Doesn’t it just warm your heart to see the Senate Democrats uniting as one, and putting aside their differences all for the sake of warding off GOP attacks?
Oh, what is that you say? In the process of banding together they effectively signaled their desire to abandon the effort to protect Black and brown Americans by defunding the police, and in fact supported giving the police more money? Hahahaha cool, just what we needed, another dreary reality check on the state of the Democratic Party!
Ahead of voting on the framework for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget package early Wednesday morning, Senate Republicans did their best to trip up Democrats with a series of votes on non-binding amendments that were designed to make them go on the record around issues like immigration, COVID, policing, critical race theory (LOL remember her??), and more.
But instead of treating some of these votes as the transparent nonstarters they were, and show their commitment to justice regardless of these games, Democrats decided to call the GOP’s bluff. In a few cases, Dems voted alongside Republicans (in other cases, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin voted with them all by himself), benefitting from the political cover that it’ll give them come election time, even if it means casting aside the people whose lives are actively threatened by police. But at least we don’t have to worry about the attack ads!
Just watch New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s sarcastic, gleeful response to Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s amendment against local governments defunding the police. Booker was overjoyed at the prospect of “ruining” Tuberville’s strategy to get Dems to vote for defunding the police.
He couldn’t wait to vote for that amendment! Partially because it allows him to stick it to Republicans, but ALSO because if he wanted to support police defunding measures, he, along with the 49 other Democratic senators who voted with him, would have taken the opportunity to defend doing just that.
It’s a deflating reminder of the attitudes on the state of policing held by the people who represent us. That logic, to me, sounds a little something like this: “Sure, policing is a problem, but it would be political suicide to want to support such a thing as actually defunding the police, so we’ll instead say that we don’t want to defund the police, because we don’t, and we still feel comfortable with where we stand on the kind of reforms that we actually want to place on the police, which, again, isn’t anywhere close to taking away money from police and giving it to people who often come into contact with police because they don’t have the resources they need to survive. Nope, not that.”
This strategy continued with an amendment by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley to hire 100,000 police, which ALL BUT THREE DEMOCRATS VOTED FOR, and led to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin PRAISING JOE BIDEN’S 1994 CRIME BILL. What!!!
These people are absolutely deranged — they’re not only trying to protect themselves, but actively praising policing efforts that have hurt Black and brown people for decades, and talking about how much they want more cops, all in an effort to try and “show those Republicans who’s boss!” Yeah, you sure showed them, and everyone else!
I get the logic here, I really do. They’re voting to distance themselves from policies that they think are unpopular. But that’s what is at the heart of what makes this whole thing so depressing. Defunding the police shouldn’t be unpopular, and elected officials who say they’re on the side of people on the margins should want to do it.
Defunding the police shouldn’t be any more unpopular than supporting critical race theory, or not expelling immigrants “who may contribute to the spread” of COVID, or not denying green cards to immigrants who have criminal records — three topics that a vast majority of Senate Democrats voted in support of during last night’s vote-a-rama. But it is, no one in the Senate, not one person, cares about defunding the police, funding reallocation, whatever you want to call it, seriously enough to stand up for it.
But at least they can walk away pretending that the GOP lost their fight to get Dems to expose the fractures within their party, or whatever. It wasn’t worth turning their backs on constituents who find themselves and the people they care about frequently harassed and attacked by police, but I’m sure these senators felt it was.