Over the last weeks, rioting continued throughout American cities in response to police use of force. The violent rioting has often been confused with daily protests which in cities like Kenosha, Rochester and Portland have devolved into nightly incidents of looting, assaults on police, destruction of property and arson.
However, as voters started to notice the difference between the narrative of "peaceful protests" portrayed by the mainstream media and the destructive anarchy holding cities hostage, the racial protest narrative spawned by Democrats it is becoming a problem in recent election-year polling for them.
Nonetheless, the media continues to downplay the violent lawlessness running in concert to the continuous protests, which has cost them credibility. Most notably, CNN reporter Omar Jimenez famously reported live from a burning businesses in Kenosha above a chyron reading "fiery but mostly peaceful protests."
From a legal and public safety perspective, the narrative is entirely false. By classifying these events as "peaceful protests" we get away from the actual classification of "lawful protests." If these gatherings aren't permitted by the municipality they are in, have law enforcement escorts to safely route traffic, and result in the destruction of property, harm or the depriving of other's right to safety and free speech – they are unlawful.
This is further confirmed when is actual violence, like the shootings in Seattle's autonomous zone and the three shot, two fatally, in Kenosha.
This false narrative is fueled by directives from locally-elected mayors and prosecutors who have ordered local law enforcement to stand down and not enforce protests that, as a direct result of this nonenforcement, have spiraled into riots. Meanwhile, President Trump has proposed a strategy to limit federal funding for cities that fail to locally control civil unrest, a response to the rioting that many agree with.
As a campaign strategy, it's clear that Democrats desired to make the 2020 election about a "national reckoning on race.".However, the violence paired with the fact that only 17% of "BLM" protesters in the streets are actually African Americans have overshadowed any reform message the protests originally purported to be.
Furthermore, the discovery of statistics showing that only 9 unarmed African Americans (out of 42 million) were shot over last year by law enforcement erodes public trust in the outrage being fueled by the media. CNN anchor Don Lemon condemned the rioters, stating that lawlessness is "showing up in the polling" saying the "rioting has to stop" because "it is the only thing right now that is sticking" with voters.
Polling echoes Lemon's sentiment, as approval for the Black Lives Matter movement peaked back on June 3 and has fallen sharply since. This was just over a week after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, when riots had started to sweep major cities. Among white voters, BLM's approval is already negative and headed downward. And while Democrats and Republicans are as polarized on the issue as one would expect, white Independents have shown a dramatic falloff in BLM support, going from a net 24% in early June to net 3% now, which is lower than before Floyd was killed.
While BLM is not synonymous with rioting, this trend may show the extent to which the issues have been conflated in the public mind — especially as the rioters themselves commit crimes in BLM's name (and graffiti tag.)
In a direct correlation, progressive Democrat efforts to "defund the police" have become politically unpopular as well. Cities like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia have cut police budgets by reallocating their funds to social programs, while simultaneously experiencing a sharp rise in violent crime.
This is reflected in polling on the issue, even among African Americans, which is what earned President Trump's recent endorsement by the nation's largest police union. Meanwhile the "defund the police" mural that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser allowed to be painted near the White House with great fanfare in June was quietly removed a few weeks ago.
The political attempt to blame the White House for the unrest being allowed by progressive mayors is not resonating with voters. Since the Obama Administration, Chicago's murder rate has risen to alarming rates. Recently, these crimes have spilled over into "the Loop," or retail center of the city, and was not met with an overwhelming police response.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot claimed that a heavy police presence around her residence during Chicago's disturbances was necessary because her family has "a right in our home to live in peace"; causing the nation to ask why the same standard hasn't been applied to the residents of the crime-ridden south side for years.
Add to that the viral video of white demonstrators hounding a woman dining at an upscale restaurant in Washington, D.C., for not refusing to culturally appropriate a black power salute in solidarity with them. This drew fire from Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said the performative antics did not have "anything to do with demands for social justice," and encouraged restaurants to call the police if it happens again.
By allowing the violence to continue unchecked, the 2020 election year is comparable to 1968, when Richard Nixon was able to become the "law and order" candidate following a nationwide wave of racial riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.
By previously supporting BLM, defunding and a narrative of "systemic racism" that is easily being debunked by the fact that much of the violence and poverty impacting the African American community is occurring in localities where there have been generations of Democratic rule, Joe Biden has painted himself into a corner as he isn't able to reverse his positions without alienating the progressive wave sweeping the Democratic party. Furthermore, the failure to enforce laws equally by outspoken Democrats in local office is resulting in a white electorate less engaged with racial issues.
Put simply, nobody wants to lose their homes, businesses or lives in the names of criminal suspects that, in many cases, turn out to have made poor choices that led to a police use of deadly force. In contrast, President Trump has sent federal officers to assist local officials in riot torn areas, creating a political Catch-22 for mayors who refuse federal support but still have ongoing financial and safety issues relating to protests.
Therefore, if Joe Biden doesn't find a way to stop his supporters from rioting, burning and looting America's cities, his election prospects are bleak despite his backing by the mainstream media.
A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his two and a half decade career on both sides the criminal justice system. Mannes served in both federal and municipal law enforcement in though the 9/11 attacks, D.C.-area sniper task force, homeland security exercises and natural disasters. Mannes' work in D.C. led to personal encounters with the D.C.'s unlawful personnel actions, unconstitutional gun laws and criminal justice inequalities, which led him to become an advocate for public integrity. Thereafter, Mannes served for nearly nine years as the Director, Office of Investigations for North America's largest medical board, as a Chief Compliance Officer, consultant, expert witness, nonprofit board member and political adviser. Read A. Benjamin Mannes' Reports — More Here.
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