Opinion: Minneapolis’ ‘Defund the Police’ vote question should alert Democrats nationwide

In addition to New Yorkers deciding who will take over the leadership of America’s largest city, the races for governor of New Jersey and Virginia are likely to dominate media coverage on election night. Pundits will be in overdrive, dice and dissecting polls and poll data in search of clues that could give an indication of what it all means for the central midterm elections in 2022 as well as the presidential race in 2024.

Still, there may be a problem that threatens bigger than any of these high-profile races in November: Question 2 on the Minneapolis vote, perhaps better known as the “Defunding the Police” referendum.

This controversial poll, triggered by last year’s killing of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, is asking voters to decide whether to essentially dismantle and mitigate the city’s current police department, and replace it with a “” Department of Public Safety “which would exercise” public safety functions through a comprehensive approach to public health to be determined by the mayor and council. ”

The measure, supported by a progressive coalition that has branded itself as “Yes to Question 2” explains in “most situations where people need help, a police officer is not the right answer”, and the voting measure will give the mayor and city council the power to “remove a requirement that the city must maintain an armed police model of security.”
The city of Minneapolis is a progressive, democratic stronghold, yet the question will finally bring some clarity to how much mojo “defund the police” movement actually has against the background of a city where gun violence is getting out of control.
For years, long before George Floyd’s death, in many large American cities, including Minneapolis, there had been a small but loud contingent of race law activists arguing for a good portion of annual $ 100 billion in taxpayer dollars used to support police departments across the country could be better deployed to re-perceive what public security might look like.
These advocates of reform, led by groups such as Black lives mean something, believes a redistribution of funds – which tends to be the majority of city budgets – could deliver better net results in urban environments if all or a significant part of the funds were aimed at a large number of smart community initiatives, after-school programs for students and public housing initiatives.
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Activists have argued that police departments largely fail in their mission to make communities safer by treating only the symptoms, namely crime, and not its underlying root causes. Some go as far as argumentative police departments really are civilian-led paramilitary which has exacerbated inner-city problems, especially among color communities and time to limit or even eliminate the role they play in society is long gone.
ONE vote of PBS ‘frontline with other local news organizations last month suggests that Minneapolis voters are fairly evenly divided on the issue of abolishing the police, with a majority indicating that they would abolish the MPD just as quickly. But how much of this rhetoric is translated into actual yes-votes on election day is still very much an open question. The voting effort is equal fought for overwhelming support from the majority of black voters in Minneapolis, according to the same poll.
In the immediate aftermath of George Floyd’s death, I, like so many other Americans of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, was outraged at the full display of police brutality. In my case, it really hit like I have two small mixed children, and Floyd’s death served as a wake – up call about the need for police reform. But as a liberal but somewhat moderate Democrat, I see practical and political danger in going too fast to deal with police abuse. And I’m not alone.
Politically, the debate ‘defund the police’ vote issue drives a wedge between Minnesota Democrats. The state’s most famous progressive, rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison defend the vote, while other top Democrats, including Senator Amy Klobuchar and Gov. Tim Walz, is strongly against it. At the national level, the poll in Minneapolis will provide the first test of how many legs the metropolitan police department’s restructuring movement really has ahead of the midterm elections in 2022. And for Democrats throughout the ideological continuum, the effort could not be greater.
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The division between the moderate and progressive wings among Democrats in Minneapolis reflects a broader gap that is evident nationwide as the Democratic centrist institution faces increasing pressure from a strongly energetic and rebellious progressive wing. Should Minneapolis voters decide to vote out their police department and replace it with a poorly defined public security organization, the result could have national consequences for Democrats already facing an uphill battle in the 2022 midterms.

Republican operators are already salivating at the thought of shooting TV commercials for competitive House and Senate races in 2022, which paint Democrats – even when faced with record-breaking crime – as a party out of touch when it comes to the basic issues of keeping order and maintain public safety.

The national political recall if the “yes” option for Question 2 on the Minneapolis vote wins could be significant. Fortunately, this is not lost on some Democrats, especially those in purple swing districts targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee for repayment.

The Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, from Minnesota’s 2nd District, which includes suburbs for the twin cities, understands, even though her district does not include Minneapolis, the political outflow from the rejected ballot to her own election. could be significant. Craig has condemned the police vote in the referendum as “short-term, misleading and likely to harm the very communities it seeks to protect.”
So much is clear: Although extremely high, Democrats who support the “defund the police” movement have positions that, quite frankly, scary for the majority of Americans across the ideological spectrum. If a progressive stronghold like Minneapolis actually votes to dismantle its police department, it will send shockwaves across the political ecosystem and provide Republicans with a strong foothold.

Minneapolis will be seen as a city of lawlessness, and Democrats will be blamed. This is a narrative arc that will fit perfectly into the Republicans’ framing that Democrats are just not that good at governing anyway.

Need more proof? Republicans just want to point to Congress. Despite controlling both the executive and legislative branches of government, The inner dysfunction of the Democrats has already stopped President Joe Biden’s national agenda. Coupled with the Biden administration’s catastrophic handling of military withdrawal from Afghanistan on the foreign policy front, we can see an entire party already preparing for serious voter reactions in 2022.

It’s going to be tough enough already for the Democrats in 2022. And “Question 2” about the vote in Minneapolis could make things a lot worse.


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