Voters Reject the Knee Jerk ‘Abolish the Police’ Cries
Nov. 3, 2021 (EIRNS)—Voters in Minneapolis and Seattle strongly rejected the Jacobin rallying cry to “Abolish the Police.” In Minneapolis, where the city was embroiled for 18 months by the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing rioting, the proposal to replace the police department with a new Department of Public Safety was rejected by a 56% “No” vote. Attorney General Keith Ellison and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar pushed for the referendum, but Mayor Jacob Frey, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz all opposed it. Reforms to address the situation will continue, with a police department intact.
In Seattle, the push to institutionalize the protest encampments met up with a drive to reclaim the downtown. Bruce Harrell, who campaigned on taking a heavier hand toward the encampments while providing greater support for shelters and treatment services, trounced his opponent, Lorena González, who had called for cutting funding for the police department in half, by 65%-35%.
In the race for Seattle’s Attorney General, candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, who has tweeted about her “rabid hatred of the police” and who stated her view that property destruction during protests is a “moral imperative,” was roundly defeated. She had campaigned on reducing and eventually eliminating misdemeanor prosecutions and on suing fossil fuel companies. “Abolition is not an unreasonable idea. Mass incarceration is,” she tweeted. Her opponent, Ann Davison, will now be the first female attorney general in Seattle. Davison won the endorsement of two former Democratic governors, Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke, and had the support of many businesses eager to clean up downtown Seattle.
While it is true that the law is applied unevenly, and that small offenses are prosecuted while the biggest criminals in the land (Wall Street) go free, abolition of police and toleration of encampments are clearly unpopular positions among the voters of Seattle.