Karen mentioned this impromptu speech by Keisha Lance Bottoms in her post earlier but it’s worth five minutes of your time to take it all in. This is good work off the cuff by a politician who’s under tremendous pressure. Watch, then read on.
"This is chaos. A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated we didn't do this to our city," Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said. "If you want change in America, go and register to vote." https://t.co/1M9DJg6CSz pic.twitter.com/74p8sryX0D
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) May 30, 2020
The police chief did good work too by wading into the crowd to try to reassure them that she and the Atlanta PD aren’t their enemy.
The chief of police in Atl is talking to everyone in the crowd at the protest She says she wants to see a change too and is disgusted by everything that happened. She sent away a white officer we told her was being an asshole. She’s listening to every person that wants to talk pic.twitter.com/vz473t1kHC
— Lilly – BLACK LIVES MATTER (@joonhopekook) May 29, 2020
The outreach didn’t spare the city from a long night but maybe it’ll pay off with quieter circumstances this evening.
Why is Bottoms’s speech getting so much applause today? Partly, says Josh Kraushaar, it’s because she broached a subject that more powerful members of her party have ducked thus far.
Polls already show most Americans support the arrest of the offending officer, who was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. While the issue has yet to be polled, I’d also expect most Americans would reject the notion that violence is the answer to injustice, and would recoil at the havoc across the country this week.
So I was surprised to see Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, fail to make even a pro forma exhortation against rioting in his heartfelt speech Friday when he called for police reforms and racial reconciliation. It probably wasn’t an accident: Former President Obama, his old boss, didn’t address the violence raging across Minneapolis in his statement, either. (The only reference to violence Biden made seemed to apply to Trump’s ominous Twitter threat that looting will lead to shooting: “This is no time for incendiary tweets. This is no time to encourage violence.”)…
I wondered, more broadly, whether there’s a larger tone deafness in Democratic political circles these days, not realizing that Biden’s success is dependent on voters who don’t share their own progressive values.
Kraushaar remembered that study from last week showing that nine percent of people who voted for Trump in 2016 are planning to switch to Biden this fall, mainly because they lean progressive on economics. But they lean towards conservative positions on cultural issues — and if cultural wars overtake economic policy as key concerns this fall (which is unlikely with the unemployment rate being what it is), that’s trouble potentially for Democrats. You would think Biden would want to hedge against that with at least a perfunctory denunciation of rioting but he’s apparently too worried about his woke flank, as usual.
Maybe having Bottoms as his VP would help solve the problem? She’s being considered, although I find it hard to believe Dems would ask voters to roll the dice on a mayor as potential commander-in-chief by putting her on the ticket with the oldest nominee in U.S. history. Having said that, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Bottoms’s chances are now better than former shortlister Amy Klobuchar’s. The last thing Joe “Crime Bill” Biden needs as his running mate is a former prosecutor from Minnesota who declined to prosecute cops following police shootings. His allies are nudging him about it too…
Notable on the veepstakes front per @MariannaNBCNews: On a call w/ reporters Clyburn said he believes it’s not the right time to choose Klobuchar as Biden's VP b/c of what's going on in MN.
While she's “absolutely qualified” he said the protests have complicated her chances.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) May 29, 2020
…although it doesn’t sound like they need much nudging:
“Vertiginous,” a campaign adviser said in a one-word text, describing Klobuchar’s fall in the rankings of potential running mates…
The three-term senator’s drop has been so swift that a planned Minnesota digital event with Dr. Jill Biden and coronavirus first-responders scheduled for Friday was pulled, according to a source familiar with the campaign’s deliberations, “partly because we need to avoid her.”…
Rashad Robinson, executive director for the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change, has been critical of Klobuchar’s record when she was running. He didn’t say Klobuchar should not be considered as a nominee but told The Daily Beast her explanations this week of her record prosecuting police brutality cases have been “far too cute” and “have seemed to avoid responsibility at a time when we know DAs were not doing their jobs.”
One point about Bottoms’s speech. She spends lots of time chiding rioters about betraying their city and its history: Atlanta has black leaders, black cops, and black-owned businesses, she says, and it prides itself on the nonviolent legacy of one of its most famous residents, Martin Luther King. You’re undermining that legacy and hurting innocent people by resorting to mayhem, she tells them. Stirring words — but what if the rioters weren’t actually from Atlanta? What if they were miscreants from out of town (Antifa, maybe?) intent on having a destructive lark because political circumstances have momentarily made that possible? Watch the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota tell reporters this morning that every last person who was arrested last night in the city for getting aggressive at protests was from out of town. Hmmmm.
Saint Paul Mayor @melvincarter3 on protest arrests: “Every single person we arrested last night I’m told was from out of state,” says they’re advocating for the “destruction of our communities.” pic.twitter.com/wr9xI6v1yc
— The Recount (@therecount) May 30, 2020