THE NUMBER ONE CONCERN for most citizens is protecting themselves and their families. If people, who depend on politicians to protect them, believe they are not safe because of crime, they are likely to be very discerning when it comes to how they vote. The current New York County district attorney, Alvin Bragg, is learning this the hard way.
The people who vote for politicians are of all races. Old assumptions are just that, old. Black on Black crime is a very serious problem. All of our citizens need whatever protection we can give them. Look, we know that people who have been deprived of a fair shake in life, those with the least educational opportunities and access to health care, to name just a few, are more likely to end up in prison. This fact places our politicians in a tough spot. We’ve all seen unscrupulous politicians who create racist tropes that they hope will draw them votes. So, what’s a politician to do? If politicians want votes, they have to know how important their words will be to all voters of all colors. Since all voters need to be protected in their homes and neighborhoods, Black voters, too, need decent treatment in our courts and from the police. That’s why it is so important that racist elements in police departments and the courts are winnowed out. People have to believe in those sworn to protect them.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams got elected on a law and order platform. He is walking a tightrope and he knows it. Ditto Governor Hochul, who is reported to have had a very serious recent conversation with DA Bragg. As New Yorkers hurt and killed by criminals, everyone, from the governor to the members of the legislature, is faced with serious dilemmas. Which way do they go politically in order to ensure their continuance in office?
People like District Attorney Bragg, who think that success can be achieved by being “liberal” when it comes to holding criminals responsible, have learned recently to think again. Bragg is going in a direction that will not get him votes. He should be bringing appropriate political charges against Donald Trump. Announcing that he will not enforce the law, even minor laws, will not get him anywhere.
When a police officer is shot and killed and his wife gives a heartrending speech about officials who are soft on crime, you had better believe that those politicians who are thought to be weak on crime will find themselves in a vulnerable spot. There are a lot of them in the Democratic majorities in both houses of the state legislature. All of a sudden, what was thought to be an advantageous political position turns out to be anything but a winning political strategy.
Some politicians believe in what we now call “bail reform.” No doubt about it, if you’ve got money you have the advantage when it comes to being released from jail on bail. Our liberal politicians couldn’t wait to sign on to that one. Now things have changed. Some of the more liberal politicians refuse to get off that band wagon. In the last election, the Democrats seem to have paid a price for the perception that they were weak on crime. That’s the thing about politics—there are times when you have to pivot, and fast.
People have a right to demand protection and politicians who won’t provide it are simply not listening to what their voters are demanding. Just ask yourself where you stand on this. So much is about what is right. If you are walking down the street and someone mugs you, you are not likely to think of anything but the need for increased and better law enforcement.