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VICTOR JOECKS: What ‘stolen election’ claims and ‘defund the police’ have in common

People who believe the 2020 election was stolen and those who want to defund the police have more in common than they may think.

On Monday, former-President Donald Trump put out a statement labeling last year’s election “THE BIG LIE.” Meanwhile, over the past year, cities around the country cut police budgets in response to calls to “defund the police.”

Those very different positions share similarities. To start, both take a valid concern and stretch it beyond what evidence supports.

Regular readers know my concerns about election integrity. As I recently detailed, the office of Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske found that more than 4,000 Nevada voters presented immigration paperwork at the DMV within the past five years. More than 8,000 mail ballots came from voters who months before weren’t living at the addresses to which the ballots were sent.

Those facts demand further investigation, and Cegavske blew it by not pursuing them. But that doesn’t prove Trump’s loss in Nevada was fraudulent. President Joe Biden’s won Nevada by more than 30,000 votes. In other states he lost, Trump has failed to produce sufficient evidence of election fraud either.

When it comes to police reform, there are indeed police officers who act inappropriately. A recent example took place last month in Minnesota. Police tried to arrest 20-year-old Daunte Wright. He resisted, and officer Kim Potter shot him. From the body camera footage, it appears she meant to fire her Taser.

That incident demanded an investigation. The officer was charged with second degree-manslaughter. But a mistake by one police officer doesn’t mean police should be defunded. Incidents such as this are tragic, but they aren’t widespread. Last year, police shot 55 unarmed individuals, according to The Washington Post database.

Assertions involving voter fraud and police shootings rest on a false premise.

Trump doesn’t think it possible that Biden could have beaten him in a fair contest. Ergo, the election must have been stolen. Nonsense. Trump was highly polarizing and made the election a referendum on himself. A Trump loss was a plausible outcome going into Election Day.

At the same time, many “defund” backers believe policing is systematically racist. If that were the case, you’d expect less policing would benefit African Americans. You can test that theory by looking at what happened after the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015. Public outrage led Baltimore police to do less proactive policing. In essence, the police defunded themselves.

As a result, the number of Black homicide victims jumped from 189 in 2014 to 319 in 2015, according to the Baltimore Sun. The number was 291 and 288 in the following two years. A more engaged police force might have saved many of those 300-plus African Americans who were murdered.

Another similarity is that both propositions create political problems for supporters. The GOP likely lost the runoffs for two Georgia Senate seats after Trump’s election fraud claims persuaded some Republicans not to show up. After the election, Biden said “defunding the police” allowed Republicans to “beat the living hell out of us.”

It’s easier to recognize the flaws in an argument you disagree with. It’s good to take a moment, however, to consider if any of those same critiques apply to conclusions you agree with.

Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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