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Opinion: Minneapolis ‘Defend the Police’ ballot question should alarm Democrats across the country


In addition to the New Yorkers who will run America’s largest city, the race for governor in New Jersey and Virginia will likely dominate media coverage on election night. Scholars will isolate overdrive, dyeing and exit polls and provide voting information in search of signals that may give some indication of what this means for the 2022 midterm elections as well as the 2024 presidential election.

Still, this November could be a bigger problem than any of the high-profile races: Question 2 in the Minneapolis ballot, probably known as the referendum on “defending the police.”

The controversial ballot measure, which spilled over into the murder of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last year, prompted voters to decide whether the city’s current police department would be dismantled. Which “will perform public safety functions through a comprehensive public health system determined by the mayor and council.”

The move, backed by a progressive coalition that identifies itself as “yes to question 2”, “in most situations where people need help, a police officer does not respond appropriately” and the ballot measure will empower the mayor and the city council “an armed police model of city security.” Will eliminate the need for the city to maintain. “
The city of Minneapolis is a progressive, democratic stronghold, yet the question will ultimately bring some clarity to how much mojo the “Defend the Police” movement actually has, where gun violence is getting out of control.
For years, long before the death of George Floyd, in many large cities in the United States, including Minneapolis, there was a small, but vocal group of ethnic-justice activists who argued that taxpayers made a good portion of the $ 100 billion annually. Police departments across the country could be better deployed to re-imagine what public security could be like.
These proponents of reform, led by groups such as Black Lives Matter, believe that the restructuring of funds – which could be the lion’s share of the city’s budget – could yield better results in urban environments if all or a significant portion of the funds are spent on smart community initiatives, post-school programs for students and public Housing was directed towards the effort.
Activists have argued that police departments are largely failing in their mission to protect communities by simply addressing the symptoms, such as crime, and the underlying root causes. Some argue that as far as police departments are concerned they are actually civilian-led paramilitary forces that have exacerbated problems within the city, especially within the color community, and have had a long time to reduce or even eliminate their role in society.
A survey on Frontline by PBS with other local news agencies last month found that Minneapolis voters were fairly evenly divided on how to defend the police, with a plethora of indications that they would leave with the MPD. Yet how much of this wording actually translates into a yes vote on election day is still an open question. The ballot effort has even struggled to garner widespread support from the majority black voters in Minneapolis, according to the same poll.
Immediately after the death of George Floyd, I, like all other Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, was outraged to see the full display of police brutality. In my case, it really hit home because I have two small mixed-race children and Floyd’s death served as a wake-up call about the need for police reform. However, as a liberal but somewhat moderate Democrat, I see practical and political dangers in moving too fast to deal with police abuse. And I’m not alone.
Politically, the ‘Police Defend’ ballot question debate is creating divisions among Minnesota Democrats. The state’s most well-known progressive, Representative Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison defended the ballot measure, while other top Democrats, including Sen. Amy Cloboucher and Governor Tim Wallace, vehemently opposed it. On a national scale, the Minneapolis ballot question will give the first test of how far the big city police department restructuring movement has come before the mid-2022 election. And for Democrats with ideological continuity, the stakes can’t be big.
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The division between the moderate and progressive wings of the Minneapolis Democrats clearly reflects a wide gap across the country, as the democratic centralist institution faces increasing pressure from a high-powered and rebellious progressive wing. If Minneapolis voters decide to vote for their police department and replace it with a defined public security agency, the result could be a national backlash for Democrats who may already face an extreme battle in mid-2022.

Republican activists are already thinking of shooting TV commercials in the competitive 2022 House and Senate contests that portray Democrats – even in the face of record crime rates – while maintaining discipline as a team out of touch with public safety.

The national political push, if the “yes” option to Question 2 exists in the Minneapolis ballot, could be significant. Fortunately, this is not lost on some Democrats, especially those aiming for withdrawal by the National Republican Congressional Committee in the Purple Swing District.

Democratic Representative Angie Craig of Minnesota’s 2nd District, which includes the suburbs of Twin City, understands that although her district does not include Minneapolis, the political flow from measuring the defended ballot in her own election could be significant. Craig condemned the refusal of the referendum police to be “short-sighted, misguided and could harm the communities they want to protect.”
It’s pretty clear: while they’re extremely vocal, Democrats who support the “Defend the Police” movement have opinions that are clearly intimidating to the majority of Americans across the ideological spectrum. If a progressive stronghold like Minneapolis votes to effectively dismantle its police department, it will send a shock wave across the political ecosystem and give Republicans a strong talking point.

Minneapolis will be seen as a city of lawlessness and Democrats will be blamed. It’s a descriptive cycle that will feed perfectly into the framing of Republicans that the way Democrats can rule is not as good.

Need more proof? Republicans will only point to Congress. Despite controlling both the executive and legislative branches of government, Democrats’ interpersonal dysfunction has already hampered President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. With the catastrophic handling of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on the Biden administration’s foreign policy front, we see that an entire party is already fighting for a strong response from voters in 2022.

This is already going to be tough enough for Democrats in 2022.



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