Progressive Democrats are still invested in radical criminal justice reforms. And that means things aren't going to better any time soon
The 2022 midterm election cycle was the first real test of the police and criminal-justice "reform" movements’ political viability amid resurgent violent crime. Republicans took up the cause of those who were worried about public safety and open to a tougher approach to crime, while Democrats defended the recent leftward lurch on the criminal-justice policy front. The Democrats’ defensive strategy involved downplaying (if not outright denying) recent crime increases or dismissing any suggestion that such upticks in crime were related to reform efforts.
Democrats held off what many predicted would be a "red wave" election, but the GOP enjoyed a massive advantage among the 11 percent of voters who told exit pollsters that crime was the biggest issue. Absent any clear political price imposed on the party, at least judging by the midterm results, there remains in office a critical mass of Democrats unwilling to roll back the most misguided reforms passed to date, or to resist newer efforts to go even further.
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Rafael Mangual is the Nick Ohnell Fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. He is also the author of Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most. Adapted from City Journal.
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