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September 27, 2022

Noticing how crime has become a leading issue in 2022 campaign

Way back in 2008, I remember complaining on this blog about the fact that crime and mass incarceration (which was peaking around that time) was getting very attention in the 2008 campaign (see, e.g., posts here and here and here).  But, as highlighted by these recent major press pieces, the 2022 campaign is already seeing plenty of crime talk:

From Fox News, "GOP hopes tough-on-crime message defuses abortion backlash with suburban women"

From the New York Times, "G.O.P. Redoubles Efforts to Tie Democrats to High Crime Rates"

From the New York Times, "Fetterman’s Push for Clemency Becomes an Attack Line for Oz"

From the News Nation, "Republicans bet crime will be winning issue in midterms"

From Roll Call, "At the Races: Cop votes and crime ads"

From the Washington Post, "GOP strategy elevates clashes over crime, race in midterm battlegrounds"

September 27, 2022 at 02:18 PM | Permalink


My colleague at "Ringside at the Reckoning" has something to say about this subject, https://ringsideatthereckoning.substack.com/p/its-not-just-the-economy-concern

Yes, the Democrats are worried, as they should be. But as is so often the case, the problem in their view is not crime -- which a wretched and racist United States has earned over many years -- but people who are concerned about crime. They should just shut up.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 28, 2022 4:55:09 PM

Crime is always a significant issue. Regardless of what crime statistics may say about crime, the view of John Q. Public (fed in part by the "if it bleeds, it leads, mentality of local newscasts and the inherent drama of crime stories that make them crime shows and crime movies popular) is that crime like taxes is always too high.

How significant crime is as an issue depends on what other issues are significant, but crime never stops being an issue. But very few politicians over the years have gone wrong by posturing as being tough on crime even if their toughness is mostly by passing symbolic new offenses that add very little to the existing criminal law. For example, my state several years ago passed a "vehicle hijacking" statute. The elements are mostly the same as robbery (other than the additional element of the property being a vehicle) and it actually has a lesser punishment than robbery because vehicle hijacking is not a dangerous felony. The people that passed it tout it as being tough on crime, but it is mostly used by prosecutors and defense attorneys as an alternative to robbery when we want to reduce the time that the offender is serving.

Posted by: tmm | Sep 29, 2022 1:26:31 PM

tmm --

John Q. Public is mostly right. Crime always is too high (since ideally we should have none, and we're a long, long way from that), and taxes are often too high, especially considering what we get for them.

Politicians do posture, you bet, but there have been some notable improvements in public policy that helped bring crime down in the Nineties and up until 2014: More police, more pro-active policing, and greater use of incarceration and its incapacitating effects. So I think that the politicians who brought about those things get a B+ rather than an F.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 1, 2022 12:07:26 PM

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