Staving off GOP attacks, Dems show new urgency on crime

At the highest levels of the president’s party, there is a developing consensus that Democrats need to treat crime as an urgent political issue, and that they cannot allow voters to see the 2022 election as a choice between a liberal party that supports police reform and a conservative party that supports the police in the name of a broader law-and-order message...

Republicans have already signaled that they plan to link Democrats with the “defund” movement next year, as they did in the 2020 campaign, and brand Mr. Biden and his party as more concerned with appeasing activists than locking up criminals. Conservative lawmakers in the House have been trying to scuff up Mr. Biden’s largely favorable image by depicting the country as being in the throes of overlapping crises around crime, border security and gas prices...

Trying out a counterattack that could become a staple of Democratic messaging in 2022, Ms. Demings said that Republicans may have eagerly draped themselves in blue but have not followed up with concrete support for the police.

“When it came to supporting resources for local communities, including law enforcement, not one Republican voted in favor of that funding,” she said, alluding to the lock-step G.O.P. opposition to the president’s American Rescue Plan. “When first responders needed them the most — one of those moments — they just didn’t deliver.”