Love him or hate him, Trump is right about crime

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Donald Trump has extraordinary political instincts. For a billionaire real estate developer to win the Oval Office on a campaign of helping out working-class Americans, and to single-handedly realign our two great political parties in the process, was nothing short of astonishing.

Which is why, despite his multiple missteps, Republicans should pay attention to Trump.

When he ran his first-ever political campaign in 2016, Trump focused on the border and on China. Calling out the rising flood of people entering the country illegally and Beijing’s monstrous theft of America’s intellectual property got the attention of voters. “Build the wall!” became a chant heard across the country. 

Today, Trump has a different focus. Addressing the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, D.C., recently, he talked about public safety, concluding that “our country is now a cesspool of crime.”

As we approach the November elections, that is what Republican candidates should talk about as well.

Why? Because, according to a recent survey, 81 percent of registered voters say crime is a major problem in the U.S., and 79 percent say crime and personal safety is one of their top concerns.

How could it not be? Crime is out of control; dangerous and reckless policies are to blame. This is not an Ivory Tower debate; this is a threat that is helping to destroy our cities and our economy. And it is a threat that highlights just how out of touch and hypocritical Democrat elites are.

Democrats side with progressives such as George Soros, who steadfastly backs the people and policies that are making our cities unsafe.  

The Wall Street Journal recently published an op-ed by Soros justifying – not apologizing for – helping to elect the district attorneys who are putting violent criminals back on the streets within hours of their arrest, and allowing crime to surge.

Soros says pitting “justice” against “safety” is a false choice and decries as “divisive partisan attacks” the debate over soft-on-crime policies. Someone should ask Soros how 60 percent of uber-liberal San Francisco voted to bounce District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Was that coalition of fed-up Democrats and independents really a “partisan attack” or a common-sense revolt?

The New York Times described Boudin as engineering “one of the country’s most pioneering experiments in criminal justice reform.” Specifically, Boudin “eliminated cash bail, vowed to hold police accountable and worked to reduce the number of people sent to prison.”

That was a flop, as any reasonable person might have expected. San Francisco has descended into a city rife with crime, as well as, per the Times: “squalid street conditions, including the illicit drug sales, homeless encampments and untreated mental illness.”

The San Francisco revolt inspired a similar effort, currently underway, to bounce Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon.  

In New York City, were voters able to recall local DA Alvin Bragg, another progressive who favors putting violent criminals back out on the street, they would likely jump at the chance.

This is a danger to every segment of our society. Wanton unchecked violence is concentrated in Democrat-run cities, to be sure. But the disregard for the rule of law extends to our suburbs as well, not to mention to the surge of illegal immigrants pouring across our border.   

President Biden has repeatedly said he would not raise taxes on people earning less than $400,000. But the spike in crime ends up costing everyone.

When a drug store like Duane Reade has to put nearly all its wares under lock and key, or watch it carried off by career shoplifters, what is their response? They raise prices, of course, and we all pay.

This is not a minor issue. Retailers across the country say they are experiencing unprecedented thievery, which mostly goes unpunished. The cost of lost goods factors into higher prices.

Soros’s defense of his soft-on-crime stance is remarkably devoid of conviction, or even passion. He claims, “The most rigorous academic study, analyzing data across 35 jurisdictions, shows no connection between the election of reform-minded prosecutors and local crime rates.”

Sure, tell that to the frustrated cops whose hands are tied and whose arrest of violent criminals is rendered pointless by judges or DAs unable or unwilling to hold lawbreakers in jail.

Tell that to the brothers and mothers, husbands and wives of victims pushed onto subway tracks or shot in broad daylight by thugs confident of their “get out of jail card.”

This is wrong. As Trump said, “every citizen of every background should be able to walk anywhere in this nation at any hour of the day without even a thought of being victimized by violent crime.”

Crime is not a racial issue. Soros says the fact that “black people in the U.S. are five times as likely to be sent to jail as white people” is proof of “an injustice that undermines our democracy.” More likely, it is proof that the $22-plus trillion spent on anti-poverty programs over the past 50 years, much of that directed to the Black community, has gone to the wrong causes, and the wrong people.

The answer is not allowing more crime which, as many have shown, mainly targets minority neighborhoods. Polling shows that Black Americans are more welcoming of increased policing than white Americans. That figures; it is their kids hit by stray bullets, their sons conscripted into bloody gangs, their schools and neighborhoods that become battle zones.  

Soros sounds like an old man mulishly sticking to his youthful liberal idealism no matter the damage done to real people. No matter that his approach does not work.

Trump said: “We must never allow ourselves to grow numb to the violence that is tearing apart the fabric of our nation.” He is correct. 

Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. Follow her on Twitter @lizpeek.