NYT Can’t Make Mind Up About Crime Wave, But Knows Dems Aren’t to Blame

September 3rd, 2020 9:17 PM

The New York Times, when it’s not blaming President Trump for riots in Democratic-controlled cities, is making excuses for those hapless Democrats who run those crime-ridden cities, who have no ability to control what actually happens on the streets of their cities. Mayors are so powerless, it’s a wonder people bother to have them!

Reporter Emily Badger whined about Trump “Making Straw Men Of ‘Democrat Cities’” in Wednesday's edition. Try and follow her claims and gripes that Republicans don't care about cities and that Republicans are “in part” to blame for cities having one-party rule (click “expand”):

Minneapolis, Chicago, Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis., are first and foremost “Democrat cities” in President Trump’s telling. They have Democratic mayors, Democratic policies, Democratic turmoil.

With this refrain, Mr. Trump has sharpened his party’s long-running antipathy toward urban America into a more specific argument for the final two months of the campaign: Cities have problems, and Democrats run them. Therefore, you don’t want Democrats running the country, either.

But that logic misconstrues the nature of challenges that cities face, and the power of mayors of any party to solve them, political scientists say. And it twists a key fact of political history: If cities have become synonymous with Democratic politics today, that is true in part because Republicans have largely given up on them.

Over the course of decades, Republicans ceased competing seriously for urban voters in presidential elections and representing them in Congress. Republican big-city mayors became rare. And along the way, the Republican Party nationally has grown muted on possible solutions to violence, inequality, poverty and segregation in cities.


Numerous studies suggest that the partisanship of mayors has limited effect on much of anything: not just crime, but also tax policy, social policy and economic outcomes.


The president has effectively ascribed a level of power to mayors that they simply do not have.

Excuses, excuses. And nevertheless, she persisted;

Cities have been faced with problems far beyond their making. Deindustrialization and globalization wiped out many middle-class factory jobs, destabilizing neighborhoods of blue-collar workers. The federal policy of highway construction enabled both taxpayers and employers to leave cities. Federal housing policies dissuaded or prevented Black residents initially from joining them, cementing patterns of racial and economic segregation that persist to this day.

As cities have confronted these problems over decades, Republicans in Washington have cut funding to cities and programs they relied on.

Yes, crime in Democratic cities is the fault of Republicans who don't represent those cities.

But Thursday’s edition featured a Mihir Zaveri filing that was a little off the beat: “Finger-Pointing Continues as New York Sees Another Month of Violent Crime.” 

The steep rise in gun violence that has rattled New York City and intensified the debate over policing continued at an alarming rate in August, as shootings more than doubled over the same period last year and murders rose by nearly 50 percent, the police said.

The data released on Wednesday reflected a trend many cities across the country are experiencing in a year already marked by a pandemic and civil unrest: a new surge in shootings, murders and other crimes that has public officials grasping for explanations and scrambling to respond.


Violent crime always rises in the summer, but this year has been extreme in New York. Since May, the city has recorded 791 shootings, a more than 140 percent increase over the same period in 2019. The 180 murders seen between May and August is a more than 51 percent increase compared to 2019.

That was shocking to read, because only last week, one of the paper’s other reporters, Alan Feuer, confidently proclaimed that actually, tallk of a rise in crime was just conservative mythmaking.