For partisan liberals, the spate of urban violence that has characterized anti-law enforcement demonstrations and riots for nearly one year has presented both an opportunity and a challenge. While many Democrats have welcomed the spotlight on policing, urban poverty, and the plight of inner city minorities, they have also been confronted with the unsatisfying results of generations of monopoly Democratic governance.
Some on the left have chosen to ignore this annoying reality entirely. Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker demonstrated this refusal to acknowledge uncomfortable facts in a recent cartoon identifying what he believes are the conditions that led to the outbreak of self-defeating violence in Baltimore last week.
From prisons, to crumbling infrastructure, to overzealous police, to outsourcing, Baltimore’s predicament is everyone’s fault but the party that has enjoyed prohibitive control over the levers of power in that city for over a half century.
On Sunday, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace confronted a Maryland Democrat with the failures of America’s Democrat-dominated urban centers. And not just any Democrat. Wallace sat down across from Rep. Donna Edwards, a progressive Democrat who is running against fellow Maryland Democrat and chosen successor to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, for an open U.S. Senate seat in the Old Line State.
Wallace asked Edwards whether it was fair to note that Baltimore has been governed from the left for generations and if it was true to claim “liberal policies have failed” that city. Edwards did not seem to dismiss that comment as invalid, but she also indicated that the only solution to the problems of Democratic governance was more Democratic governance.
“I think it’s been unevenly spread,” Edwards said of, presumably, liberalism. “I would say, for example with our schools, just prior to the Freddie Gray incident, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was actually prevailing upon our Republican governor to release money for school funding.”
That makes sense. A GOP governor in office for four months prior to this latest outbreak of unrest is clearly to blame. To most neutral observers, it seems conflicting to argue that urban minorities have been neglected and abused for decades, and yet a GOP governor who hasn’t been in office for 18 weeks is responsible for this latest spasm of violence.
That didn’t stop Edwards from arguing that more spending and wealth redistribution – e.g. the Democratic platform – is the only cure for what ails Baltimore.
When Wallace noted that Baltimore spends the third highest amount per capita on its public schools “and the schools were still lousy,” Edwards declined to speculate on where that money was going. She merely asserted that it had been improperly allocated.
“Well, there’s uneven spending in the public schools,” Edwards insisted. “We have a lot of questions to ask, and they’re not questions that are only for Republicans… about where we’re going to make investments in our communities, so that the only investment isn’t on the backend in law enforcement.”
Don’t expect this incoherent display of partisanship to change any minds. For too many, introspection is the enemy, and a Republican straw man enemy will do just fine for those liberals in need of an external antagonist.