Stunningly enough, the president who still thinks five innocent African-American men should be executed is not going to run to Joe Biden’s left on criminal justice reform:
Over the past week, President Trump has signed an executive order to protect public monuments and statues from vandalism. He accused a Black Lives Matter leader of committing “treason.” He threatened a federal crackdown on protesters and vowed “retribution” against vandals, whom he labeled “terrorists.” And he praised a version of New York City’s “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy that was phased out years ago.
Since signing an executive action on police changes on June 16 in the Rose Garden, Trump has shifted almost exclusively to “law-and-order” rhetoric — while dropping almost any pretense of personally addressing the widespread public anger over police brutality that has sparked nationwide demonstrations.
The president’s posture comes as he has sought to energize his conservative political base in response to polls that show diminishing public approval over his handling of both the racial justice protests and the coronavirus pandemic. After framing his police executive action as an effort to balance the interests of victims’ families and police officers, Trump has sided squarely with the law enforcement community, reinforcing widespread skepticism about his commitment to addressing complaints of racial bias and systemic abuses in police departments that have harmed African Americans.
Clearly, the left needs to be ready to make deals with Donald Trump’s populist branding.