Paul Krugman smacks down red state Republicans on crime stats
Paul Krugman (Screenshot)

Republicans have tried to scare voters about "crime" ahead of elections for generations, Mother Jones wrote earlier this month. This year, the GOP has cited out-of-control crime as a reason that Democrats can't be trusted to keep Americans safe, Paul Krugman wrote in his Monday column — two weeks ahead of the election.

The reality about crime was also pointed out by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joy Hofmeister during the Oklahoma debate. after Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt cited crime as a major issue in the state

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, Oklahoma had 342 homicides in 2020. It's a rate of 9 deaths per 100,000. In California, the homicide rate is 6.1 and in New York the rate is 4.7. So, yes, Oklahoma has a worse rate than blue states.

"Was Stitt unaware of this fact?" asked Krugman. "Or was he just counting on his audience’s ignorance? If it was the latter, he may, alas, have made the right call. Public perceptions about crime are often at odds with reality. And in this election year, Republicans are trying to exploit one of the biggest misperceptions: that crime is a big-city, blue-state problem."

The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein cited an exhaustive study by seven academic researchers showed that "homicides over recent years increased less rapidly in cities with progressive prosecutors than in those with more traditional district attorneys. It also found no meaningful differences between cities with progressive or traditional DAs in the trends for larceny and robbery."

Mother Jones cited data showing a 30 percent increase in homicides under Donald Trump in major cities in 2020. Killings slowed dramatically under Biden to just a 5 percent increase in major cities in 2021. Another study by the centrist think tank, Third Way, looked at state crime rates that also proved an increase among red states over blue ones.

Murder rates were an average of 40 percent higher in 2020 in 25 states where Donald Trump won in 2020, compared to states where Biden won. The highest murder rates are in states like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas. They're all run by Republicans and have been run by Republicans for decades.

"Republicans seem to do a much better job of talking about stopping crime than stopping crime," report co-author Jim Kessler told Axios.

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Krugman wants to see Democrats fight back.

"I’m not a politician, but this doesn’t seem as if it should be hard," he wrote. "Why not acknowledge the validity of concerns over the recent crime surge, while also pointing out that right-wingers who talk tough on crime don’t seem to be any good at actually keeping crime low?"

Read the full column at the New York Times.