Law, order, and Trump

“The Republican candidate supported police and expressed concern about the growing homicide toll in black neighborhoods — in contrast with his opponent.”

Heather Mac Donald, author of the New York Times bestseller The War on Cops, writes:

Black Lives Matter helped propel Donald Trump’s unforeseen ascent to the White House. The public understood the threat to law and order posed by the movement’s calumnies about the nation’s police — and so, uniquely in the presidential race, did Trump. Trump repeatedly promised to end what he rightly called the “false narrative” about the police that was leading to rising homicides and urban riots. During the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton in September 2016, Trump correctly pointed out that “right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything.” In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Trump announced: “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.” He then articulated a foundational principle of civil society: “The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.”

By contrast, Hillary Clinton embraced the Black Lives Matter movement. She regularly accused the nation’s cops of systemic, lethal racism. Last July, when the toll of officers murdered by Black Lives Matter-inspired assassins had reached five in that one month alone, Clinton told the NAACP that we need to “root out implicit [police] bias and stop the killings of African-Americans.” During a Democratic presidential primary debate in January 2016, Clinton was asked if it was “reality” that police officers see black lives as “cheap.” She answered unhesitatingly: “Sadly, it’s reality.” At the Democratic National Convention, Clinton glorified as a martyr to racist police violence the mother of Michael Brown, whose justifiable killing by a Ferguson police officer ignited the Black Lives Matter movement. Support for Trump, then, represented a clear repudiation of Clinton’s (and President Barack Obama’s) dangerous validation of a movement built on hate-filled falsehoods about law enforcement.

A Gallup poll in October 2016 proved a harbinger of Trump’s victory. The percentage of respondents expressing a “great deal” of respect for the police had surged to its highest level since 1967 — 76 percent — in a sharp increase from the year before, when confidence in the police had fallen to a 22-year low.