Conservative Views on Crime Control Reign, GOP Doesn’t Gain from It: Comment


The lower U.S. crime rate has “blunted what was once a sharp wedge issue, and, perhaps, freed the electorate to consider social and moral issues in a different light,” writes Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane. Crime was not an issue in this year’s presidential campaign, in part because the public feel’s “satisfied” with U.S. policies on crime, at least by a margin of 50 to 45 percent in a Gallup survey.

The crime decline could be regarded as a Republican triumph because it “coincided with the widespread adoption of such conservative ideas as ‘broken windows’ policing and mandatory minimum sentences,” Lane writes. Whether such policies actually caused crime to fall is a much-debated question, but “many people believe that they did,” Lane says. The result is that “conservative crime doctrine remains dominant in politics, with the two parties differing mainly over how to control and punish unlawful conduct most cost-effectively.” Among other things, this means that Republicans can’t use the crime issue much for electoral advantage, Lane says.

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