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In Chicago, Brandon Johnson is running from his support of 'defund the police'

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 3/15/2023 Zachary Faria
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Crime is clearly the top priority of Chicago voters after rejecting the reelection campaign of soft-on-crime Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Now, the candidate who supports defunding the police is trying to run even further from his past statements.

Chicago’s jungle primary takes the top two candidates and pits them against each other in a general-election runoff. Paul Vallas, who ran on crime, won the primary with 32% of the vote. Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson finished second with 21%, beating out Lightfoot but starting out behind Vallas for the general. The polls so far confirm that the dynamic has remained, with Vallas leading Johnson 45%-39%.


Johnson’s big problem is his past support of defunding the police, a position he wants Chicago voters to forget about. "First of all, I never said defund the police. I want to clarify that," the candidate has said. He also said that “I said it was a political goal. I never said it was mine.”

That is a far cry from what Johnson has said previously, though. In September 2020, Johnson touted an article headlined “Calls to defund the police no longer seem like such a radical idea.” He was quoted in the article as saying, “We’re spending $5 million a day policing alone, and that hasn’t solved any of our systemic problems.” He had said of defunding the police that "I don’t look at it as a slogan. It’s an actual, real political goal."

Just not his political goal, supposedly. He has only boasted about the movement’s progress, complained about the level of police funding, and refused to promise to fill vacant police department positions. But really, Chicago voters, he is not in favor of defunding the police. Why would you get that idea?


Activists and sympathetic media outlets fabricated the popularity of the "defund the police" movement because it was popular among them. It bought enough goodwill to get temporary popularity from Democrats living in Democratic cities because the idea of “investing in our communities” sounded great in theory. Then crime continued to surge in Chicago and elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, even liberal voters soured on the idea of criminals running around their cities consequence-free.

As a result, Johnson is in a full-blown sprint away from his associations with the "defund the police" movement. He knows no one wants to hear about it in Chicago, where crime has only gotten worse. He is hoping that Chicago voters are just gullible enough to forget his past positions and elect a mayor who may be even softer on crime than Lightfoot was. Who knows whether Chicago voters will prove him right?


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Tags: Beltway Confidential, Opinion, Chicago, Crime, Law Enforcement, Campaigns

Original Author: Zachary Faria

Original Location: In Chicago, Brandon Johnson is running from his support of 'defund the police'


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