The Coming Crime Wave of 2016
Over at The Atlantic, David Frum gazes into his crystal ball and sees crime reemerging as an issue that could split the predominantly urban Democratic coalition in 2016:
“It was crime more than any other single issue that drove blue-collar voters in the industrial states from the party of Truman and Johnson to the party of Nixon and Reagan. In 1974—a year of energy shock, inflation, recession, Watergate, Vietnam, and other crises—Americans told pollsters they regarded crime as the single-most important issue facing the country. …”
Frum’s reasoning is simple: Bill Clinton won in 1992 on a law and order platform and signed into law a major crime bill that led to what is now decried as “the era of mass incarceration.” Over the next twenty years, violent crime declined and safer streets led to a revival of the national Democratic Party.
“The Ferguson Effect” is putting an end to that. Crime has exploded in several major cities and by the end of the year the final stats should show a major uptick in crime in 2015. If that trend continues into the long hot summer of 2016, it could hurt the Democratic nominee given the Democratic Party’s recent embrace of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
In July, Politico was giddy over criminal justice reform gaining bipartisan momentum. By September, Politico was fretting that Trump had killed criminal justice reform and The New York Times was worried that crime could as election strategy for Republicans.
It is worth noting that the entirety of the internet era has coincided with a decline in violent crime. Heinous crimes against White people are nothing new, but it is just more visible now than ever before thanks to social media. As bad as crime is today, our major cities are still nowhere near as bad as they were in the early 1990s. Hence, the hipster gentrification that has been going on all over the country.
We’ve never had early 1990s level crime, modern social media, and a revolt against political correctness all going on at the same time. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out next year.