What presidential candidate in 2016 refused to fill out the Fraternal Order of Police questionnaire that was a necessary part of the process to get their endorsement? That candidate was former Senator Hillary Clinton. The FOP went to endorse President Trump. They noted in interviews that it was unusual for a presidential candidate not to answer their questions.
What presidential candidate in 2020 refused to participate in the process needed to get the endorsement of the National Association of Police Organizations? That candidate was former Vice President Joe Biden. This police association representing 1,000 police associations and 241,000 officers went on to endorse President Trump.
What would motivate both Clinton and Biden to not participate in communicating with the police? My analysis is that in 2016 and much more now the calculation is the base of their support would not condone any attempt to try to win the endorsement of police.
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I often tell listeners that while many endorsements are overrated, the endorsement of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day should be golden. Michael McHale, president of the police union, said in endorsing President Trump, “Our endorsement recognizes your steadfast and very public support for our men and women on the front line, especially during this time of unfair and inaccurate opprobrium being directed at our members by so many. ”
This statement reflects the fact that significant numbers of Americans are lumping all cops together with cops who have brutalized people. What infuriates me is that I’m convinced that many Americans, including people in Bucks and Montgomery counties, still support the police but have not publicly risen up to show their support.
It’s clear that you can support police reforms like the banning the use of chokeholds, a national database to track cops who have been disciplined for various infractions and assorted other reforms and not want to defund and abolish police departments. The media would have you believe that Americans have turned to the magical thinking that replacing cops with mental health officers will solve our problems.
I think the public in Bucks and Montgomery counties still welcomes the sight of their local police. I wrote a column earlier in the year praising the Abington Police for their measured and thoughtful pushback against new Abington School Board member Dr. Tamar Klaiman for her remarks against police in schools. She said, “There’s a lot of evidence that anyone carrying a firearm in a district building puts kids at risk, particularly students of color.” She further said, “Black and Brown students are more likely to be shot by police officers, especially school resource officers, than other students.” Finally, she said, “Police officers shoot people pretty regularly.”
These remarks triggered public outrage and a massive show of support for police at a public meeting at which Klaiman apologized. If the same scenario occurred now, I still think people would turn out to support the Abington Police. In fact, I think people are looking for opportunities to publicly display their support. It’s anecdotal but I’m starting to see and get reports on my show of more people displaying signage supporting cops.
The horrific murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota was a moment that unified Americans. Sadly, it has been seized upon by some to defame police and try to erode public confidence in them. Soon the Fraternal Order of Police will announce their endorsement of President Trump or former Vice President Biden. I’m betting the vice president wilal ignore their survey questions because of fear of his supporters. It’s up to you to process that when voting in November.
Dom Giordano can be heard daily from 9 a.m. to noon on Talk Radio 1210 AM and can be reached at @domshow1210 on twitter and [email protected].