The media wall of silence around the destruction taking place in cities around the country this month is growing deafening. You occasionally hear a bit of coverage if a protester happens to be injured, but beyond that, it’s mostly crickets all the way down. An at least somewhat surprising example of this phenomenon popped up at the Associated Press yesterday. Curiously, the rather lengthy piece didn’t appear to focus on any single, relevant incident of either peaceful protesting or rioting, but instead tackled the question from the 10,000-foot level, accusing the Republicans of some sort of orchestrated smear campaign against liberals and the Black Lives Matter movement for pointing out that there are people being shot, windows being smashed, stores being looted and buildings being burned to the ground. Some of the colorful language in this article is truly inspirational… if you happen to be a Democrat. (Emphasis added)
With recent shootings that have killed children and dozens of others in cities with large Black populations like New York, Atlanta and Chicago, the GOP is trying to play offense, ominously. Ads like Trump’s and other Republican messaging insinuate that the rare looting and violence that marred largely peaceful social justice protests are spreading and foretell a wave of mayhem that they claim Democrats would abet with anti-police policies.
Trump emphasized that menacing theme at the White House Thursday, calling proponents of defunding the police “crazy.” Telling a visiting group of Hispanic Americans that many immigrants had fled dangerous countries, Trump added, “They know what happens when the police cannot protect the innocent, when the rule of law is destroyed.”
Democrats call the GOP drive an obvious diversion from issues they say voters care most about: the coronavirus pandemic that Trump has failed to control, the economic shutdown, recession-level unemployment, racial justice and health care.
Quoting a variety of Democratic consultants, the article goes on to say that Joe Biden “has a well-honed moderate record that makes Republican efforts to cast him as a radical fruitless.” Believe it or not, that’s a statement that I would have agreed with right up until he ran for and won the Vice Presidency alongside Barack Obama. Being a moderate was a good thing back then because Democrats realized you needed the middle a lot more than your reliable base to win a national election.
Of course, all of that changed during this election cycle once Joe Biden’s campaign realized that the country might not just roll over and hand him the nomination. Bernie Sanders was driving a lot more enthusiasm, and Team Biden quickly determined that he would need to veer to the left to keep up. Even after he retook the lead, Biden kept signing on to more and more progressive pledges in an effort to woo Sanders’ supporters.
Even some liberal analysts have noted how far and how hard Biden has shifted to the far left over the past year. Whether it’s some version of Medicare for all (who want it), a total ban on fracking and other drilling, most of the Green New Deal or gun bans, Biden has jumped in with a “Me Too” movement of his own.
But getting back to the AP article, I’m confident that most of us have seen the violence surging in cities around the nation. Shootings are up across the board. Scenes of arson and looting are commonplace. And attacks on police, both physical and rhetorical, are the order of the day. So how do Biden’s defenders explain all of this away? Here’s how:
Homicides and shootings routinely rise in spring and summer as days get longer and people spend more time outdoors, academics say. Other factors include gang violence, and this year’s spike could be fed by stress related to the virus, sky-high unemployment, stay-at-home orders and anger over police brutality.
I see. Aside from the “anger over police brutality” (which is thankfully very rare in reality), most of that sounds like a laundry list of excuses. Yes, gang violence always tends to rise in the summer when the weather is better, but not this much. Not even close. And yet, we are assured that “Moderate Joe Biden” is the same loveable middle-of-the-road guy we’ve always known and the GOP is just making all of this up.
Pull the other one, sonny. It’s got bells on it. In case you haven’t seen the Trump Campaign advertisement referenced in the article, here it is.