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How could Trump possibly win again?
Treat people as enemies and they will treat you as an enemy
If you tell people that they are racist for worrying about crime—worrying about their family members being mugged or murdered—then you are telling them that they are your enemy.
They will stop listening to you.
They will turn to anyone—even a charlatan—who presents himself as their friend.
And that is why Trump has a chance at reelection.
Biden isn’t for defunding the police—but the party is associated with that position for a reason
“But!”—you protest—“Biden isn’t like that. He’s against abolishing the police.” Of course, and that’s why he won the primary and general election. But that’s not the whole story.
He’s also the leader of the Democratic Party, and when the Democratic governor of New York runs an election campaign that refuses to address the fear of crime until the polls show her Republican opponent closing in, that sends a message to people. The message is:
The Democratic Party doesn’t care about your safety.
When voices branding worrying about crime as racist are rising in the ranks of the party and seem to be its future, that sends a message too. The message is that whatever Biden may say, he won’t last and you are the enemy of the Democratic Party.
When people say, “It doesn’t matter what we say, because ‘they’ are going to say XYZ anyway,” the message is that they won’t even try to talk to you, that your concerns aren’t valid. And then they wonder why people won’t listen to them. (See‘s The Fox News Fallacy on this point.)
Confront the moral blackmail
The question remains: How has the Democratic Party become associated with such an extreme minority position?
We could examine the history of the Democratic Party and crime, talk about the ideological capture of different liberal organizations, or look at how social media encourages the angriest voices—but the core dynamic is the moral and emotional blackmail involved: if you say this, we designate you as a bad person.
That pressures the majority of the Democratic Party to become a silent majority. Because we don’t say, “No, I disagree” to such extremist voices, it means that they aren’t only the loudest voices but also often the only voices other people hear.
Confronting the emotional blackmail will feel difficult, but if you’re worried about Trump returning to the presidency, if his policies anger you, then take that emotional energy and say: “I disagree. I care about people’s desire for safety.“
Cui bono—who benefits?
Who benefits from dismissing concerns about crime as racist?
It doesn’t benefit Black people, who are victims of crime.
It won’t end racism. Rather, making people feel their safety is at odds with being anti-racist undermines the fight against racial injustice.
Lumping being concerned with crime with being racist benefits a handful of people and organizations for whom it is an easy way to receive positive attention and gin up donations.
On the other hand, there isn’t much benefit for those who call this out—at least in the short term. It’s easier to stay silent, as I have for too long, in order not to confront their emotional blackmail.
But if we take seriously the need to keep Trump from returning to the Oval Office, we cannot be silenced by this moral blackmail. We can’t let an extremist position define the stance of liberals and progressives. We must speak up.
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