It’s been nearly 30 years since then-Gov. Bill Clinton took a break from the campaign trail to oversee the execution of death-row inmate Ricky Ray Rector. Morally, it may have been repugnant to kill a man so mentally handicapped by a failed suicide attempt that he set aside the pecan pie of his last meal because he was “saving it for later.”
Politically, it was essential.
By the early 1990s the American left had spent a generation earning a soft-on-crime image in an era of growing lawlessness. In 1988, Mike Dukakis secured the Democrats’ third landslide loss thanks in no small part to his stalwart opposition to the death penalty. Four years later, it was difficult to imagine any Democrat reaching the White House without a literal blood sacrifice to the gods of law and order.”
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Great column Bret, but, I disagree with the following: “It’s the basis on which the United States was able to make its streets far safer from around 1995 to 2015, when crime rates kept going down — above all to the benefit of the very minority communities that progressives claim to champion.” Mr. Stephens, apparently, hasn’t yet read, “Freakonomics” by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt, which refers to research about the amazing correlation between the drop of crime, and the legalization of abortion almost exactly 20 years earlier. Police Chiefs across the country took credit for a drop in crime that was probably caused by reductions in unwanted children. Unfortunately, for the far left, this observation doesn’t negate the rest of Stephen’s analysis. Pramila Jayapal and her friends on the far left, are delivering the country back to the Trumpistas. So much for mitigating climate change.