Republicans Focus on ‘American Carnage’ … Again

Without a policy agenda, fear and racism are all they’ve got.

Four years ago, this is how Donald Trump opened his speech at the Republican Convention.

Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.

Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims.

I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

He repeated that message during his inaugural address and said, “This American carnage stops right here and right now.”

So Trump lied about a wave of crime and violence sweeping the country and promised that safety would be restored on his Inauguration Day. He’s now had four years in office, so you’d think that running on a repeat message of “American carnage” would not be a wise political move. Of course, you’d be wrong.

Writing before the beginning of the 2020 Republican convention, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said this about the Democratic Convention.

Democrats couldn’t even muster the courage to call out even once at their convention the looting and violence that continue to inflict chaos and mayhem in city after city, night after night.

In a letter to his supporters that is going viral on Facebook, here is what court evangelical, James Dobson, wrote:

Our nation is divided like no time since the Civil War. Lawlessness and anarchy stalk the cities as angry mobs riot, burn, loot, rob, and kill innocent bystanders. Cultural monuments are being destroyed. Scores of people have been shot. Our courageous police officers are being brutally attacked by the same people they have vowed to protect.

Finally, here are some quotes from the opening night:

Matt Gaetz: “The woketopians will settle for Biden because they will make him an extra in a movie written, produced, and directed by others. It’s a horror film, really. They’ll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door.”

Charlie Kirk: “Trump was elected to protect our families from the vengeful mob that seeks to destroy our way of life, our neighborhoods, schools, churches, and values”

Patty McCloskey: “Make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”

In other words, Trump and his enablers want you to believe that there is once again, carnage on our streets as a result of protests against police brutality—like what just happened to Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. But let’s get some facts straight because, as CNN reported, there were more lies told on the first night of the Republican Convention than they documented in all four nights of the Democratic Convention. Here is what Jeff Asher and Ben Horwitz found when they reviewed crime statistics in major cities for the first half of 2020:

Overall crime is down 5.3 percent in 25 large American cities relative to the same period in 2019, with violent crime down 2 percent … Property crime is down in 18 of the 25 sampled cities, and violent crime is down in 11 of them.

Veering from historical precedent, they did find that homicide rates in those major cities have gone up. We don’t have answers yet about why that is happening, but it is more than likely related to the effects of the pandemic rather than protesters on the streets.

All of this is precisely why Trump sent federal troops out to attack peaceful protesters in both Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon. He wanted pictures of them clashing with law enforcement to set the stage for these kinds of claims. As is often the case, his goals aligned with the white supremacists who were responsible for much of the property crimes associated with the protests.

For all of their talk about focusing their convention on optimism, Ed Kilgore nailed exactly what is happening.

And so the Trump 2020 campaign is doomed to a dark, hateful vision of American dystopia that will somehow take a turn for the worse if Joe Biden is elected. Clearly, he and his wizards have decided that a suburban-focused twist on Trump’s 2016 law-and-order stylings is the best and perhaps the only available way to turn a racist smear job into swing-voter candy. So at the RNC, you can expect to hear a lot of warnings that looting and raping will spill from “Democrat cities” into virtuous white suburbs if senile Joe Biden and his radical running mate are allowed into power.

As we all know by now, neither Trump nor the Republican Party have an agenda to run on in 2020. Since fear mongering and racism are all they’ve got, they will return to that well and do a repeat of the president’s “carnage in America” message once again.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.