During the Democrat’s national convention, it took until the third day before anyone got around to mentioning support for law enforcement. Police officials sharply criticized the Democratic Party for giving time for speeches to the Mothers of the Movement from Black Lives Matter, but failing to offer any time at all for the families of law-enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, especially those in Dallas who died protecting a BLM rally. According to the president of the largest police union, that’s no accident — and Hillary Clinton wants nothing to do with police, The Hill’s Jonathan Swan reports today:
Top officials at the biggest police union in the country are upset with Hillary Clinton, saying she snubbed them.
The leader of the National Fraternal Order of Police told The Hill that the Democrat sent a signal through her staff that she wouldn’t be seeking the union’s endorsement.
“It sends a powerful message. To be honest with you, I was disappointed and shocked,” said Chuck Canterbury, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“You would think with law enforcement issues so much in the news that even if she had disagreements with our positions, that she would’ve been willing to say that.”
Well, yes, you’d think so. In Dallas, the assassination of five police officers has produced an unprecedented round of recruiting as police chief David Brown challenged his community to stop protesting and stand watches as part of the force. Communities have rallied to police as they have come under fire — literally — from radicals bent on anarchy and destruction. There seems to be a belated realization in many communities that an effective police force is necessary, especially in the urban cores, and that pushing them into more passive stances only puts the most vulnerable citizens more at risk.
That realization hasn’t occurred to Team Hillary, apparently. The NFOP asks candidates to fill out questionnaires to allow them to determine their choice for endorsement. Donald Trump has completed his questionnaire, but they never heard back from Hillary. Instead, her staff finally responded with a “thanks but no thanks” response, making it the first such snub since John Kerry in 2004. (Barack Obama responded in both 2008 and 2012, according to Canterbury.)
Team Hillary wants to go all in with the Black Lives Matter movement, apparently, just at the moment when the movement itself seems to be contemplating its earlier strategies. Maybe that will pay off; BLM has become a sustained movement akin to Occupy, only less broad and arguably less impactful, especially since a number of assassinations of police officers have taken place. Hillary and her campaign seem to be betting that cold-shouldering cops will help build loyalty and emotional ties to the activists and their allies, which could produce a turnout similar to Obama’s in 2012 if not 2008.
As bets go, it’s not entirely irrational, but it cedes one important point. Trump has already called himself the law-and-order candidate. If Hillary chooses to go all in with BLM, that leaves the GOP wide open to embrace law enforcement at a time when civil unrest has many Americans worried — even those in cities where competent and fair law enforcement is most needed. If the GOP is paying attention, they should start messaging on this immediately, and see how well that bet works out.