The violence should save him

The violent skirmishes in America served Donald Trump well. His advisers are convinced: they have a topic that will win the election – a risky strategy.

The mayor didn’t want him there, and neither did the governor. But Donald Trump couldn’t miss a visit to the town of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

After all, he sees the events that haunted the city on the shores of Lake Michigan as an advantage: there black Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police officers, violent protests immediately broke out and a 17-year-old white man was finally shot. . Arrived from the neighboring state of Illinois, two protesters reportedly. Now Trump has stepped down from widely destroyed businesses, praised the police, pledging millions in aid to authorities and reconstruction.

Photo series with 16 photos

There was only one name that never came across his lips in his three hours on the spot on Tuesday: Jacob Blake.

The visit to Kenosha shows how Donald Trump refines his strategy and messages more than two months before the US presidential election. Trump did not travel as a president trying to bring together a troubled city, but as an electoral activist seeking to stir up conflict.

The president fires a page

He takes sides against the protesters taking to the streets for racism and police brutality. He denies their concerns and says there is no systematic racism in the country. He spreads conspiracy theories about rioters and speaks of “domestic terror”, while also encouraging armed counter-demonstrations in his immediate area.

Trump, who has been behind his competitor Joe Biden for months in the polls, portrays himself as a protector of public order, but condemns the violence on one side only.

Most recently, he even seemed to informally give the 17-year-old alleged shooter his blessing. If he hadn’t fired, he would have “probably been killed,” Trump said. His supporters in Portland, on the other hand, just wanted to defend themselves, Trump said, when they shot at protesters with paintballs from their pickup trucks.

The message: the country is threatened with an inferno

The violence and deaths in Kenosha, the showdown between the left and Trump supporters in liberal Portland, the looting a few weeks ago in Chicago, or the aggressive protest in the capital Washington – Trump expanded his message to the people in all of this: in Ruled by Democrats The crowd is already raging in cities and a change of power in Washington is threatening the whole country with such an inferno.

“You’re not safe in Joe Biden’s America,” is his much-quoted message for a week. That’s why Trump needed the photos of the destruction – and that opponents and supporters during his visit spoke sharply: all the better.

Scene at the edge of Trump’s visit: Trump supporters and protesters of “Black lives matter” in a war of words. (Source: Morry Gash / AP / dpa)

It all comes together in Kenosha: the city is located in a hotly contested constituency in a hotly contested state for the presidential election. In 2016, Trump narrowly won the Kenosha and Wisconsin constituency.

Biden wants to make the election for the referendum on Trump and his failure to fight Corona – current status: six million confirmed cases, 184,000 dead. Trump wants to distract from it and focuses on a subject that is actually taking up more and more space.

The issue of violence is growing

The pictures of Kenosha and Portland have dominated American television for the past few days. Violent crime was the fifth most important topic in the elections a month ago, following topics like economics, health care and pandemic, but ahead of gun laws, immigration and climate change, according to a survey by the independent Pew Research Center. The numbers should now go up.

Trump’s advisers also know that support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which soared to new heights after George Floyd’s death by police officers in late May, is slowly waning. In the state of Minnesota, where Floyd died and protests spread across the country, his advisers are now suddenly expecting a victory – though the state traditionally votes for the Democrats.

Are you interested in the US election? Our Washington correspondent Fabian Reinbold writes a newsletter about his work in the White House and his impressions from the US under Donald Trump. Here you can subscribe to the “Post from Washington” for free, which then arrives directly in your mailbox once a week.

You are first driven by hope, not certainty. And the venture is risky: At the height of the protests in June, Trump lost a lot of support for failing to recognize the systematic racism that drove people into the streets. Is the mood really different in the fall?

“Do you feel safer under Trump?”

The big question is how long the violent episodes in these cities haunt an uncertain country in which thousands of corona deaths are still mourned every day, millions have lost their jobs and millions of families do not know when and how their children are doing. return to schools.

His opponent Biden continues to focus on these matters. He had come under pressure from Trump’s security campaign. On Monday, he dared to appear in his home state of Delaware for the first time in months and made it clear that he too condemned the violence of the protests.

But he deliberately continued on the subject. Biden took stock of the corona crisis, emphasizing that the president wanted to reduce health insurance and social safety net. Then he asked, “Do you really feel safer under Trump?”

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