Democrats need to be extremely concerned about what's happening in Wisconsin, where support for BLM has gone from +25 to +0 in 2 months. https://t.co/2wNMWoW6it
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 27, 2020
It seems that out of control violent riots are a lot less popular than the Democrats had originally assumed.
John Geraghty, a 41-year-old worker in a tractor factory, has barely paid attention to the presidential race or the conventions. Every day he focuses on survival: getting his son to sports practice, working at his job where he now wears a mask, and getting home to sleep, only to start over again the next day.
But when he woke up on Monday morning to images of his hometown, Kenosha, Wis., in flames, he could not stop watching. The unrest in faraway places like Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis had arrived at his doorstep, after a white police officer on Sunday shot a Black man in the back multiple times. And after feeling “100 percent on the fence” about which candidates he will vote for in November, he is increasingly nervous that Democratic state leaders seem unable to contain the spiraling crisis.
“It’s crazy that it’s now happening in my home city,” he said. “We have to have a serious conversation about what are we going to do about it. It doesn’t seem like the powers that be want to do much.”
Mr. Geraghty, a former Marine, said he was disturbed to see his town looking like “a war zone,” and he feared that the Democrats in charge were “letting people down big time.”
Politics for him had long been like a sport he did not follow. In his late 20s, he voted for Barack Obama, the first vote of his life. He did not vote in 2016, and he called the president’s handling of the coronavirus “laughable.”
Mr. Geraghty said he disliked how Mr. Trump talked but said the Democratic Party’s vision for governing seemed limited to attacking him and calling him a racist, a charge being leveled so constantly that it was having the effect of alienating, instead of persuading, people. And the idea that Democrats alone were morally pure on race annoyed him.
“The Democratic agenda to me right now is America is systematically racist and evil and the only people who can fix it are Democrats,” he said. “That’s the vibe I get.”
Mr. Biden on Wednesday denounced systemic racism and police brutality as he also sharply condemned the destruction and violence unfolding in Kenosha.
“As I said after George Floyd’s murder, protesting brutality is a right and absolutely necessary,” Mr. Biden said. “Burning down communities is not protest, it’s needless violence. Violence that endangers lives. Violence that guts businesses, and shutters businesses, that serve the community. That’s wrong.”
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) August 27, 2020
Meanwhile, President Trump promised on Twitter to restore “LAW AND ORDER” in Kenosha by sending in troops. “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” Mr. Trump wrote.
With the unrest in Kenosha happening the same week as the Republican National Convention, local events were threatening to merge with national politics. James Wigderson, editor of a conservative website in Waukesha, Wis., said the chaos reinforced the message of the Republicans this week that the Democrats were not fit to govern.
“Whether it’s fair or not, they see this all as one monolith: From Biden on down to the guy throwing the brick at the cop,” said Mr. Wigderson, who has been critical of Mr. Trump. “As a result, they are more motivated not to let those people win.”
That was all the more true for committed Republicans in Kenosha. Don Biehn, 62, owner of a flooring company, was standing in line at a gun store on Tuesday afternoon. He said that he had never bought a pistol before, but that he had a business to protect. A former county board supervisor, Mr. Biehn said he had been calling county and state officials for days, trying to explain how grave the situation was.
“There’s people running all over with guns — it’s like some Wild West town,” Mr. Biehn said. “We are just waiting here like sitting ducks waiting to get picked off.”
He added: “It’s chaos — everybody is afraid.”
Mr. Trump, he said, “was not my man,” but now he is grateful he is president.
He said he seemed to understand in a way that other politicians did not.
“There’s nobody fighting back,” he said. “Nobody is paying attention to what’s going on.”
Scott Haight, who was boarding up a line of businesses in a Kenosha strip mall on Tuesday, said he blamed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, a Democrat, for what he said was irresponsibly stirring up emotion. (On Monday, Mr. Barnes said the shooting “wasn’t an accident.”)
“It’s like ‘What, are you trying to burn our city down?’” Mr. Haight said.
Mr. Haight, 59, said he was a “lifelong Democrat” but had decided not to vote this year.
“It’s not worth it,” he said. “One’s as bad as the other.”
Priscella Gazda, a waitress at a pizza restaurant in Kenosha, was having the opposite reaction. She said she had voted only once in her life — for Mr. Obama in 2008. Her son has Type 1 diabetes and was hoping for health insurance.
“I’m not the one who would ever vote,” she said.
But after the chaos in her town, this year is different.
“I am going to vote for Trump,” she said. “He seems to be more about the American people and what we need.”
Joe Biden is obviously just a confused old man, and they want him to be the face of this overwhelmingly violent and destructive agenda because that’s what he is: unthreatening.
But the people see the riots, they see the violence, they know that it is the agenda that the safe old man represents, and this is losing them ground.
Joe Biden’s lost ground since the close of the Democratic National Convention, and he and President Trump are now running neck-and-neck in the latest Rasmussen Reports’ weekly White House Watch survey.
Fact Check: True pic.twitter.com/5kQ5HAe9if
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) August 20, 2020
The new national telephone and online survey finds Biden with 46% support among Likely U.S. Voters to Trump’s 45%. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, while four percent (4%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
A week ago, Biden led by four points – 48% to 44%. The former vice president has bested Trump in every weekly survey to date, but this week’s 46% is his lowest level of support in any survey. The president has never earned more than 45% of the vote. It remains to be seen if he gets any kind of bounce from the ongoing Republican National Convention.
Everything is right now set up for a Trump victory, especially with the vote by mail agenda having apparently lost steam. The total outlook is ten times better than it was a month ago.
Of course, a lot can happen in the next two months.