Policing, Polling, and Federalism

There’s some recent polling that has led to a lot of willful misinterpretation (boldface mine):

For example, 39% of respondents supported proposals “to completely dismantle police departments and give more financial support to address homelessness, mental health, and domestic violence.”

But 76% said they supported moving “some money currently going to police budgets into better officer training, local programs for homelessness, mental health assistance, and domestic violence.”

First of all, 39% percent support for complete abolition is pretty stunning. I wouldn’t have thought, even after recent events, it would have broken fifteen percent. Second, there is overwhelming support for defunding the police. To make the point again, we have defunded public higher education, not abolished it.

We have defunded housing programs, not abolished all of them.

We have defunded lead abatement programs, not abolished them.

We have defunded income supports, not abolished them.

I’ll stop with the beck and call, but I could go on and on (and on, and on…).

Admittedly, some of those who push for defunding these programs would like to abolish them entirely (or let their cronies loot them while these programs fail to deliver). But defunding the police, especially at the local and state levels, where budgets do have to balance, is just ordinary politics. It’s not particularly radical–or, perhaps more accurately, it’s telling that in some quarters of our discourse, it’s seen as radical.

Speaking of local and state governments, it’s also surreal how those who oppose defunding don’t realize the implicit subtext of their argument: the people supporting defunding are those who have had policing imposed on them by others. Finally, some of these communities are taking back their budgets. If those in places where they are truly terrified of ANTIFA SUPERSOLDIERS11!!11 showing up by the busload (because elite strike forces always take the bus!) want to flush their money down the crapper and spend more money on the police, that’s their prerogative (stupid, but there’s a lot of that going around).

But communities that believe they are overpoliced, and want to reallocate resources to other programs that they think would be more helpful should be able to do that–and those communities are overrepresented in that 76% majority that supports defunding.

I now eagerly look forward to conservatives embracing both Modern Monetary Theory and large federal programs to ensure police supremacy.

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