It wasn’t all that long ago that quite a few Republicans had climbed on board the “criminal justice reform” bandwagon and were complaining how mean and racist all the laws were. You still see some conservatives repeating the lefty talking point that the 1994 Crime Bill was somehow racist. (Not only wasn’t it racist, it was a heavily watered-down approach that was supported by black leaders.)
After the BLM race riots, conservatives have hesitantly pivoted back to trying to get back to where we were before shoplifting was legalized and looting stores became a fun weekday activity. Like a lot of conservative projects, this tends to involve complaining about how things are and suggesting they’d be satisfied to back to the way things were in 2018, with little in the way of meaningful proposals to make that happen.
Meanwhile, Gov. DeSantis decided to jam the Overton Window hard in the other direction.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday outlined a sweeping criminal justice proposal that came packed with changes that have long been politically popular with conservatives, setting up a fight with outmatched Democrats during the 2023 legislative session.
At both events, DeSantis stressed he wanted the GOP-led Legislature to change Florida law to allow juries to administer the death penalty by a supermajority rather than requiring unanimity, which has been state law since 2017. DeSantis has tied this proposal to the case of the Parkland school shooter, who shot and killed 17 people but was spared the death penalty because one of the jurors was against the death penalty.
“One juror should not be able to veto that,” DeSantis said Thursday. “I don’t think justice was served.”…
DeSantis also wants to consider allowing the death penalty for child rapists and at least make sure they serve life in prison. He also wants to eliminate “gain time,” which offers reduced sentences for good behavior, for those convicted of attempted sexual misconduct or battery.
Now, that’s what criminal justice reform looks like.
And, tactically speaking, this forces the lefties and their media to frantically scurry and defend child rapists and school shooters. It’s a losing battle. Applying the death penalty to murderers has been an uphill battle. Applying it to child rapists would be harder to actually implement, but it’s the kind of issue that lefties would swarm around and that turns into a debate about whether we should be tougher or softer on child rapists.
Strategically, it leaves elite white lefties isolated on the issue.
It’s obviously a lot easier to take the battle to the enemy when you have the electoral high ground, but it’s remarkable how few red state governors actually do it. There are lessons to be learned here.
The Left understands that our society is broken and up for grabs. It goes for the Overton Window as hard as it can because it knows the guardrails are gone. Conservatives critique the Left’s window-opening skills while doing little in response or offering counter-proposals. If the Left wants to legalize pedophilia, proposing the death penalty for pedophiles is a neat counter. Which one is the public more likely to support at a gut level?