CHICAGO MAYOR BRANDON JOHNSON
Conservatives don’t say, I told you so, when progressive policies backfire in Democratic cities; they say, you get what you vote for.
On January 1, 2020, New York’s experimental no-cash bail system went into effect. A week later, elected officials had second thoughts after they heard stories of suspects’ being set free and committing new crimes.
Conservatives said, you get what you vote for.
The Oakland Police Department announced a few months ago that crime in the city had climbed by 14 percent for three years in a row. According to the president of the NAACP’s Oakland branch, “failed leadership, including the movement to defund the police, our District Attorney’s unwillingness to charge and prosecute people who murder and commit life-threatening serious crimes, and the proliferation of anti-police rhetoric, have created a heyday for Oakland criminals.”
Again, conservatives said, you get what you vote for.
Conservatives warned Chicago voters not to choose progressive candidate Brandon Johnson as their next mayor. Johnson unveiled his crime-prevention strategy throughout his campaign. “Instead of investing more in policing and incarceration,” he said, “the city should focus on mental health treatment, affordable housing for all, and jobs for youth.”
Then he proposed taxing the “ultrarich” in order to pay for these efforts.
Johnson was elected, but during the transition period, there was a weekend of violence dubbed “The Teen Takeover of the Loop” (the central business district of Chicago), where hundreds of young people fought in the streets, blocked traffic, smashed cars, and two people were shot. The chaos appalled Mayor-elect Johnson, but he chastised the conservative media for demonizing the youth. Johnson stated that these young people are “starved of opportunities” in their own communities and that criticizing them is counterproductive.
After hearing Johnson’s excuses for the teenagers, conservatives predicted Chicago’s crime rate would reach unprecedented heights because nothing would be more counterproductive than Johnson’s ultra-progressive solutions to problems he hasn’t begun to understand.
It didn’t take long before PJ Media ran a headline that said: Thugs, gangs, and other criminals welcome Chicago’s new mayor with a 38 percent crime spike in his first month. Vehicle theft increased by 153 percent, aggravated battery increased by 17 percent, burglary increased by 12 percent, and shootings increased by 5 percent.
PJ Media acknowledged that Johnson’s tenure had just begun, so he is not to blame for the increase in crime, but Johnson is responsible for how he intends to approach the issue.
There appears to have been a spree of holdups in which armed criminals leaped out of stolen cars and robbed victims of their belongings. Their targets were food vendors and people on their way to or from work. These robberies became so common that Chicago police issued a community alert urging residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity when exiting their vehicles.
The city of Chicago decided to sue Hyundai and Kia for neglecting to include anti-theft systems in some of their vehicle models. The city claimed that the lack of this technology generated a “car theft crisis”. According to Mayor Johnson, the automaker’s irresponsibility has disproportionately affected low-income citizens since offenders use stolen Hyundais and Kias to perpetrate other crimes such as armed robbery and murder.
This time, Democratic colleagues mocked the mayor.
Democratic alderman Raymod Lopez said the figures speak for themselves—a 104 percent spike from last year and a 234 percent increase from two years ago—but the mayor doesn’t blame the criminals; he blames the cars.
Of course, conservatives said, you get what you vote for, but this time voters got exactly what Johnson promised.
Chicago isn’t the first to sue the automakers. A class-action lawsuit was filed in California a year ago accusing Hyundai and Kia of deliberately building cars without engine immobilizers (devices installed in vehicles to prevent theft through hot-wiring), despite the fact that other car manufacturers have used these devices in their vehicles for decades.
Johnson is only following their lead to “prevent” a specific type of car theft.
It’s worth remembering that throughout Johnson’s campaign, he stated that if elected, he would demonstrate that significant investments are necessary in order to “prevent” crime, which is the end goal.
In terms of the “car theft crisis,” the conservatives are correct—Chicagoans are getting what they voted for. However, when the mayor attempts to “prevent” murders by suing gun manufacturers, conservatives aren’t going to say, you get what you vote for.
They’re going to say, I told you so.