The ratio of news value to sensationalism in this clip is so low that you should probably treat it as a palate cleanser.
You’re not watching it to learn anything about police violence and race relations. You’re watching it to see two irascible guys who detest each other try to debate a sensitive subject and fail miserably. Geraldo in particular looks like he’s close to an aneurysm by the end of the segment.
But, for the record, he’s right that there’s evidence that black Americans are more likely to be killed by police than whites are.
Let’s see if I can redeem this post with an interview that actually is newsy. Here’s the most famous and popular socialist in America politely distancing himself from Rashida Tlaib’s dopey comment that she wants to see “no more policing”:
WOLF BLITZER: Rashida Tlaib said “no more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.’ Do you agree?
BERNIE SANDERS: No, I don’t. I think that what we need to do is understand that there needs to be major, major police reform all across this country. pic.twitter.com/KJ1br14nOZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 15, 2021
Why would Tlaib be aggressive and Bernie be cautious? Well, she’s a backbencher in the House from a deep blue district whose entire brand is social justice and to whom no one pays much attention, except when she’s tossing rhetorical grenades that end up damaging her own side. He’s a senator with a national profile, twice a candidate for president, and the unofficial leader of progressive America. More than that, he’s now an elder statesman in his party (or the party with which he’s aligned, I should say) and is known more for left-wing economic populism than for being woke, although he’s tried hard to get right with his fans on that point over the last few years.
Simply put, as the head of a movement and a figure of meaningful stature, Sanders has to be more careful about what he says than Tlaib does knowing how Republicans might leverage it. And he doubtless understands at this point that anti-police rhetoric from the left is a major liability for Democrats in elections.
The party is still debating the impact that anti-police radicalism had on their electoral performance, but the signs are grim. Left-leaning analyst David Shor has found that the biggest predictor of a voter’s switch from Hillary Clinton in 2016 to Trump in 2020 is having “conservative views” on crime and public safety—as anti-police radicalism grew, Shor has argued, support for President Joe Biden, particularly among Hispanics, fell. Resurgent crime, political scientist Steven Teles has written, could even endanger Democrats’ ironclad grip on America’s big-city mayoralties, as voters back tough-on-crime GOP alternatives.
Congressional talks over a police reform bill are still ongoing, with no resolution in sight. Last year’s pushback against policing, meanwhile, still appears to be driving a spike in homicide that has persisted into early 2021. Top Democratic leaders, including Biden, seem to understand that the “defund the police” movement is electorally poisonous.
Having Bernie undercut Tlaib may limit the fallout among swing voters, making it harder for the GOP to claim her opinion is the consensus progressive view. Various other Dems have scrambled this week to counterprogram her comments, knowing how they might be exploited:
“I mean, this defund the police was just a terrible drag on the Democratic Party. It really was. Don’t kid yourself,” veteran Democratic strategist James Carville told Bill Kristol in an interview for the Weekly Standard earlier this month…
“I think the ability — using terms like defund the police have led to Democratic losses in this last year,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) said in November on WAMU’s “Politics Hour.”…
“We can’t allow them, meaning the opposition, to try to paint this picture that we are anti-police. We’re just pro-good policing,” [Dem strategist Antjuan] Seawright said. “We have to do something at the federal level, for certain.”
They’re “pro-good policing”? Is that what “no more policing” means? Ah well. Gotta feel a little sympathy for these guys, forced to spin Tlaib’s comments any which way they can after she Leeroy-Jenkins-ed the latest police reform debate.
Here’s Geraldo vs. Bongino. Fox should let them co-host together in the 7 p.m. slot.