The crime issue’s potential positive impact on Republican prospects in November is coming into alarmed focus at the New York Times. A prime example: Tuesday’s 1,700-word front-page story by Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Weisman, “G.O.P. Redoubles Efforts to Tie Democrats to High Crime Rates.”
In Pennsylvania, Republicans are attacking John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate candidate, as “dangerously liberal on crime.”
Outside Portland, Ore., where years of clashes between left-wing protesters and the police have captured national attention, a Republican campaign ad juxtaposes video of Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democratic congressional candidate, protesting with footage of rioters and looters….
If it’s the Times on the GOP and crime, you know that phony accusations of racism will be close behind.
In the final phase of the midterm campaign, Republicans are intensifying their focus on crime and public safety, hoping to shift the debate onto political terrain that many of the party’s strategists and candidates view as favorable. The strategy seeks to capitalize on some voters’ fears about safety — after a pandemic-fueled crime surge that in some cities has yet to fully recede. But it has swiftly drawn criticism as a return to sometimes deceptive or racially divisive messaging.
While the Times couldn’t wholly ignore the damage done by left-wing calls to “defund the police” and the Democratic attempt to reverse the trend, the article swiftly changed the subject to alleged Republican racism.
Some of the advertising contains thinly disguised appeals to racist fears, like grainy footage of Black Lives Matter protesters, that sharply contrast with Republican efforts at the beginning of Mr. Trump’s term to highlight the party’s work on criminal justice overhauls, sentencing reductions and the pardoning of some petty crimes.
The Republican beef isn’t with BLM “protesters,” but the rioters who did millions of dollars worth of violence and damage in major American cities in the summer of 2020. And a supposedly racist “ad” in the Wisconsin senate race…isn’t racist. (It can be viewed at the link in the graph below).
Some of the advertising has racial overtones. An ad against Mr. Barnes from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which highlights the 2021 attack at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., ends with a picture of Mr. Barnes alongside three members of the progressive “Squad” — all women of color — and the words “different” and “dangerous.” His supporters called the ad racist.
The Times got nitpicky with Republican accusations against Democrats.
Other ads are slightly misleading: In New York, the first general-election ad from the Republican candidate for governor, Representative Lee Zeldin, is a compilation of grainy footage of shootings, looting and fistfights. “Vote like your life depends on it,” a narrator urges. “It just might.”
Mr. Zeldin recently confirmed that half of the video in the ad was shot before Gov. Kathy Hochul took office, and that one clip was from Oakland, Calif.
The article did end with a reluctant admission that the Republican message on crime was getting through.
Ms. Gonzalez, a lifelong Democrat, said that crime had changed her political views, and that she and her husband, Robert, were considering voting for Republicans this year.
Mr. Gonzalez said the Democratic Party had become “a hug-me, squeeze-me bunch, and we just don’t like it.”