As rioting continues in numerous cities with Democrat mayors, polls show it may be hurting the party, Joe Biden and even down-ballot candidates in key swing states.
With less than three months left before the election, President Trump and other Republicans repeatedly have sent the message that Democrats, many of whom have been responded positively to protestors’ calls to defund the police, have allowed demonstrators and violence to take over cities.
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“So let me be clear: The violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha,” Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday night in his Republican National Convention speech. “We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American of every race and creed and color.”
Democrats worry that the more violence voters, especially suburban swing voters, witness, the more they will lose sympathy for Black Lives Matter. Last week, demonstrations in Kenosha turned deadly when three people were shot, two fatally, after a confrontation between rioters and armed citizens who were trying to protect local businesses.
“There’s no doubt it’s playing into Trump’s hands,” said Paul Soglin, who served as mayor of Madison, Wis., on and off, for more than 20 years. “There’s a significant number of undecided voters who are not ideological, and they can move very easily from Republican to the Democratic column and back again. They are, in effect, the people who decide elections. And they are very distraught about both the horrendous carnage created by police officers in murdering African Americans and … for the safety of their communities.
John “Sly” Sylvester, a longtime Democrat and radio personality who has been active in the labor movement, told “Politico” he is worried Democrats have a blind spot to rioters and looters. “I think there are some people on the left who don’t understand the concept of how important public safety is to people,” he said. “We all saw the shooting and are deeply troubled by it, but that doesn’t negate the need for public safety.”
A number of formerly political agnostic residents of Kenosha told the “New York Times” that Democrats’ hesitance to condemn the rioting in their city had swayed them toward voting for Trump, or not voting at all, in November.
Polls over the weekend revealed that the Republican Convention was received well in the African American community. The event highlighted dozens of Blacks who support the President and the administration’s policies, including Black Democrat legislators.
The polls show Trump has quadrupled his support in the Black community from the 6% of support he received in the 2016 election. Other polls in recent weeks have his favorability rating as high as 44% in the Black community. Other polls have found that people, especially Republicans, are unlikely to admit their support of the President to pollsters. Pundits say Trump’s support could be significantly higher than what the numbers show.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice