In the city of Rochester, the police department has almost twice as much support as the mayor.
That’s one of the data points in a recent Emerson College poll commissioned by the news staff at Channel 8.
Sixty-five percent of city residents have a favorable view of the Rochester Police Department, while just 35 percent have a favorable view of Mayor Lovely Warren. Similarly, while 30 percent had an unfavorable view of the police department, 51 percent had an unfavorable view of the mayor.
And yet, she is very likely to be re-elected, and her war against the police department is likely to continue.
Why is that?
Because Rochester isn’t in the real world. Rochester is one of those progressive meccas where good is evil and evil is good and everything looks upside down. Rochester is a town where, on Election Day, logic and common sense play no role.
That’s also shown in the poll.
One week after the mayor’s husband was arrested in the takedown of a cocaine-distribution ring, one week after an illegal handgun was found by police in the mayor’s bedroom, one week after the mayor’s 10-year-old child was found home alone with that illegal handgun, a plurality of city voters say they are more likely to vote for the mayor because of the incidents.
Thirty-nine percent of the voters in Rochester say they are more likely to support Lovely Warren because her husband faces drug and weapons charges.
That’s pretty effed up.
But not as effed up as the fact that a rundown of significant issues for city voters did not even return a statistically significant number of respondents who were concerned about violence.
In a city on pace for a record year of homicides, with a murder rate higher than New York City and Chicago, and multiple shooting victims day after day, violence didn’t make the poll. Black lives matter, clearly, but not enough to impact public opinion.
All of this comes about a month before the Democrat primary for mayor, in which Lovely Warren is being challenged by City Councilman Malik Evans. He beats her among registered voters, but it’s a dead heat among likely voters, where the mayor’s core supporters – single, black woman, and city ministers – are rock solid for Lovely.
Ironically, but not surprisingly, her husband’s arrest may end up helping her keep her seat. There are a lot of families in the city of Rochester who’ve had members arrested for guns and drugs, and Lovely’s claim that “they” – that’s code for “white people” – are trying to tear her down has resonated. So did her claim that God talks to her and told her that political opposition to her is cut from the same cloth as slavery and Jim Crow.
It’s always about race with Lovely, and God always endorses her.
And that produces demonstrations – like her media speech after her husband’s arrest – that come off as comical to some, but as a rallying cry to others. And right now the rallying cry is predominant.
And so it is that an administration best described as a cluster of cronyism around a core of incompetence is pushing forward resolutely.
Calls for Lovely Warren to abandon her campaign, or whispers that she is facing looming arrest on a gun charge, or that the feds want to take over the investigation to get a piece of her, are all meaningless. The bottom line is that Lovely Warren is an industry. She is an army of patronage jobs passed out to relatives and friends, a network of ministers who profit from the relationship, and a coterie of cousins who took over City Hall, and she’s not going anywhere until they drag her out kicking and screaming.
That’s not likely to happen in the Democratic primary, where decades of political organizing is apt to produce a lot of Lovely supporters, especially in the new world of absentee and extended voting. It might happen in the general election, if six months from now Malik Evans can rekindle forgotten disgust for the mayor outside her core group of supporters.
But incumbents don’t usually lose. Especially black incumbents in plurality black cities.
That leaves a felony conviction.
Already facing an indictment on campaign finance charges, being accused of a crime doesn’t penetrate Lovely Warren’s Kevlar. The only way she goes down is with a felony conviction – which, under state law, automatically removes her from office.
But don’t hold your breath.
She doesn’t now face anything that seems guaranteed to lead to a conviction, and even if she was charged with something new, the process of prosecution could drag on for years.
All of which would only strengthen her political support among city voters.
So, if you’re placing a wager, you should bet that Lovely Warren’s here for the long haul.
And that the police department, almost twice as popular as she is, will continue to be destroyed by her incompetence and malevolence.