Protesters have been setting fire to yet another American city today to tell us that black lives matter. This latest eruption is in response to a disturbing video that shows a black man being shot repeatedly in the back by police as he reaches into his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The man in question is called Jacob Blake. He is reported to be in a serious condition, but still alive in hospital this morning.
An investigation into the shooting is taking place, but the mob smashing up Kenosha doesn’t care about that — it cares about rage and destruction. We see the now familiar liturgy of so-called protest: cars on fire; windows shattered; shops looted and tagged with ‘BLM’ and ‘ACAB’ (All Cops Are Bastards) graffiti. Rioters even threw a brick at a police officer’s head, knocking him out. It all makes for ‘viral content’ online and that’s sort of the point.
Protesters are still out and about in Kenosha Wisconsin. Reports say that looting has begun. Unofficial reports say that #JacobBlake is still alive and may be in stable condition (unconfirmed). #jacobblake #justiceforjacobblake pic.twitter.com/hrACBOL7zm
— mrmikefrost (@sumbodysaidthat) August 24, 2020
How do the population of Wisconsin feel about all this? It is a crucial swing state in this year’s election, one in which Joe Biden is beating Donald Trump by 6.5 points. But many of those voters will have paid attention to the Democratic National Convention last week. They will have heard its various impressive speakers denouncing America’s systemic racism. They will not have heard anybody decrying the current carnage on America’s streets and the spiking homicide rates in many American cities.
The good people of Wisconsin might also tune into this week’s Republican National Convention, where they will hear Donald Trump and his children, alongside others, repeatedly hammer the message that, if Joe Biden wins, ‘the radical left’ will be hell bent on destroying America. And the Republican party’s top brass will be able to point to the eruption in Kenosha as evidence. They won’t ‘celebrate police violence’ — though their critics will accuse them of doing so — but they will point out that these cities in flames are run by the Democratic party and have been for decades. It’s hard to see how this argument wouldn’t strike a chord with the electorate. That ‘radical left’ is doing its absolute best to prove Trump’s point. The mob are turning into his useful idiots.
If the Democrats were shrewd, they would see this as a potential weak spot in their campaign. They would do their best to show they are not the party of street violence; that ruining urban life is not acceptable, especially not under the banner of racial justice. Joe Biden would not just talk vaguely about how he could restore ‘the soul of America’. Instead he would condemn the protests and add that Donald Trump is the President who talks about law-and-order, while bringing chaos. But he won’t and so far he isn’t. Biden has tweeted that ‘today we woke to grieve’, a rather odd phrase, especially since the victim is still alive. Grieving for America, perhaps. Kamala Harris predictably doubled down by saying that officers ‘must be held accountable’. Both called for an investigation. Neither said looting or arson were inappropriate responses to the incident.
Maybe the Democrats are not that smart. Their real genius is for self-destruction. This is the party that brought you three years of Trump-Russia conspiracy theories; that impeached the President for investigating the potential corruption of the man they have now nominated to be president; that turned Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court into a cynical psychodrama. This is the party that, four years ago, had a much better approval ratings than the Republican party, but which is now almost as despised by the public.
America deserves better. It deserves a major political party that doesn’t leave itself open to suspicions that it supports criminality. Fortunately for Donald Trump, and perhaps unfortunately for everyone else: the Democrats are not that party.