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Kamala Harris Walks the “Defund the Police” Tightrope

California Senator Kamala Harris has emerged as a front runner in Joe Biden’s Veepstakes. She has one obvious factor in her favor: as an African-American, Harris could easily help Biden with a demographic where he’s already strong.

The flip side to Harris is an issue that played a role in sinking her presidential hopes. As a former prosecutor and state attorney general, Harris has a reputation for being tough on crime, which doesn’t play well with the left right now.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-10-24/kamala-harris-california-crimeBack in October, Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

Under both Republicans and Democrats — including Kamala Harris, who became a prosecutor in 1990 — a tough-on-crime political culture flourished in California, and African Americans were hit hardest: Their incarceration rate remains more than five times their share of California’s population.

The crackdown on crime swept most of the country, but California stood out as one of the most aggressive states. Only recently has it begun shedding its lock-’em-up mind-set.

Now that “Defund the Police” has become the left’s mantra du jour, Harris is getting questions on her stance on law enforcement funding. Naturally, she’s walking the politician’s tightrope, as The Hill notes:

The death of George Floyd and subsequent calls from progressives to defund the police have put Harris, a former prosecutor, in a politically difficult position. How she handles the emotionally charged issue over the next several weeks could determine whether she is tapped for the 2020 ticket. 

Harris has been asked repeatedly in recent days whether she supports defunding the police. She has responded by trying to clarify what police defunding means and to argue that it’s not the radical move that opponents portray it as. She has also framed the question of police funding in the broader context of a discussion about how a city, town or community can best allocate money among various priorities, arguing that investing in education, job creation and affordable health care are better ways to create safe and prosperous communities.

Like a consummate politician, Harris has deflected, citing that authorities could better direct funds to “education, job creation and affordable health care are better ways to create safe and prosperous communities.”

She has also praised Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for cutting a whopping $150 million from the city’s police force.

“We’ve got to re-examine what we’re doing with American taxpayer dollars and ask the question: are we getting the right return on our investment? Are we actually creating healthy and safe communities?” she said. “That’s a legitimate conversation and it requires a really critical evaluation. I applaud Eric Garcetti for doing what he’s done.”

It’s easy to have a genuine fear that this new trend of gutting law enforcement budget and reducing staffing could turn our cities into the stuff of nightmares. Witness what’s going on in Seattle right now – and this is before any official police defunding. Our cities could easily become post-apocalyptic hellholes if there’s no police presence to enforce law and order.

Defunding the police would hurt minorities the most – but the Antifa crowd and their wannabes don’t care. They’ll keep spewing this mantra until the next crisis capture their fancies. Hopefully saner minds will prevail.

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