Donald Trump is digging the furrow of law and order

“Your suburb is not safe. “In a field on the edge of Highway 94 towards Waukesha, west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the advertisement unveiled its unequivocal message in mid-August to travelers driving to this rather corner” Trumpian ‘from the Midwestern state.

The campaign, led by the independent organization Lacey’s Hope Project, aims to denounce the sex trade that allegedly affects young girls and even young men in suburban towns, according to the group. One sign at a time, it also contributes, by displaying the faces of white and abused adolescents, to fueling a climate of fear and angst in several rural and peri-urban areas of the country. And this is certainly not to displease Donald Trump, self-proclaimed president of “law and order”.

For several weeks, the Republican candidate has indeed returned to digging into the wake of insecurity and violence, in view of the presidential election in November. He thus resumed his campaign lines from 2016 and in passing replay the same score as Richard Nixon who, in 1968, won his election against Lyndon Johnson by happily pulling on this sensitive chord among the Americans.

But in 2020, the mobilizing effect of this strategy on the Republican vote, particularly that coming from the suburbs directly targeted by the message, is still very uncertain.

A survey published at the beginning of August by the Pew Research Center indicates that crime is found this year in the 5e rank of the important issues of this election for the American voters. Rather, they put the economy, health care, Supreme Court appointments and the pandemic in the lead. In this order. Crime and immigration – which is linked, in contradiction to the facts, to violence by the Conservatives – are more of a concern to Trump’s followers, however, the organization said.

“The strategy of law and order is an easy strategy, summarized in an interview with Duty Paige Glotzer, Rowe Chair in the History of Politics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and it would have been rather surprising if Donald Trump did not succumb to it since it takes the eye off his government’s inability to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. “

By bringing the security issue back to center stage, Trump is also continuing his divisive work by stoking “racist fears of African Americans,” she said. Law and order being historically linked to the segregation of spaces and to more repression targeting this community. “Certain white voters, where the president’s support has been eroding since the start of his mandate, are very sensitive to this question”, as in the suburbs of several large cities in the country.

 The law and order strategy is an easy strategy and it would have been rather surprising if Donald Trump did not succumb to it since it distracts from the inability of his government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

The specter of a radical left

It is to this electorate, qualified by Nixon and by Trump as a “silent majority”, that the president addressed himself last week at the close of the Republican national convention with this warning: “Make no mistake about it. , if you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will dismantle police departments all over America, he said. They will pass federal legislation to reduce law enforcement nationwide, they will make every town look like Portland, Oregon, ”the western metropolis where protests denouncing systemic racism since the assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis in early June did not run out of steam.

This week, Trump put it in a diaper in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he came to see the damage caused by the riots that followed the apparent police blunder that severely injured Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African-American. August 23. “We cherish our law enforcement agencies. We would not be here without our security forces ”, he said while calling in passing to“ condemn the dangerous anti-police speech, which we hear more and more ”, he said. he says.

That day, he did not comfort the victim’s family or Jacob Blake, unlike his Democratic opponent who did so in person on Thursday, but rather city and state police forces, calling even the social unrest of “internal terrorism”.

“White commuters could vote more for a policing agenda, regardless of their own political views on a variety of other issues,” Glotzer, because above all they want to protect their property or their wealth. “

“The tactics are smart, although twisted,” said political scientist James Foster, joined in Oregon where he teaches at State University. She demonizes the cities ruled by the Democrats, smears the Black Lives Matter movement and allows him to portray himself as a “Great White Hope” riding his steed to protect the white inhabitants of the suburbs from the Vandals, people of color, he quipped. . And his rhetoric seems to be working: the gap is narrowing with Joe Biden in the voting intentions of several key states. “

Weakening support

The latest survey from the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee indicates that the positive perception of demonstrations calling for racial equality and denouncing systemic racism has tended to decrease since last June in Wisconsin, one of those states whose the vote could be decisive in November. It was shared by 48% of voters in August, up from 61% two months earlier. The Black Lives Matter movement is also losing support, now supported by 49% of all voters in the state, up from 59% last June.

But the trend is not necessarily favorable to the president, since 58% of the people polled disapprove at the same time of the way in which he manages the current social crisis. Against 32% who approve.

“The problem is, when you’re the outgoing president, you represent law and order,” Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse told The Associated Press this week. However, by insisting on this issue [Donald Trump] advances his opponent’s candidacy, rather than his own. In short, Trump has been for four years the president of the violent America he portrays and of which he nevertheless poses as the savior. Like a sort of pyromaniac fireman who has not learned the lessons of history.

In 1972, Republican Richard Nixon had in fact cleverly distanced himself from his previous call for law and order, after a decline in his support confirmed by the mid-term elections of 1970. The Democrats had made important earnings. Nixon had then focused on his economic record and his foreign policy successes to secure his re-election.

In 2018, the midterm elections confronted Donald Trump with the same scenario, with Democrats scoring points thanks in part to the white suburban electorate who, after opening the door to the White House to the billionaire in 2016, s ‘is divided almost equally between the two political parties two years later.

On Wednesday, a poll from Grinnell College, in Iowa, conducted by political opinion measurement specialist Ann Selzer, confirmed that Joe Biden still led in the suburbs with 58% of the voting intentions, against 35% for Donald Trump. Among the women of these peri-urban territories, the former vice-president is even ahead of his opponent by 33 points, with 64% of voting intentions against 31%. Figures which, apart from the timidity or shame that pushes some Trump voters not to reveal their colors in the polls, no doubt also testify to the fragility of political strategies experienced in this election year unlike any other.

Because long before law and order, it is above all “major changes” of the White House that 62% of Americans are demanding, summarizes a study published this Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, just to give it a little more. order and maybe a little more respect for institutions and laws.

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