Opinion: Democrats Need To Take Responsibility For Baltimore’s Problems, From The Economist

Opinion: Democrats Need To Take Responsibility For Baltimore’s Problems, From The Economist

By Autumn Keiko

Democrats. Do they hold responsibility for the problems that are plaguing the formerly great city of Baltimore?  The troubles that Trump mocked the city for in recent tweets. To which Elijah Cummings, a Black Democratic congressman from Maryland’s seventh district, took offense. In his tweets, Trump called Baltimore “the worst run and most dangerous” district in America. He taunted Cummings by adding most of the city is a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” in which “no human being would want to live.”

An opinion piece in The Economist, entitled “How to fix Baltimore: Democrats need to take responsibility for Baltimore’s problems,” said Democrats have to take responsibility for the “mess” Baltimore is in.

While acknowledging that Trump’s tweets smack of “bigotry,” The Economist added: “Baltimore’s problems are all too real. It is one of America’s great cities: Johns Hopkins University, the Victorian splendour of Fell’s Point, and an important port are assets most American mayors would dream of. But it is also deeply troubled. Since the spring of 2015, when Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, died in police custody, sparking rioting that set parts of the city alight, Baltimore has struggled to hold itself together.”

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The city has gotten dangerous — in 2019 the number of murders is likely to surpass 300 for the fifth year in a row. It has more homicides than New York, which has 14 times more residents. Baltimore also has the worst overdose rate of any big American city. 

“The causes of these problems are long-term and structural. Deindustrialization, baleful planning and white flight all hit hard from the 1960s onwards. But the recent deterioration was not inevitable, even after the riot. And though Cummings does not deserve Trump’s barbs, the Democratic Party to which he belongs, and which has controlled the city of Baltimore since 1967, must take its share of responsibility,” The Economist pointed out.

Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned after being investigated over a corruption scandal, making her the second mayor to have resigned over graft allegations in a decade. 

There are many problems Baltimore has to address, noted The Economist. One being the police force.

“Baltimore has repeatedly failed to clean up its police. It has had cops clearing street corners rather than investigating murders. Corruption and brutality have gone unpunished. Projects such as Operation Ceasefire, which stopped tit-for-tat killings in other cities, have been tried only half-heartedly,” stated The Economist.

And The Economist concluded: “Unless Baltimore can get crime under control, it will continue to lose businesses and better-heeled residents and the taxes they pay. The risk is that one of America’s great metropolises enters a death spiral, as Detroit had by the 1990s. If that happens, Trump’s tweets will be the least of its problems.”