they had a president who could credibly address this issue.
From the start of his political career, Joe Biden has been a “tough on crime” sort of guy. In 1972, when he first ran for the Senate, Biden alternated between arguing that his opponent was too old and contending that his opponent was out of touch. “In 1950 Cale Boggs hoped to make Americans safe from Stalin,” one Biden flyer proposed. “In 1972 Joe Biden hopes to make Americans safe from criminals.” This would become a theme. …
… As a classical liberal, a federalist, and an opponent of the War on Drugs, I object to pretty much every one of the crime bills that Joe Biden worked on while in the Senate. To a certain extent, Biden now seems to object to them as well. And yet one does not have to like what Biden did when he was a legislator to grasp that it has left him perfectly placed to push back against the figures within his own party who have gone far too far in the opposite direction. …
… If Biden is to focus in on this issue, he would do well to put aside the Kulturkampf stuff and focus in on the things that have changed over the last few years — among them, the villainization of the police, the widespread encouragement of rioting, the abolition of cash bail in many cities and jurisdictions, a dramatic rise in drug addiction, and the installation of a host of district attorneys who are not actually interested in enforcing the law.