As crime surges on his watch, Trump says Biden's America won't be safe

Updated: 30 July, 2020 09:42 IST | Agencies | Washington

"He's turning to the old playbook - appeal to the fears of Americans and then associate those fears with the Democratic Party, specifically Joe Biden."

Former V-P Joe Biden; President Donald Trump. File pics/AFP
Former V-P Joe Biden; President Donald Trump. File pics/AFP

President Donald Trump is painting a dystopian portrait of what Joe Biden's America might look like, asserting crime and chaos would ravage communities should the former vice president win the White House in November.

Left unsaid: A recent surge in violent crime in several American cities has happened on his watch. "Irony is way down the list of things that President Trump worries about," said Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York College at Cortland whose research focuses on gun politics and the US presidency. "He's turning to the old playbook — appeal to the fears of Americans and then associate those fears with the Democratic Party, specifically Joe Biden."

Who will keep you safer?
With echoes of Richard Nixon's law-and-order campaign in 1968, Trump is trying to energise his conservative base while also making an appeal to a small patch of undecided voters by posing the question: Which man will keep you safer? By leaning hard on select scenes of violence, Trump is banking on that unrest continuing. But the protests could wane.

Lanae Erickson, a senior vice president for social policy and politics at the centre-left think tank Third Way, said Trump's attempt to use the Nixon playbook and tap into anxieties about crime is odd given that, unlike Nixon in 1968, Trump is already in the White House.

Trump has tried to paint Biden as captive of his party's most liberal elements who have called to dramatically reshape policing in the US. Trump recently tweeted a warning to "Suburban Housewives of America" that "Biden will destroy your neighbourhood and your American dream." "No one will be SAFE in Joe Biden's America!" Trump declared.

Nearly 50% spike in crimes
Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York have seen spikes in violent crime and homicides this year. Last week, Trump said he'd like to flood Chicago, which has seen a 51 per cent increase in homicides and a 47 per cent increase in shootings compared to the same time last year, with "50,000 or 75,000 people" and "solve it." But said he wouldn't do it because of a lack of cooperation from the city's leadership.

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First Published: 30 July, 2020 07:42 IST

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