by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Black voters are concerned about violent crime. Most Americans agree, with one notable exception: White liberals.
According to a recent Pew survey of registered voters, 82 percent of black Democrats said violent crime was a “very important” issue in the 2022 election, compared with just 33 percent of white Democrats.
Overall, 61 percent of registered voters described violent crime as a very important factor when deciding who to vote for in the upcoming midterm election. The groups least likely to agree with that assessment were Democratic voters (49 percent), voters under 30 (44 percent), voters with graduate degrees (44 percent), and self-described liberals (34 percent).
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D., N.Y.) is a white liberal running in a state President Joe Biden won by 23 points. Nevertheless, her Republican challenger, Rep. Lee Zeldin, is within striking distance thanks in part to his campaign’s focus on violent crime. “Mr. Zeldin could win because independents are siding with Republicans on crime and inflation rather than with Democrats, whose concerns over protecting democracy take precedence,” former Clinton adviser Mark Penn wrote in the New York Times this week.
The Democratic Party’s increasingly radical approach to crime in recent years has already provoked a backlash from voters. Even the liberal residents of San Francisco were outraged at District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s attempt to create a “fair” justice system by refusing to punish criminals. Boudin was recalled in June by a vote of 55 percent to 45 percent. The following month, voters in deep-blue Maryland voted to oust Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, who adopted similar “reforms” even as murder rates soared.
Generally speaking, journalists and other Democrats have struggled to address or even acknowledge voter concerns about crime. They repeatedly attack Republican efforts to highlight crime in campaign ads as “racist dog whistles.”