Yang: Maybe we shouldn't defund the police

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

I don’t know if this is going to end up sinking Andrew Yang’s chances at being the next Mayor of the Big Apple or vault him even further into the lead. Either way, he dared to speak some words this weekend that are very unpopular on the left-wing of his party these days. During a campaign stop in Times Square on Sunday, Yang opined that Gotham “can’t afford” to defund the police. He cited a recent mass shooting and rising crime rates in many categories. Despite the obvious logic in these statements, there was some immediate pushback from some of his primary opponents. (National Review)

During an appearance at the Crossroads of the World Sunday morning, NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang said the city cannot afford to “defund the police,” after an shooting incident involving three bystanders happened the day prior.

“The truth is that New York City cannot afford to defund the police,” Yang said. “When I talk to New Yorkers I get a very different message every single day.”

“New Yorkers are concerned about rising rates of of violent crime, petty crime, street homelessness. This is what we are seeing, and we need our city’s leaders to step up right now,” he continued.

Yang didn’t stop there. He went on to say, “Nothing works in our city without public safety, and for public safety, we need the police.” He then appealed directly to the NYPD, asking them to do their jobs “professionally, responsibly, and justly,” promising to “have their backs” if they do.

Honestly, this is probably a smart move on Yang’s part, in addition to just being common sense. He’s running against some very hardcore liberals and socialists who seem to spend more time listening to the talking heads on MSNBC than they do the voters who actually have to live in the crime-ridden streets of New York. A recent Ipsos poll showed that “defund the police” is only supported by 18% of Americans. Even among Black respondents, there was just 28% support and those numbers have been reflected in local, New York City polls as well.

It will be interesting to see how this primary plays out, particularly after we’ve seen Yang staking out this position. When the BLM movement was calling for defunding (if not abolishing) the police, Bill de Blasio quickly caved and worked with the City Council to steer nearly a billion dollars away from their budget. The results can be seen in the crime statistics which continue to head in the wrong direction. Even while Yang is being trashed on liberal talk shows for this, an undercurrent of support from alarmed residents may continue to push him upward as we approach the June 22nd primary. And given that we’re talking about New York City, the Democratic primary is effectively the general election.

This could be a significant development for the NYPD. I won’t be terribly surprised if they endorse Yang after this. Bill de Blasio’s relationship with the cops has been so bad that masses of them literally turned their backs on him when he showed up to speak at the funeral services for a fallen officer a few years ago. The police unions routinely trash him in the press. If an actual pro-cop mayor winds up being elected, perhaps it’s not too late to turn things around. Yang could put in a new Police Commissioner who actually came up through the ranks and supports law enforcement rather than kowtowing to the City Council.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to read the tea leaves on this race, even with only six weeks to go. It’s a jammed field competing for the job and when support finally begins to concentrate among a few of the leaders, we could still be in for some surprises. But you can rest assured that the NYPD will be watching closely and probably not remaining silent.

Jazz Shaw Jul 06, 2022 9:01 AM ET