Black Lives Matter could win it for Trump

Black Lives Matter could win it for Trump, by Christopher Caldwell.

The perception that police have an animus against young black men is largely an illusion. It arises from the way a sociological fact has collided with a historical inheritance. Blacks, who make up 13 per cent of the US population, commit around a quarter of its violent crimes, including more than half its murders. They thus have more (and more dramatic) encounters with the police than citizens of other races. At the same time, black Americans’ claims that their ancestors were ill treated by the country’s white majority can neither be gainsaid nor minimised.

Blacks are undeniably pushing in the direction of a race war, getting more tribal and violent. Are they just being egged on by Democrats for electoral advantage before the 2016 elections, to change the topic away from the external threat of Islam?

Barack Obama and other politicians have lately encouraged blacks to blame their frequent encounters with police on white prejudice, not black criminality. …

The rage of young blacks against the police has taken on dimensions not just of a protest but a rebellion. Fully two thirds (65 per cent) of US blacks support the Black Lives Matter movement … In the days after the Dallas shooting, one of the group’s leaders, Alicia Garza, told the New Yorker, ‘Black Lives Matter is about justice for black people who are being murdered at the hands of the state.’ …

Just why so much of this destruction should be carried out under the aegis of the country’s first black President, and in black-run cities, is something of a mystery. Dallas has a black police chief. Baton Rouge has a black mayor. Baltimore has a black mayor, a black public prosecutor and a black police chief, and three of the six officers tried in the Freddie Gray case were black.

[Polemicist Ta-Nehisi] Coates’s view is that white people have always practiced genocide against black people. If fighting genocide is your cause, almost no tactic is off-limits. The leaders of Black Lives Matter crossed a Rubicon this week when they decided to proceed with protests even after the killings of policemen in Dallas.

There is a reason why political activists usually halt campaigning when violence is done in the name of anything that resembles their cause. Both sides in the Brexit referendum obeyed this imperative in the wake of the killing of Jo Cox. In US cities, such caution has been thrown to the wind.

‘You can’t stop the revolution,’ marchers chanted in Chicago over the weekend. ‘It’s not a setback at all,’ a BLM activist told the New York Times, referring to the Dallas massacre. ‘That’s showing the people of this country that black people are getting to a boiling point.’ For all the talk of racism, there has been a reckless inattention to the possibility that non-black citizens might have a boiling point too.

This is changing the electoral race:

[Clinton’s] party’s route to the White House requires turning out black voters in high numbers and taking 90 per cent of their votes.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been campaigning for months as if the coming election will be a referendum on whether the country backs the cops or not. He has lined up important police endorsements and laid the predicate for a traditional law-and-order campaign of the sort Richard Nixon won with in 1968. For a variety of reasons, a majority of Americans would be reluctant to see Trump as their president just now. But under the pressure of violence and disorder, such reasons can become harder and harder to recall.

hat-tip Stephen Neil