BY RED JAHNCKE ON OCTOBER 22, 2020
Originally Published in The Wall Street Journal
President Trump challenged Joe Biden in the first debate to name one police endorsement he’d received. Mr. Biden couldn’t—virtually all police organizations have endorsed Mr. Trump. Police groups are endorsing Republicans at every level of government, many for the first time and by overwhelming votes.
The nation’s largest police organization, with 355,000 members, is the Fraternal Order of Police. Patrick Yoes, the national group’s president, tells me every officer among the FOP’s membership has a vote. The process starts with officers voting at 2,100 local lodges, each of which votes at the state level. Then, at the national level, every state lodge casts a vote -- this year, unanimously for Mr. Trump.
An exception is the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, which has about 9,000 members out of the nation’s more than 100,000 black police officers. The group has objected to the Trump endorsements, though as a nonprofit it can’t issue endorsements itself.
In this year’s 35 U.S. Senate and 11 gubernatorial races, I’ve found only three Democrats with major police endorsements, including two whose GOP opponents won endorsements from other police groups.
How this happened is no mystery. “In 8 minutes 46 seconds, we all went from public servants to public enemies,” Mr. Yoes says, a reference to the George Floyd video. Democrats have sided with Black Lives Matter.
The reaction of America’s 800,000 police officers is also no surprise. “There’s only one party when it comes to law and order,” says John Krupinsky, president of the Connecticut FOP, whose local lodges voted unanimously to endorse Mr. Trump. The state lodge is endorsing virtually every Republican in the 187 races for the state legislature, except for four Democrats who broke ranks to vote against a bill limiting police liability protections and forbidding use of certain methods of restraining suspects. That law was enacted in a rushed special session in July and signed immediately by Gov. Ned Lamont. In August the Connecticut State Police Union took its own special action, adopting near-unanimously a resolution of no confidence in Mr. Lamont.
Ideally the police, like the judiciary, should be nonpartisan. But if one party defends law enforcement while the other supports those who attack it, you can’t expect cops not to notice.