Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Should or Should We Not Be Worried About Backlash? (2)

Well, at this point I'm not too worried, given the dire situation in the country and how badly Trump has handled it, both in policy and political terms. Voters increasingly just want to get rid of the guy, which makes them less likely to be swayed by issues that in other circumstances would have some significant potential for backlash.
But that's no reason for complacency. Danger still lurks. And backlash remains a more significant potential problem than, say lack of support among black or young voters, which recent polls show firming up rapidly.
Indeed, the most activist-minded among these constituencies, who have been turning out for the BLM/George Floyd protests, seem likely to vote overwhelmingly for Biden. A tidbit from the most recent recent Tom Edsall coliumn:
"In an article posted June 28 at Business Insider, [Sociologist Dana] Fisher wrote that in studying the demonstrators:
Every single person surveyed at events in Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles over the past month reported that they would be supporting Joe Biden in the election. In fact, not one respondent reported that they would vote for Donald Trump."
This certainly suggests there is no reason for Biden to embrace the more radical demands coming out of the protests, such as for defunding the police and reparations. He's already got the protesters' votes and presumably those of their co-thinkers around the country.
But backlash, as I noted, has more potential to be a real problem. From the Edsall article:
"Fisher wrote that 60 to 65 percent of the demonstrators agreed with the statement “some level of violence is justified in the pursuit of political goals....
"The views of protesters concerning the legitimacy of violence stand in contrast to the views of voters taken as a whole.
A Reuters/Ipsos survey found that 72 percent of those polled disagreed with the statement “more violent protests and unrest are an appropriate response to the killing of an unarmed man by police,” including a solid majority of Democrats.
An even larger percentage (79), including 77 percent of Democrats, agreed with the statement: “The property damage caused by some protesters undermines the original protest’s case for justice.”
The Times/Siena survey asked voters whether they support or oppose “reducing funding to police departments,” a less extreme step than the call among some demonstrators to “defund the police.”
Nearly two thirds of voters polled, 63 percent, opposed reduction of funding of police departments, including 50 percent who said they “strongly oppose” such actions.
What makes these issues even more potentially polarizing, going into the 2020 election, is that there has been an increase in violent crime, especially homicide and shooting incidents, in the weeks since George Floyd was killed, in some of the cities experiencing sustained protests and anti-police demonstrations. These cities include Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Chicago."
So continue to worry. Trump is his own worst enemy but that's no reason to hand him issues that he can--and will--try to exploit to avert his free fall.
NYTIMES.COM
Inevitably, the electorate’s response to the George Floyd protests has begun to run along familiar ideological fault lines.

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