Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The 2016 Election and the Soft-on-Crime Democrats

I find this theory a little dubious, although interesting nevertheless.

From James Dobbins, at USA Today, "If anti-Trump protests grow, they could hand Donald the election":
Black Lives Matter protesters may help elect Donald Trump president, just as their predecessors did for Richard Nixon.

Scuffles broke out at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion on Friday after Trump canceled a rally citing security concerns. Earlier that day in St. Louis, Trump was repeatedly interrupted by demonstrators and police made almost three dozen arrests. On Saturday in Dayton, Ohio, a protester rushed the stage being subdued by security. Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that events such as these would only increase his vote tally.

Trump may be on to something. The scenario evokes the turbulent election year of 1968 when Richard Nixon successfully cast himself as the “law and order” candidate against Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Violent crime had jumped 85% since Dwight Eisenhower had left office. Nixon charged that Democrats had adopted a do-nothing approach to this rising crisis. When Humphrey denounced the "storm trooper tactics" used by Chicago police in suppressing demonstrations at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, his comment seemed to play into Nixon’s hands. Humphrey was attempting to placate his party’s left wing, but a Gallup poll at the time showed that 62% of Americans approved of the way Mayor Richard Daley handled the situation. Siding against the cops was bad politics.

Nixon’s stance that Democrats were soft on crime had a clear racial subtext, coming as it did in the wake of urban riots in Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. Black militancy was on the rise, particularly after Martin Luther King was assassinated in April 1968. The races were divided on whether police brutality was a factor in the unrest. A 1968 Harris poll showed that 51% of blacks believed it was, compared to only 10% of whites. But Nixon knew where the votes were. Another Harris survey that September showed Nixon with a 20-point lead over Humphrey among respondents who blamed black militants as being a “major cause of the breakdown of law and order.”

Then as now, race and law enforcement were tightly intertwined issues. And, then as now, most people in general support law enforcement. In a June 2015 Gallup survey of confidence in American institutions, the police ranked third behind the military and small business in public esteem, with 52% having a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the men and women in blue. Donald Trump made his position clear in January when he said that "Police are the most mistreated people in this country."

This dynamic puts prospective Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a bind...
Still more, but again, I'm skeptical.

It's been almost 50 years since 1968 and the culture has changed, dramatically so. And a 52 percent majority in Gallup is completely unreliable, since Gallup is the least trusted polling organization out there nowadays. I suspect lots of voters will be moved by Democrat arguments attacking Donald Trump as a racist, and blaming him for unrest. And don't underestimate the power of the media to push the narrative into overdrive. There were political assassinations in 1968 as well, which hopefully we will not have on 2016, but no doubt the deaths of MLK Jr. and Bobby Kennedy drove a lot of the demand for public order after the Democrat Convention in Chicago. It remains to be seen how all of this plays out this time around, but public sentiment is extremely divided, and things could go either way on such a volatile issue as political violence.

Trump's going to be running not just against the Democrats, but the entire collectivist media-entertainment-education complex. As it is USA Today reports that Millennials will flock to Hillary if Trump's the nominee. See, "Poll shows that Millennials would flock to Clinton against Trump."

If there was ever an election to determine the future of America (and the future of freedom itself), this year is shaping up to be it, by a long shot.