'Deadly mistake': Conservatives regret backing flopped Trump plan to lure Black voters
Donald Trump (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

According to a report from Politico, a Donald Trump crime bill that he believed would woo Black voters and swing voters when he signed in 2018 has been memory-holed by GOP lawmakers after it flopped.

As Politico's Meredith McGraw wrote, the former president signed the First Step Act designed to reform the criminal justice system two years after being elected based on the expectation that Black voters would see his administration was listening to their concerns.

However, that did not translate into Black votes for the GOP and, now that conservatives are back to scaremongering about crime as the 2022 midterm elections looms, they are turning their back on the bill that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) recently called a "deadly mistake."

According to the Politico report, at the time the bill was passed it was believed it would indicate "...the beginning of a major shift in GOP politics, one that would move the party past the 1980s tough-on-crime mindset to a focus on rehabilitation, racial fairness and second chances."

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Now Trump and Republicans are pretending like they had nothing to do with it.

"With spikes in crime registering as a top concern for voters, Republicans have increasingly reverted back to that 1980s mindset. Talk of additional legislation has taken a back seat to calls for enhanced policing and accusations that Democratic-led cities are veering toward lawlessness," McGraw wrote, adding, "On Capitol Hill, Republicans made stiffer criminal sentencing a main focus during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Discussions of rising crime are a daily focus on Fox News. And out on the campaign trail, GOP candidates are running ads demonizing Democrats for not doing enough to support police."

According to conservative pollster Frank Luntz, "The focus has changed because the situation has changed. We’re not the same country.”

The report goes on to note that the GOP's ignoring their part in passing the bill is a sign that it was just a campaign ploy that flopped and they really had no interest in justice reform.

According to Brett Tolman of the conservative advocacy group Right on Crime who supported the bill, "I personally think there’s just as many people that want to do criminal justice reform as the last several years, but I think their voices are quiet now, and those that are opposed to the First Step Act are still opposed and have gotten louder."

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