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.