Nearly every single metric published by the mainstream media leading up to the 2020 Presidential election has Trump losing and losing badly. They say that he is down double digits in the polls, and “hiding Joe Biden” is out-raising Trump in campaign funds. This is not a complete view.
The three dynamics below point out that the distinction between Trump emphasizing law and order and the riot-enabling stance of Democrats is stark. Trump’s response to riots, shootings, and attacks of US monuments are more popular. His use of shared-history as a rallying call for Americans to celebrate their diverse American heroes is more appealing than the tear-it-all-down project. In the unpredictable landscape of 2020, the Trump campaign is fighting strong.
Law and Order
We have seen a number of horrific shootings as a consequence of rioting/protesting in American cities and towns. This weekend, Jessica Doty Whitaker, 24, a young Mom from Indianapolis, was shot dead after clashing with some Black Lives Matter supporters when she replied to a group "all lives matter" when they said “black lives matter.” Her father has confirmed this.
On June 29th in Provo Utah, KSL News reported a group called Marching for Racial Equality were gathered on foot to protest police brutality. Another group called Back to Blue had planned to drive around the Provo Police Department and honk their horns to show support for law enforcement. Police said both events took place peacefully until around 8.30 p.m. when they received reports of gunshots and a hit-and-run. A video shared online showed a white SUV stopped by an intersection where protestors were and at least one shot being fired. Officials said a driver in his 60s was shot and taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery. Two people were later arrested: Jesse Taggart, 33 of Salt Lake City, on suspicion of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, rioting, threatening with the use of a weapon, criminal mischief, and firing a weapon near a highway and Samantha Darling, 27, of Ogden City on suspicion of obstruction of justice and rioting.
The New York Times reports that murder is up 16.1 percent in 25 large American cities this year compared to 2019. Recently, in one weekend, 14 people were killed and at least 106 people were shot in Chicago, a record for the last eight years. In New York City, gun violence is at a 25 year high. Last Sunday, there were at least nine killings in the city.
Atlanta is also experiencing an increase in violence. At the Wendy's parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police last month, protests have gone on for weeks. That killing escalated tensions between citizens, so now the Wendy’s has been burnt to the ground and 8 year-old Secoriea Turner lost her life in a horrific random shooting. More than 75 shootings have occurred in the city over the past few weeks.
Stressing the need for law and order to respond to violent crime, on July 8th, the Trump administration launched Operation Legend, a supportive, coordinated, law enforcement initiative across all federal law enforcement agencies. It will work alongside state and local law enforcement officials to fight the sudden surge of violent crime. According to Attorney General William Barr, Operation Legend will start in Kansas City, MO, and will include over 100 FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, DEA agents, and ATF agents. In addition, Timothy A. Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri will be adding resources from his office to ensure he is able to handle an anticipated increase in prosecutions. Operation Legend was named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot in the face and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. Kansas City has already reached 100 homicides this year, a 40 percent increase from last year, and the worst homicide rate in its history,” said, Attorney General Barr.
During a White House briefing, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced the launch of “Operation Legend” designated to fight the surge of violent crime in Kansas City, Mo. The project is named after a four-year-old who died after being shot in the face in his home
Vice President Mike Pence continued this theme during a “back the blue” campaign rally at a lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia. The Vice-President argued that Biden would cut funding for the police if elected. He slammed the Minneapolis City Council for the 12 – 0 vote in favour of defunding its police department and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for his $1 Billion in cuts to the NYPD budget. “I want you to hear this directly from me,” Vice President Pence said. “Under this president and this administration, we’re not going to defund the police. Not now, not ever.”
This starkly contrasts with Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden. At first, Biden said he didn’t support protesters’ demands to defund the police but said reforms are needed and backed a plan to allocate federal aid to local police departments adhering to certain standards of behavior. This week, during an interview with “This Now”, Biden said the police are over-militarized and have “become the enemy” when they go into neighborhoods in armored, military-style Humvees. He also said he would “absolutely” be willing to direct police funds elsewhere to mental health care, affordable housing, and other Democratic priorities.
President Trump was also resolute in standing up to rioters senselessly defacing and destroying historical sites, monuments, and statues. He signed an Executive Order that underscores already existing United States law which means up to 10 years imprisonment for the willful injury of Federal property. The order further said, "State and local law enforcement agencies who fail to protect monuments, memorials, and statues will be subject to the withholding of Federal support" and "That the Attorney General will take all appropriate action against individuals and organizations who act unlawfully through rioting and destroying Federal property". Extra Federal personnel has been made available across the Nation to protect Federal monuments, memorials, statues, and property.
As President Trump said in his 4th of July speech, “monuments memorialize the history all Americans share”, this history has produced heroes who are black, white, male and female. He re-iterated the story of the former President’s carved into Mount Rushmore behind him, that they were not just “slavers” as a CNN correspondent reported earlier that day, or “dead traitors'” as Rep Tammy Duckworth said. The reputation, life, and legacy of President’s like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, is not a horrible history to be attacked, it is a source of pride for the American people and the republic. His riposte was to give a unifying story back to America, to dedicate an executive order for the creation of a brand-new National Garden of Heroes outdoor park exhibit, featuring heroes that could ONLY really be produced in America: Great Americans like Martin Luther King Jr., great sports-people like Jackie Robinson, Mohammed Ali, the great moral figures, writers and artists. He mentioned Louis Armstrong, Booker T Washington, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dolly Madison, Amelia Earhart, Christa Mcauliffe, Orville, and Wilbur Wright and Harriet Tubman among others, and there could be additions.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to condemn the destruction of statues. Even the one of Christopher Columbus in the city of Baltimore where she was born and raised. She simply declared “People will do what they do,” and that statues are not that important to her. Maybe this attitude is why Antifa seemed so gung-ho in their campaign to destroy statues and memorials.
The public is not neutral in the face of violent acts
Democrats sit on the fence when it comes to acknowledging, or condemning, the extreme elements of recent protests. Some Democratic leaders have even spoken in SUPPORT of Antifa despite its violent history, others like Jerry Nadler said, "Antifa was 'imaginary' ". Mounting research however shows that the public does not support staying neutral in the face of violent acts. In the Pew Research Center’s national poll taken for June 16-22, 73% of respondents thought local police funding should stay about the same or be increased. Another poll suggests that the fallout from the Black Lives Matter protests has given Trump a brilliant new rallying call boosting his re-election campaign.
This poll conducted by the Washington based, Democracy Institute, surveyed a randomly selected sample of likely voters via interactive voice response questions, using a party identification turnout model of: Democrats = 38 percent; Republicans = 38 percent; and Independents = 24 percent. In one question, given a choice between which phrases identified their views 71 percent chose “all lives matter” while 29 percent picked “black lives matter”. On the topic of statues being attacked and pulled down, 74 percent said they disapproved of the actions while 77 percent disagreed with the assertion supported by many Democrat politicians that Mount Rushmore with the faces of four US Presidents carved on it “is racist”.
The poll also showed that 59 percent approved of the President’s handling of the riots and protests, 40 percent want him to be tougher, while 60 percent think Joe Biden has not been critical enough. In addition, 67 percent prefer President Trump’s law and order message compared to 29 percent who want black community relations improved with the police. Hopes that a black running mate for Vice President Biden will help seal the campaign for him have also been questioned in the poll with 79 percent saying it would make no difference.
The poll also indicates that President Trump may be benefiting from “silent support” which means it is absent from a lot of polls, and has made Biden the odds-on favorite to win. This sentiment has been expressed in Democrat circles too. Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Michigan), believes that that polls showing the president behind former Vice President Joe Biden is “inaccurate.” She said that she learned from GQR, a large Washington-based polling firm that surveys often count people they determine are “likely voters,” but in 2016 the number of people who told pollsters that they didn’t have plans to vote but ultimately did “were fundamentally undercounted.”
Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), a first-term member who represents a district President Trump won by roughly 7 points in 2016, said that polls showing the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden are “inaccurate.”
It must be noted of course that too many variables are at play for polls to accurately predict at this stage. They just provide a snapshot in time, but at this time the snapshot veers in the direction of support for the initiatives and campaign rallying calls of President Trump.
Carol King received a first class BA (honors) in History and Politics from Stirling University, along with an exceptional commendation for a study on US public opinion and Foreign Policy. She also completed a year of study at University of London before taking up a Graduate Proctor Fellowship at Princeton University. She further completed a MPhil in American Politics at Dundee University. Aspiring to be a writer/commentator on American politics, she now writes for UncoverDC.