Can They Both Be Right?

Today I have seen two dramatically conflicting political interpretations of events. In one interpretation the demonstrations and subsequent rioting and looting will benefit Democrats in November because of Trump’s racist, fascist response as exemplified by the “Battle of Lafayette Square”, culminating in Gen. James Mattis’s rebuke of President Trump. In this view such events always hurt incumbents and that is supported to some degree by the decline in Trump’s approval numbers.

The other interpretation is that Democrats are misreading the analogy to 1968 and the events of the last week will hurt Democrats in November due to the inability of Democratic mayors and governors to prevent the destruction being wrought on their cities. The notion here is that Nixon won in 1968 and again in 1972 in good measure due to a “law and order” stance that President Trump appears to be trying to emulate. Also note that despite everything that has transpired, according to the RCP Average of Polls, Trump’s approval rating is still one point higher than it was in October of 2019.

I think it’s quite possible that neither and both are right. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the November election were an anti-incumbent election. Most general elections tend to return 85% or more of incumbents to office. Could this time really be different and in which direction.

Also November is still a long time away. Who will be injured more by the events of the last several weeks may depend on what is remembered 5 months from now.

17 comments… add one
  • Larry Link

    How many cities have actually had major, and I mean major destruction issues from the protest? How many protestors and how much real destruction?

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Define major? Physical or psychological?

    The amount of fear generated by the riots is probably approaching the coronavirus.

    Gun sales are surging

    And this is on top of extremely high gun sales during the pandemic. TMZ reports in LA, gun sales are approaching Rodney King riot levels.

  • As noted major is in the eye of the beholder. In Minneapolis as of today 370 businesses have suffered major damage, many reduced to rubble. The national association of insurance adjusters is presently estimating total nationwide damages in the billions to tens of billions. It’s on the order of Rodney King damage (more than $1 billion in present dollars) in dozens of American cities. Some areas of LA were never rebuilt after that.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    To give an example. The eastern suburbs of Seattle had to impose curfews and called in the national guard last weekend — and there was extensive looting in some shopping centers.

    I do not believe this is something these suburbs have ever experienced (having been built up in the last 30/40 years).

  • Also in Minneapolis the $30 million Midtown Corner, a public housing project of 190 units, burned to the ground.

    In New York City hundreds of millions of dollars of damage has been done.

  • jan Link

    Our town had at least 150 businesses reporting severe damage. The court building was damaged. Numerous buildings were graffitied. The loss in revenue is something else, as just as businesses were preparing to open up a bit, the riots appeared, closed them down, and most had to board their shopfronts up. Even the Rodney King riots didn’t create as much havoc and distress as the current riots/protests have done.

  • jan Link

    As for which party benefits from the current chaos – I don’t think anyone necessarily benefits from the virus, riots etc. Mainly, it will be which party escapes the most blame who will get the win.

    Right now everything imaginable is being tossed at Trump – vetting whether an accusation is true or not be dammed. As is Trump’s usual reaction he tweets back insults, which doesn’t go too far endearIng him to those outside his base. I’m thinking, more and more, he will have a difficult re-election, even with a dim, corrupted bulb like Joe Biden as his opponent.

    Joe’s problem is he just isn’t an attractive, sharp sounding candidate. Even though he’s trying to be Bernie, in touting a progressive policy play book, he doesn’t have Bernie’s charisma and thus may not entice enough of Bernie’s base to come over and vote for him.

  • GreyShambler Link

    The riots aren’t over. People will tire of confessing their privilege. Drew Brees forced to apologize over supporting standing for the flag.
    Uber eats has gone a step further. Separating their menu by owners race so you can order only from the race you prefer to prepare food for you.
    Biden is likely to say anything, (or nothing much) between now and November.
    The world is so crazy people might decide to stay with the devil they know.

  • jan Link

    Gray, the uber article posted would qualify for The Onion. Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole that this is the state of our union now!?

    As an addition to how absurd things have gotten….1) in West Hollywood a councilwoman passed out a flyer with rules for how a protest was to be conducted there. The heading on the flyer was “Rules for White People.” Included in those rules was no one was to utter All Lives Matter, as it would be insulting to the BLM movement. Other rules warned whites to not take a microphone, utter any slogans of their own, and basically go “to the back of the bus“ and be quiet. 2). In Washington DC some young women were scrubbing off BLM graffiti, when they were berated for exerting their “white privilege” in trying to take off the uninvited scrawled message on someone else”s property, restoring it to it’s original state.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    On the horse race, the biggest uncertainty is whether Biden vs Trump is what voters will choose between on Nov 3.

    The chances that one or both presumptive nominees get replaced before Nov 3 is much higher then normal, but how high — is it 1%, 10%, 90%?

  • GreyShambler Link

    nominees get replaced:

    Understand the sentiment, but can’t see the mechanism. Bernie could go third party I guess Socialists have a fairytale that can fix any situation.

  • TarsTarkas Link

    The Presidential race will be between Trump and the VP Pick, i.e. ‘vote for the team, not the man’. The rate at which Dementia is fading I’m not certain he’ll be capable of handling eating utensils by election day.

    Some people called 1968 the year of living Dangerously. Revolutions everywhere, a quarter million slaughtered in Indonesia, Nam, the Presidential election, Flu pandemic, lots of other pretty violent s**t. With all the crap going on every day this year I think 2020 will give it a run for the money. And we’re not even halfway through it.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    I am currently more skeptical that Trump will make it to November then Biden will make it to November.

    Maybe it’s me; but the chances Trump is forced out of office by protests is much higher the acknowledged. All it takes is enough protestors willing to rip throw those barricades around the White House for the train to jump tracks.

  • GreyShambler Link

    The protests aren’t about Trump, are they? They look to be about race, with Caucasians joining in wailing and gnashing their teeth over their own original sin. I’ve watched as young, well dressed, well groomed ,healthy, even athletic, well fed African-American men grab at the mic, expressing their anger and hatred of just about everything in their lives. They look like revolutionaries after the coup. I think they overestimate their power.
    In the fullness of time you will see that those who can will leave these areas while mouthing platitudes about racial equality. They will take their savings and skills and worthy habits and leave these people behind.
    The riots will do no lasting damage to the bedroom communities, except to draw urban business to them. The damage will remain where it is, where these angry young men live.
    They and the police will remain, locked in a bad marriage of necessity.

  • They and the police will remain, locked in a bad marriage of necessity.

    I think just as likely is the “Ferguson effect”. The police may just avoid enforcing the law in black neighborhoods.

  • GreyShambler Link

    Listening to police scanner last nite:
    Woman called in to report 30 year old Black boyfriend grabbed his handgun and left on a motorcycle. Said he was going to kill himself. This was 2:30 AM.
    They watched him in the light traffic until he got home, didn’t approach.
    One officer said, “she reports he will shoot himself if we contact him, so we won’t do that.” end of story.
    Probably the right decision, but who knows? Police have tough calls to make all the time.
    BTW, if you have a smartphone, you have a police scanner.
    Download the APP @5-0 radio and search the drop down menu for your town.

  • steve Link

    “I think just as likely is the “Ferguson effect”. The police may just avoid enforcing the law in black neighborhoods.”

    The Ferguson effect is roughly about the same as the blue flu in magnitude. (The blue flu is what happens if the police lose on their contract negotiations. They stop arresting people and writing tickets.) Kind of a shame that they only enforce the law when they feel like it.


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