Lori Lightfoot’s Defeat Signals Tough Road Ahead for Democrats on Crime

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week became the first incumbent in the city to lose reelection in decades, prompting New York City Mayor Eric Adams to call it a “warning sign for the country” in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”[0] Lightfoot's defeat was largely due to her perceived failure to reduce crime in the city, and it looks to be an early Democratic test for 2024.[1]

President Joe Biden and Democrats are fending off accusations they are “soft on crime” amid congressional Republican-led efforts to overturn a Washington, D.C., crime bill and Lightfoot's ouster from office.[2] Biden stunned many in his own party by supporting a Republican-led House bill to overrule a D.C. law for the first time in nearly three decades.[3]

Adams, who has been vocal about his tough-on-crime stance, said that mayors are “the closest to the problem” and that public safety is “a prerequisite to prosperity.”[4] He stated that the polls showed that New Yorkers felt unsafe, and that he was speaking to everyday working-class people who were concerned about safety.

This election showcases the fight that Democrats are facing as they try to redefine their public safety platform ahead of 2024.[1] Biden's about-face on the D.C. crime bill shows that Democrats are on the defensive and must grapple with the issue of crime as they try to appeal to voters.[5]

0. “NYC mayor says Lori Lightfoot's loss in Chicago is ‘warning sign for the country'” KXLY Spokane, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.kxly.com/news/politics/national-politics/nyc-mayor-says-lori-lightfoots-loss-in-chicago-is-warning-sign-for-the-country/article_f4a913cc-6662-59dd-b344-8b28cfeba900.html

1. “Democrats grapple with messaging on crime” Axios, 3 Mar. 2023, https://amp.axios.com/democrats-grapple-with-messaging-on-crime-c424cb78-6f10-47da-8230-823183bde7a0.html

2. “Biden tries to rebrand Democrats on crime, but urban liberals don't cooperate” Washington Examiner, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/biden-crime-dc-lightfoot

3. “Dems got their woke-up call with Lori Lightfoot's loss” New York Post , 5 Mar. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/03/04/dems-got-their-woke-up-call-with-lori-lightfoots-loss/

4. “NYC mayor says Lori Lightfoot's loss in Chicago is ‘warning sign for the country'” CNN, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/05/politics/eric-adams-lori-lightfoot-crime-cnntv/index.html

5. “NYC Mayor Adams Says Chicago Election Is ‘Warning Sign' on Crime” msnNOW, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/nyc-mayor-adams-says-chicago-election-is-warning-sign-on-crime/ar-AA18ePMU