The NY Times published a story today which includes an interview with women voters living in Atlanta’s suburbs who plan to vote for Trump, in part, because of the left’s push to “defund the police” and the riots associated with that message. The Times points to polling to suggest this message hasn’t resonated with suburban voters around the country but admits it appears to be having an impact in Georgia.
Natalie Pontius is an interior decorator, married with two children and a University of Georgia alumna. She was born and raised in Atlanta, but moved to the city’s exurbs with her family severalyears ago, drawn to the region’s quality of public education. In November, she’s voting for Donald Trump.
The decision was a no-brainer. “The riots, the push to defund the police — that’s not the direction our country needs to go,” Ms. Pontius, 48, said. “I feel like the Democratic Party is continually trying to come up with ways to divide us.”…
According to more than a dozen such voters in and around Atlanta, what’s currently keeping them from jumping ship is not so much a deep affinity for Mr. Trump, but a fear of “lawlessness” taking root should Democrats take the White House…
Polling suggests that in many battleground states where protests turned violent this summer, that message hasn’t broken through. But in Georgia, many voters said Mr. Trump’s “law-and-order” appeals had struck a nerve, and almost all cited a fear that the call among some progressives to “defund the police” would materialize during a Biden presidency.
The Times also spoke to Amanda Newman, who works at a law firm downtown. Newman said she’s aware that Biden has said he does not support defunding the police but feels a vote for Biden is also a vote for Harris and other more extreme voices on the left, like AOC who do support those efforts. She told the Times, “I don’t think Joe Biden has an opinion until somebody tells him what it is.” Newman saw some of the destruction caused by the far left up close. Rioters broke the windows on the ground floor of the building where she works.
The Times spoke to an elected Democrat from DeKalb county who said Biden could win back some of these voters by taking their fear of lawlessness seriously. In his view it’s “ridiculous” to suggest that defund the police means “we don’t want any police.”
This being the NY Times, they didn’t point out that some people really do want to disband the police. Remember when the mayor of Minneapolis was booed off the street by hundreds of protesters for refusing to endorse that goal?
Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist, said the message about police isn’t the only one causing more conservative voters to swing back toward Trump, “You’re hearing people now saying that they don’t like Trump, but that the Supreme Court opening has reminded them why it’s important to have a Republican in the White House.”
Whether this means Trump is likely to pull off another upset win in two weeks is a separate question, but I think this shows that there are plenty of real voters are concerned about the extremism of the left even if Joe Biden is an attempt to put a moderate face on the party.