Which Candidate Do You Support in the Republican Primaries?
Commentary by Guy Ciarrocchi originally published by RealClearPennsylvania and made available via RealClearWire
For weeks, the nation had its eyes on Chester County, Pennsylvania – my home. The hunt for double-murderer Danelo Cavalcante captivated viewers, especially in suburban Philadelphia, because for us it was real life: helicopters zooming overhead, 911-alerts to shelter in place, body-armored police manning checkpoints and searching cars, schools closed for days.
As the former CEO of the Chester County Chamber and someone focused on public policy, I did what I often do: I wrote about this event and did interviews on talk radio and podcasts. Then, the floodgates of public opinion poured in. While most comments were positive – “thank you for speaking out” – others were critical. How dare I “make” this tragedy “political,” some said.
Welcome to the suburbs. This episode of life and public policy highlighted another challenge – and, maybe, opportunity – for Republicans here. While most of my critics were activist Democrats and progressive gadflies, it was clear that a subset of Republicans and Independents were uncomfortable with my comments, too, at least while the hunt was ongoing.
Had I broken social protocol simply by suggesting that bad policies and wrongheaded priorities had allowed the escape to occur and to last as long as it did? Whatever one thinks of the merits of my observations, the bigger issue is that some voters seem uncomfortable with holding Democratic politicians accountable for putting their ideology into practice.
Maybe those Independents and Republicans should consider that what I was trying to do with my comments should be done more often – namely, demonstrating policy-and-priority cause and effect, and offering tangible alternatives.
Whether the issue is rising violent crime, an uncountable number of people illegally pouring through the nation’s southern border, expensive gasoline, soaring inflation, or our kids’ falling test scores and rising anxiety, it’s about time that voters begin to assess the Democrats’ report card. Republicans need to point these facts out to swing voters who have given Democrats almost total control of many U.S. suburbs and empowered President Biden.
The Cavalcante episode presents a case study. When an illegal immigrant, a double-murderer who had been previously arrested for domestic violence and allowed to go back home (to the woman he eventually slashed to death in front of her children) escapes from a short-staffed prison in the same way that another prisoner had escaped just weeks earlier; when there is no K-9 unit so that trained dogs were not available to hunt the escapee; when the district attorney waited for hours to release the murderer’s picture to the public and didn’t ask state police for help until Day 5; when the sheriff held a campaign fundraiser, posting pictures on social media, while the escapee was still on the run; and when the Chester County Prison Board is chaired by and made up largely of the county commissioners, the DA, the sheriff, and the controller, all Democrats – why is it wrong to raise these factual points, tie them to the disastrous results, and demand accountability?
The party of “defund the police” and “open up the southern border” needs to answer questions. When he was arrested for domestic violence, why was Cavalcante not sent back to Brazil – where there’s a warrant for him on murder charges? Why did the prison accept a double murderer if it was already short-staffed? Why not place Cavalcante under armed guard? Why haven’t they reinstated a K-9 unit at the prison? Why let him go outside to “get exercise?”
These are policy choices, made with terrible judgment.
Is it wrong to review these facts and to suggest that policy decisions and dubious priorities have caused these effects? Isn’t it an obligation to criticize what happened and offer solutions? It’s certainly an obligation for reporters, journalists, and commentators.
Today, violent crime in our cities is reaching the suburbs. After years of Democrats vilifying police, second-guessing their work, and supporting legislation that allows criminals to sue cops who arrest them, is it any wonder that our police forces are hollowing out and our prisons are understaffed? Democrats have instituted no-cash bail and decriminalized retail theft under $1,000 in major cities; now our downtowns are empty. Is there any mystery as to why?
The Cavalcante episode brought into focus this challenge and opportunity for suburban Republicans. They must find a way to talk responsibly about the Democrats’ policies and consequences and the contrast between their ideologically driven priorities and the priorities of voters living in the real world, dealing with the harmful effects. Republicans need to do this effectively and repeatedly; unless they do, America will continue in the direction it’s going.
And pardon me if I ask: How’s that working out?
By Guy Ciarrocchi – This article was originally published by RealClearPennsylvania and made available via RealClearWire.