Inflation and the economy may be the centerpiece of the GOP sell to voters ahead of November’s elections. But in recent months, the party has doubled down on the issue of crime, running ads across the country in key races accusing Democratic messaging and policy of failing to combat crime.
The harshest example of where that rhetoric has led may have come over the weekend, when Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville claimed Democrats were “pro-crime” because “they want to control what you have” and want “reparations” for “the people that do the crime.
Crime, with its insinuations about race, is uppermost in the mind of Republicans as candidates- and Democrats as, well, Democrats. However, it is not paramount in GOP thinking as legislators or public officials. Rather, as Jonathan Chait writes
Bloomberg’s Jack Fitzpatrick interviewed several Republican contenders to lead the House Budget Committee. They all said, with varying levels of specificity, that they plan to instigate a debt-ceiling standoff to force Biden to accept cuts to retirement and health-care programs. “Our main focus has got to be on nondiscretionary — it’s got to be on entitlements,” said Representative Buddy Carter. Representative Jodey Arrington said he wants “eligibility reforms,” which means raising the eligibility age and imposing a means test for Social Security and Medicare benefits. “We should ensure that we keep the promises that were made to the people who really need it, the people who are relying on it,” said Representative Lloyd Smucker. “So some sort of means-testing potentially would help to ensure that we can do that"...
With means testing, the GOP would turn Medicare and Social Security into welfare programs. Then, of course, the GOP would attack welfare and urge voters to reject Democratic politicians wanting to hand out "free stuff."
Last June, the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus that includes more than three-quarters of the House Republicans, released a sweeping domestic-budget plan. It received little attention in the mainstream media. The plan, notes Fitzpatrick, would
gradually raise the Medicare age of eligibility to 67 and the Social Security eligibility to 70 before indexing both to life expectancy. It backed withholding payments to those who retired early and had earnings over a certain limit. And it endorsed the consideration of options to reduce payroll taxes that fund Social Security and redirect them to private alternatives. It also urged lawmakers to “phase-in an increase in means testing” for Medicare.
Conservative media, wary of public backlash, ignored these planned cuts to earned benefits and instead celebrated the other proposals of the NSC, including ones pertaining to energy production, immigration, China, and transsexuals. Chait concludes by explaining that Representative Arrington told Bloomberg's Fitzpatrick
he would prefer not to detail his proposals because “this can get so politicized.” Politicized, of course, is a term people use when they want the political system to advance their policy agenda without discussing it openly. The plan is to round up party support quietly, gain power without discussing it, then force the opposing party to make it happen.
The other bait-and-switch was almost inevitable in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests (uniformly applauded by Democrats and media centrists), which in a very few instances included violence perpetrated by a few participants. Video of the activism, seen endlessly by Fox News viewers and others, heightened fear to an irrational level. Thus followed the other bait-and-switch: crime! in Democrat cities!
This is an election year in which Republicans can win only if Democrats allow them to hide their overarching goal of pandering to their donors, curbing the middle and lower classes, and reinforcing rule of, by, and for the economic elite.
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