Democrats’ midterm strategy is to endorse both law enforcement funding and abortion rights. But there’s a problem: where abortion bans exist, police are now tasked with enforcing them.

By Akil Vicks, Jacobin

“To me, it’s simple,” President Joe Biden told attendees of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives at their annual conference. “If you can’t support banning weapons of war on American streets, you’re not on the side of police.” Biden also said of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-cop.”

A protester was walking away from policemen peacefully. Many protesters gathered around in front of White House in Washington DC on 5/31/2020.

Biden’s comments, clearly meant to position his administration and the Democratic Party as allies to law enforcement, were part of a larger midterm strategy by party leadership to defend frontline Democrats from Republicans’ charges of anti-police sentiment.

The strategy hit a snag last month as progressive house members were able to delay a vote on a broadly popular assault weapons ban bill that included significant federal money for local law enforcement without any oversight or police reform measures. Progressives’ pushback has not prompted any self-reflection from party leaders who, concerned about Wille Horton–style campaign attacks in the fall, view supporting more funding for law enforcement as a repudiation of the “defund the police” rhetoric they believe is toxic to their electoral chances.

But moderate Democrats’ support for extra police funding presents a glaring contradiction with their other big midterm strategy, which is to emphasize their support of legal abortion in the wake of the Roe v. Wade repeal. Following the success of conservative efforts to ban abortion, it became immediately clear to many onlookers that digital surveillance will play a crucial role in the efforts to find and punish women seeking now-illegal abortions. In states where abortions are made illegal, some of the policing tools that Democrats want to fund will no doubt be used to track and prosecute women.

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