Fire tied to vandalism during a riot
Image by Vigan Hajdari from Pixabay

Riots in the streets benefit no one

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online reminds us that no group stands to gain from lawlessness on American streets.

Democrats widely believe and proclaim that President Trump wants chaos in the streets and violence, believing that the more Americans see their cities in flames and violent mobs in the streets, the more they will turn away from Democrats.

The party’s elected officials and their fans are pretty quick to insist that because Trump is president, we’re still in “Donald Trump’s America” and thus the riots cannot possibly represent “Joe Biden’s America.”

But we all know that Donald Trump’s view on how to deal with an angry and potentially destructive mob is dramatically different from that of Portland mayor Ted Wheeler, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, or New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. Trump’s administration sent U.S. Park Police into Lafayette Park, using “smoke canisters, irritants, explosive devices, batons and horses.” Quite a few observers contended the tactics used more force than necessary or that was justified by the situation. But we know Trump’s instincts are to overreact to the threat of mob violence, not underreact.

In several major cities, the elected officials who oversee the police are simply not comfortable with the authorities they have, and in Portland, the district attorney is choosing not to prosecute in hundreds of cases of interfering with police, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, harassment, or riot, unless accompanied by other charges. Certain elected progressives desperately want to find some sort of way to end rioting, looting, arson, and assaults without using police forces. After three months . . . they’re still looking. …

… Biden said a lot of the right things — but was quick to follow it with the accusation that the violence on the streets of Portland is President Trump’s fault. We will see if what Biden said has any impact on the streets of America’s cities.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...