The police unions endorsement of Senator Marco Rubio over a lifetime law enforcement officer and official in Val Demings is no surprise. The FOP & PBA have long become adjuncts of political power and conservative causes, in fact directly aiding the rise of the GOP in this state. The police unions support for Jeb Bush and GOP legislators were critical in the 1998-2005 period when they achieved complete political hegemony over the state.
If the police unions are going to oppose candidates that promote gun safety and embrace those like Rubio who seem to have a gun fetish, any attempt at partnering with them is futile. While many Democrats believe the rhetoric of “defund the police,” hurt the party in 2020, I’d argue equally damaging is the unwillingness to fundamentally reform the police because of the support they give to municipal officials in large cities, many of whom are Democrats.
It’s clear the police union’s macro-alliances are now not with Democrats and the decision of the major police unions to back Rubio MUST be met with strong pushback from the party’s officials. Now is the time to reform the police, reform gun laws and make America safer for all its citizens and visitors. It’s time to rework contracts and protections for law enforcement officials who in many cases plainly do not do their jobs, or engage in abuses that divide our society and polarize people by race and ethnicity.
Any police reform is difficult with the unions in the way and given the FOP and PBA seem unwilling to really take on the same sort of pro-gun control stands that characterized the groups in the 1990’s, the Democrats should feel safety in moving beyond them. The time for reform is now.