Once Favoring Democrats, Massachusetts Police Officers Now Donating Heavily To Republican Causes

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/10/14/once-favoring-democrats-massachusetts-police-officers-now-donating-heavily-to-republican-causes/

Which side do Massachusetts police officers support in the 2020 federal elections?

In the third quarter of 2020, that edge went to Republicans and right-wing causes — and it wasn’t close.

In all, Federal Elections Commission records show that police in Massachusetts made 476 donations to federal races and political action committees totaling $23,943.40 from June 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020. About 80.2 percent of those ($19,198.98) went to Republicans and right-leaning causes whereas the rest ($4,744.42) went to Democrats and left-leaning causes

Not only does it mark an uptick in campaign contributions from police officers when compared to the past two presidential elections, but it also shows a shift in the types of candidates they support.

Previously, police officers were not donating as heavily to Republicans at the same point in elections. In 2016, for example, the year Donald Trump ran against Democrat Hillary Clinton, donations to Republican politicians and right-wing causes were virtually even with Democratic politicians and left-wing causes. Police donated $7,440 during the third quarter of 2016, and of that, $3,757.40 went to the right. That’s 50.5 percent of the total contributions. (The rest, 49.5 percent, went to the left.)

Rewind four years earlier, and the edge goes to the Democrats — pretty overwhelmingly. In the third quarter of 2012, when President Barack Obama was running for re-election against Republican nominee Mitt Romney, police officers made $6,804 worth of campaign contributions. Of those, only $2,435 went to Republicans and right-wing causes. That’s only about 35.8 percent. The overwhelming majority — the remaining 64.8 percent — went to Democratic politicians and left-wing causes.

That means that in eight years, police officers in Massachusetts have moved from donating left-of-center nearly two-to-one to donating right-of-center about four-to-one.

The dramatic shift comes at a time when some Democratic politicians have called for defunding the police and rerouting the funds to social services.

It’s something Jim Machado, the executive director of the Massachusetts Police Association,  has told New Boston Post is a bad idea.

“I just think that change and reforms in policing will not be without costs,” Machado said in a telephone interview. “We don’t think this is the proper time to be so-called ‘defunding the police’.”

A few of those politicians who do not oppose defunding the police are from Massachusetts.

One is U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester), who represents the state’s Seventh Congressional District.

“This is simply about a refund. This is about true reparations. This is about investment in communities,” Pressley told Time Magazine. “There’s a reason why the Congressional Black Caucus submits an alternative budget every year. Because we know that our communities have been historically under-resourced, underinvested in, and divested [from].”

“Of course our first responders have a role to play in society, but they needn’t play a role in every part of society,” she continued. “And they don’t want to.”

Another is U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-Melrose), who represents the state’s Fifth Congressional District.

Clark said the country should explore “how we allocate our resources to move police from being a culture of being warriors to being guardians,” according to a Boston Globe news story this past June.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has come out against defunding police but has reduced the city’s police budget in response to civil unrest in the country. He took $12 million from the police overtime budget to invest in social services for the city. That was about 20 percent of the Boston Police Department’s overtime budget, according to Boston.com.