Two months ago George Floyd’s death at the hands of a group of Minneapolis police officers touched off a wave of riots across the country. The violence has largely been centered in Democrat-controlled areas, with cities like Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle bearing the brunt of the unrest. These cities have suffered billions of dollars in property damage with minority-owned businesses hardest hit. Democrat officials have largely stood back and allowed the violence to occur. Some mayors have even encouraged the violence.
Conservatives of all stripes have been in full freak-out mode since the first riots started in May. They have insisted that President Trump bears responsibility for stopping the violence, not city leaders or local law enforcement. In fact, some have called for President Trump to send in the military in an attempt to quash the violence.
The fact that President Trump has not done so has stuck in the craw of these conservatives. They complain that President Trump looks weak and feckless. “Trump hides in his basement while the cities burn,” they shriek. Of course, such protestations ignore the fact that local authorities are the ones responsible for protecting their citizens from these riots. No matter, these conservatives are confident that Americans are blaming President Trump for the Antifa gangs rampaging through their streets.
Does this view reflect reality, though? The Hill released the results of a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll on Monday that seems to show Americans know exactly who is responsible for the rising tide of violence across the country.
Hint: it’s not President Trump:
Seventy-seven percent of respondents say they are concerned that crime is rising in the nation’s cities, while 46 percent of respondents said they were concerned about rising crime in their own communities.
“At the same time they see an increase of violence and crime and are concerned that prosecutors are not prosecuting the crimes — they blame the protests and the high unemployment when asked what is responsible for the spike in violence,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris polling director Mark Penn. “They also single out social media for being used to coordinate violence and in their view not doing much to curb it.”
Strange. I had been assured by some conservatives that President Trump looks like a moron too weak to do anything other than cower underneath the resolute desk while Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters catapult Joementia into the White House in November. How is it possible that Americans aren’t blasting President Trump for failing to declare martial law and become the right-wing dictator we know they secretly yearn for?
Bryan Preston over at PJ Media helpfully provides us with an explanation:
Penn’s mention of the prosecutors is interesting. Democrat prosecutors in the nation’s riot zones have been clear that they will release “mostly peaceful” protesters whose peaceful protests intensify into arson, looting, assault, and the like. In Travis County, Texas (Austin), the Democrats handed victory in their primary to Delia Garza, who explicitly ran on that very platform. Local prosecutors’ open support for the hardly peaceful protesters is what led to federal action, which the Democrats are now claiming is some foreboding portent of “martial law.”
They could have prevented the need for federal action by upholding the laws they swore to uphold. They chose poorly.
The message is getting through. It already got through to the “mostly peaceful” protesters, who have intensified their protests into nightly assaults on federal officers and the federal courthouse in Portland, and much of downtown in Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities as well.
Now it’s getting through to the rest of America, and they don’t like it.
Contrary to popular belief, Americans by and large have a (very) basic understanding of how our system of government works. They understand that the president takes care of national and international problems while local issues fall to the mayors and city councils that are elected by the people.
More importantly, Americans both Right and Left know that it’s the local police that are supposed to protect them. They see the police being issued stand down orders and their mayor marching with the very people burning down their neighborhoods and understand that the problem lies with their local officials. The man in the White House has little, if anything, to do with officials who give protesters space to destroy.
Democrats think these riots are going to help them defeat President Trump in November. Yesterday’s poll shows that they may want to start rethinking their strategy of encouraging violent rioters to burn it all down.
I doubt that will happen.