The backlash from the right comes even as many conservatives begin to accept the premise that African Americans are disproportionately targeted by police. A recent Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 53 percent of Republicans backed the protests, and 47 percent believed police killings of black men indicate broader problems, compared with 19 percent in 2014.
But Trump’s die-hard conservative base is unnerved by what they view as an extreme solution from extreme leftists. To them, addressing the problem by slashing resources to law enforcement is an attack on the central tenet of the Republican Party — law and order — and one that Trump himself is setting up as a wedge issue to bolster his case for reelection in the coming months.
“First of all, on some level, I think it’s perceived to be more of an empty slogan than a serious policy response,” said Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “And second, it is indelibly associated with the left, which for many people is all they need to know about it in order to oppose it.”