Democrats should forget President Trump for a second. The current round of violence isn’t being undertaken by civil-justice or other reformers but by radicals using Jacobin street-violence tactics. The idea is to provoke confrontation and violence with constituted authority so as to discredit it, counting on a few gullible local residents to see police as oppressors. The pretense of peaceful protest is rapidly disappearing. Deaths, serious injuries, arson, public and private property damage, and economic dislocation have resulted.

The longer this continues, the greater demand to see it stopped will grow among wage-earning families, small-business people, homeowners, taxpayers and voters. Families of public safety and emergency personnel already have been alienated.

Any president dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt would have taken action under these circumstances. First, there would be denunciation of the violence. Then the president would ask local officials if they needed federal help. If the answer was yes, it would be sent immediately. If the answer was no but disorder continued, the president would no doubt dispatch officers to protect federal buildings and otherwise restore order as authorized by the Constitution. He would know that the country at large looked to the president as the ultimate guarantor of public safety.