The crap politics of “law and order” relies on America’s tradition of racism and bigotry


Joe Raedle/Getty/AP/The Atlantic

As he did when he first ran in 2016, President Donald Trump highlighted law and order in his 2020 acceptance speech…

For a student of the politics of law and order, the president’s rhetoric is familiar. It builds on, and borrows from, a strand of thinking running back to the early years of the republic.

Throughout this nation’s history, appeals to law and order have been as much about defending privilege as dealing with crime. They have been used in political campaigns to stigmatize racial, ethnic and religious groups and resist calls for social justice made by, and on behalf of, those groups.

Political issues the Republican Party rejects and Donald Trump hates. His contempt for the disadvantaged – especially when justified by traditional American bigotry – is fixed in his ruling class heart.

Feel represented by the Democrats or Republicans — or would you rather have a 3rd Party?

Americans are divided as to whether a third major party is needed in U.S. politics today, after having given majority support to the concept in 2011 and 2010. Americans’ views today are remarkably similar to what they were in September 2008, before that year’s presidential election…

Support for a third party has varied substantially since Gallup first asked this question in 2003. It was highest in 2007 and 2010, at 58%. In between those peaks, however, support dropped to less than the majority level two months before the 2008 election, as it has in the current survey, conducted Sept. 6-9 — two months before this year’s election. Thus, it may be that in election years — particularly shortly after the parties’ conventions, as was the case for the 2008 and the 2012 surveys — Americans look more favorably upon the two dominant political parties.

As would be expected, Americans who have the weakest ties to either of the two major parties — independents — are consistently more likely to favor having a third party. The current 58% support level among independents, however, is the second lowest on record.

Republicans’ and Democrats’ support for a third party has fluctuated over the past nine years, but the two groups now have similar views, as they did a year ago. Now, 40% of Democrats support the concept of a third party, compared with 36% of Republicans…

The biggest problem – perfectly consistent with American politics – is that 3rd Party campaigns may represent a portion of grassroots identity; but, they pretty much always start at the top. It was essentially true of the Progressive Party and more recently, the Greens. It was even more so the case with Ross Perot and George Wallace.

Between impatience and self-importance, the idea of building in the style of the civil rights movement seems to require more patience than the not-so-oppressed minority of political independents can muster. In the United States that is.