What Does Primary Win For Ex-Cop Mean For "Defund The Police"

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Last summer, it seemed all we could hear was “defund the police” over and over again. If not for COVID, talk of defunding law enforcement would have been the biggest topic of the year. This was a thing because of the whole George Floyd situation.

While a lot of people agreed that Floyd’s arrest was handled improperly, many also argued that trying to defund police everywhere because of the problems in that particular department was probably not a great idea.

A lot of folks didn’t want to listen.

Now, crime is soaring pretty much everywhere. It’s now bad enough that it looks like an ex-NYPD officer is set to be the next mayor of New York.

We have a winner: Eric Adams will be the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, clinching a victory in the city’s first ranked-choice mayoral primary.

A former cop turned Brooklyn borough president, he rode a wave of concern about violent crime to a narrow win. Adams beat rival Kathryn Garcia by just 8,426 votes, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent. Adams declared victory Tuesday night, and The Associated Press called the race.

“The results are clear: an historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City,” Adams said in a statement. “Now we must focus on winning in November so that we can deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are underserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers.”

In the ranked-choice tally, Garcia, the former city sanitation commissioner, gained on Adams by picking up down-ballot votes as rivals Andrew Yang and Maya Wiley were eliminated. But it was ultimately not enough to overcome his substantial election night lead. Garcia did not concede (nor did Wiley), but she’s scheduled to speak in Central Park this morning. The results are expected to be certified next week.

So now, folks in the Big Apple will pick between a former police officer and the founder of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Silwa.

I’m pretty sure they’re done siding with the criminals at this point.

Adams’ win, however, is significant because New York City is a liberal town. While they’ve elected Republicans to be mayor in the past (Rudy Guiliani, for example), though, they tend to vote more for Democrats. Plus, his status as an ex-cop should have been a hindrance with the anti-police sentiment, right?

Except, that’s probably never been the majority of New Yorkers (or anyone else for that matter). Even if it had been, a year or so of heightened violent crime likely had an impact on people’s thinking on the matter. People don’t like to feel like they aren’t safe, and with New York’s gun laws, they can’t protect themselves, so they have to count on the police to do it.

Under current leadership, that’s not something they can really count on.

Defund the police is effectively dead as a movement in New York City. While it may still be going in a number of other places, I suspect it won’t last long there, either. People are sick and tired of the criminals getting away with their crap and the government sticking their heads in the sand about it.

That’s not to say Adams doesn’t have his own set of issues as a politician, because he does, but it’s not really about him. It’s about the fact that he, an ex-police officer, could win big in New York City despite the supposed bias against police officers. It seems at the end of the day, New Yorkers really want to feel safe and Adams is the candidate they think can deliver.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET