The Washington Post has had it with President Trump’s oft-repeated theme that America’s “most dangerous” cities (implicitly, the cities with the worst crime rates) are “all run by Democrats.”
So the Post’s Philip Bump checked into it. He discovered that, while most of the highest-crime cities are run by Democrats, it’s by no means true that all the cities are.
“It’s not clear how Trump is defining ‘most dangerous,’” wrote Bump in his WaPo article on Thursday. “So let’s look at two related sets of data compiled by the FBI: most violent crime and most violent crime per capita.
“The most recent data to that effect,” Bump continued, “is from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report covering the first half of 2019. The cities with the most violent crimes are many of the most populous cities in the country … Those with the highest rates of violent crime are from a range of different states.”
The cities with the highest per capita rates are of varying size too. Houston, for example, is a sprawling metropolis with a population of more than 2.3 million. Stockton, California’s population is about 311,000, but South Bend, Indiana has only about 102,000. (All have Democratic mayors, incidentally.)
Bump’s findings: “Most of the current mayors of these cities are Democrats. Two of the mayors of cities with the most reported violent crimes overall, though, are independents and one, the mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., is a Republican. Among the 20 cities with the most violent crime per capita, one isn’t a Democrat: the independent mayor of Springfield, Mo.”
In case readers’ eyes glazed over taking in this verbal summary, Bump has provided a more eye- and brain-friendly graph.
As can clearly be seen, Democrats are most definitely not in charge in all the most dangerous cities. A few people have been having fun with the graphic on Twitter.
The Washington Post actually thought they were owning Trump by posting this? pic.twitter.com/m6PnV7Y4JC
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) June 27, 2020
But Bump has other points to make, such as that Trump will give his GOP nomination acceptance speech in the Republican-run city of Jacksonville, Florida in August. Mayor Lenny Curry has held the mayoral office since 2015.
To flesh out the Jacksonville picture: since the city expanded by consolidating adjacent territory in 1968, there have been eight mayors: three Republicans and five Democrats, of whom the most recent Democrat, Alvin Brown, was Curry’s predecessor.
Check out Bump’s other points as well.
Worth noting, meanwhile: the mayor of San Antonio, Texas is a non-partisan position. The incumbent, Ron Nirenberg, describes himself as a “progressive,” and was endorsed by the Texas Democratic Party in his 2019 reelection campaign. The LGBT Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio endorsed Nirenberg for his 2017 run. Although the position is non-partisan, San Antonio has had Democrats as mayors (including Julian Castro from 2009 to 2014) since the last Republican, Howard W. Peak, left office in 2001.
The mayor of Las Vegas, although holding a non-partisan position, was also a lifelong Democrat until she ran for mayor as an independent. Mayor Carolyn Goodman, 81, was thus a Democrat for quite a few years. Her husband, Oscar Goodman, who preceded her in office and died in 2011, was also a Democrat. Las Vegas has not had a Republican in the mayor’s office since Oran K. Gragson left in 1975.
Springfield, Missouri is a different story. The current mayor, also holding a non-partisan position, is Ken McClure. Until he ran for the Springfield City Council in 2015, he had not held an elective office, although he had worked in government extensively in state agencies and on boards and commissions. But he did serve as chief of staff and transition director for former Governor Matt Blount (son of long-time U.S. Rep. Roy Blount), a Republican.
Thus, we can join Philip Bump in confirming that not all of the most dangerous cities in America are led by Democrats. At least one (Jacksonville) is definitely not, a second (Springfield, MO) is probably not, a third (San Antonio) is led by a progressive endorsed by the state Democratic party, and a fourth is led by an 81-year-old non-partisan mayor who was a Democrat until she was 70.