Emma Vigeland, @Matt Binder , and Brandon Sutton field a call to the Majority Report from a listener concerned about police unions and their effect on local politics. The caller was involved in an election in Fort Worth, Texas, and the local Police Officers Association sent out mailers filled with "copaganda" to suppress turnout and alter the results of a mayoral race. The caller describes the information is racist, misleading crime statistics and the terrible policies left in place when POAs are able to choose elected officials.
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CALLER: I want to talk about the outsized and really gross influence that Police Officer Associations have on local politics. I was deeply embroiled in a voter outreach for the local election in Fort Worth, Texas. We managed to help get two progressive candidates elected to city council, but boy, we got on the POA's radar, and they were sending out all sorts of B.S. mailers and propaganda to all the different communities that we were in. And trying to get out, and activate folks.
Fort Worth has got a really terrible history of voter turnout, like a lot of places in the U.S. Voter turnout was like 3% in 2019, but the work that the organization that I was a part of and several other groups, we managed to get a 14.5% voter turnout in this last election, and very nearly elected the first female Black mayor of Fort Worth in Fort Worth history. But the racist runoff election rules that are common in the South gave the moneyed interests and the Police Officers Association plenty of opportunity to get all those white votes out against the candidate of color off of the mayor. So it was really uplifting to be a part of groups doing some really good direct work. Electoralism's got its limits but every voice that we get onto city council is a step towards being able to make substantial structural changes to the way things are done.