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.