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US elections, Black Lives Matter and police violence: expert comment

With President Donald Trump and presidential candidate Joe Biden on the campaign trail for the Republicans and Democrats respectively, recent comments from both candidates have addressed the Black Lives Matter protests and police violence. Dr Georg Löfflmann of the Department of Politics and International Studies comments:

"Trump's visceral 'law and order' rhetoric of violent mobs and anarchy in America's streets has emerged as his key election strategy to mobilize his white working class voter base in crucial swing states. Biden faces the dilemma to condemn police violence and systemic racism in the United States and show solidarity with an energized Democratic base of protesters and Black Lives Matter activists without playing into Trump's hands, who wants to paint Democrats as agents of chaos and violence. Biden's latest comments demonstrate this political balancing act. He supports the criminal investigation of police officers, but avoids demanding that they be charged with the murder of African-American citizens. And, of course this is a far cry from more radical proposals on the American left to 'defund the police'. In the highly polarized poltical climate in the United States, however, and with a narrowing lead in the polls, Biden's centrist position might not be the best strategy for November. The more forceful demands by his pick for vice president, Kamala Harris, to tackle racism and police violence seem much more in tune with the demands and expectations of Democratic voters."

3 September 2020

Contact:

Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)

Email: peter.thorley@warwick.ac.uk

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