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Public Opinion
Is Black Lives Matter Backfiring?

If Colin Kaepernick’s protest strategy is working, it hasn’t showed up yet in public opinion polling. Respect for local law enforcement soared over the last year to its highest level since 1968, according to a new survey from Gallup:


Interestingly, changing opinions among Democrats and independents drove most of the increase. Republican respect for police, already overwhelming, ticked up only slightly, from 82 to 86 percent. Meanwhile, Democratic support surged from 54 to 68 percent; among independents, from 60 to 75. The uptick was more pronounced among nonwhites than whites.

The high levels of support for police registered in the survey aren’t necessarily incompatible with the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, and there have been indications that public opinion is swinging in the movement’s direction on some issues related to criminal justice reform. At the same time, if the movement had been successfully selling the public on the argument that law enforcement inflicts gratuitous violence against minorities on a large scale, we probably wouldn’t expect such a marked pro-police turn in the polls.

2015 Gallup polling in the wake of high-profile police shootings seemed to show public support for law enforcement slipping. But public attitudes have swung in the opposite direction over the past year, perhaps because of concern about rising urban crime rates as well as civil unrest in places like Charlotte and Dallas (where seven police officers were slain).

Donald Trump, and the Jacksonian coalition he activated, are likely to go down in defeat on Election Day. But the law-and-order impulse will remain an important force in our politics.

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  • Beauceron

    Oddly, I think I’ve been swaying from the “a great deal” to the “some” category. I used to be a pretty typical knee jerk supporter of law enforcement.

    I just watched the head of the FBI basically suspend the law as applied to everyone else for a powerful political candidate. The more we learn about the investigation, the more it seems like it was deeply corrupted from the very start. Just today the WSJ reported that the high ranking FBI agent supervising the investigation is married to a woman who ran for office and got close to a half million dollars in donations from long-time Clinton buddy Terry McAuliffe. The FBI assures us that had no influence on the investigation– of course, of course.

    The truth is our federal law enforcement– the DOJ and FBI– is a deeply politicized and corrupted institution. How the law is applied depends very much on who you are, what party you’re from and what connections you have. I have lost trust in both of those institutions. I will regard any investigations they do and any pronouncements they make with deep suspicion and open distrust.

    • Nevis07

      I share your concerns regarding the FBI. It was truly a shamble of an investigation. Of course the FBI is a federal agency and under Obama we’ve watched federal organizations, one-after-the-other become politicized and militarized. This is why we need to decentralize politics in this country and re-empower the states to greater authority. Local police have little justified adherence to the executive office. Of course, Obama would love to have a national police force…

      IMHO, most of this country’s solutions lies in the reversal of executive power and the scaling back of federal responsibilities. Episodes of police brutality (a real, but overstated issue from the MSM) and inner-city black-on-black violence (a real but ignored fact by the MSM) are harder to avoid when you have more direct connections to your state public officials.

      • Beauceron

        My deeper concern is that this has absolutely nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the leftist wing of the Democratic party.

        The line between the functions of the state, the media complex, our educational system, many of our professional organizations (like the American Bar Association) and that of the Democratic Party are blurring. Look at what’s happened at the IRS– or State, or the EPA or DOL as well as the DOJ/FBI– I don’t know if Obama ordered these actions explicitly, but I suspect not. I think they are just populated by leftist elitists, and they do not need someone from high up in the administration to order them, for instance, to start persecuting conservative groups. They just do it because they can and they think it’s for the greater good.

        That is how a Deep State forms. And I think– I fear– we are beginning to see one start to gel. Now THAT is something to be deeply worried about.

        • Andrew Allison


        • osa

          And they run their election campaigns about personal not policy issues
          – see the last couple of decades of pres. campaigns

        • JR

          Agree completely. As I have been arguing here and elsewhere, after IRS won the election for Obama in 2012, we are on what looks like irreversible course towards the Brazil scenario, where the bureaucracy of government and Democratic party become indistinguishable. As long as bond yields remain low and Democrats can borrow to buy votes, they are unbeatable on the national level. “Breads and circuses” is way more powerful than “personal responsibility” and “individual freedom”. All democracies are eventually consumed from within. We are seeing this happening here in the US. I just hope to be safely dead when the defecation really hits the oscillation.

          • Beauceron

            That’s true– but the Left have also– brilliantly– used identity politics to guarantee a permanent majority. Step one: foster race-based identity politics as a cultural and political foundation. Step two: flood the country with migrants (remember, right now the US has a higher percentage of foreign born citizens than it did even during the great immigration phases of the1800s and early 1900s) and change the demographics Step three: portray all opposition as racist Step 4: get a permanent majority.
            The thing is, the candidate no longer matters– their experience their politics, their policies, their personalities– none of that matters. What matters is whether or not they will provide the promised group-based payoffs.
            This is how democracy dies.

          • JR

            Agreed. But just like in Brazil, the easy money party ends at some point. The only permanent thing is change. May we exit these dark ages on the other side speedily, in our time.

          • Beauceron

            That’s certainly a good prayer.
            But I am afraid we are in for 20-30 years of Leftist rule.

          • JR

            My time table is somewhat shorter. At the rate we are going, I think 10 years max is how much we got. After that, the real hard times begin

          • MarkM

            At least for now, I still argue that when you package “personal responsibility” and “individual freedom” as part of the “American Dream” (the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative), I bet it still polls better than much of the “bread and circuses” approach. There is a significant portion of this country which still agrees with Ronald Reagan’s old joke regarding the nine most terrifying words in the English language.
            There is hope yet.

            One minor quibble, but I think it is important – the Federal Government in the United States is not and never was a democracy. Under the Constitution, the United States of America has been a republic since its’ founding.

          • JR

            Maybe it’s because I live in Jersey, but I assure you that at least in my home state, bread and circuses carries the day way ahead of personal responsibility. I hope you are right and there’s enough people who still value the “american dream” as you define it. I just think we are outnumbered by those who would rather be dependent on the government to take care of them in exchange for their votes. Like I said before, to me the worst part of all this is the fact that my kids will inherit a country that is materially worse than the one I came to as a young kid in 1991. If I were single and childless and the only thing I cared about is my brokerage statement, I would be clamoring for Democratic rule as well.

    • Observe&Report

      FBI director James Comey has had a very interesting career. He started out in the Justice Department. Then he worked as General Counsel and Vice President for Lockheed Martin from 2005-2010 for which he was paid $6.1million annually (leaving right before the trickle of reports about the F-35 programme’s delays, cost-overruns, and numerous technical flaws became a flood). He then served on the board of directors of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds; and then in 2013, Obama tapped him to become the next FBI director.

      The fact that Director Comey has completed a full circuit of the revolving door does not necessarily mean that he is corrupt, just as the fact that he declined prosecute Clinton for a crime that would have ended the career of anyone lower down in rank does not necessarily mean that it was an attempt to curry favour with his probable future boss.

      • Beauceron

        Good points. It also should be remembered that while Comey was an executive at both Lockheed and HSBC they were heavy contributors to the Clinton Foundation.

        But it goes deeper than that. Why did the FBI have all agents sign nondisclosure agreements that included a lie detector clause? A former high ranking FBI chief said “This is very, very unusual. I’ve never signed one, never circulated one to others.”
        And that meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton, on the airport tarmac? Where Clinton has the head of the DOJ’s plane held just so they could talk about family? Please.

      • Andrew Allison

        Au contraire, it conclusively demonstrates that the Executive Branch is being systematically populated with individuals as utterly unscrupulous as Crooked Hillary. God Save America!

        • Observe&Report

          Perhaps the second paragraph of my post wasn’t very clear, but it was intended to be sarcastic. The fact that the Director of the FBI is a product of the very system that enables the kleptocratic Clintons to survive and thrive is indicative of the state of American politics.

  • Andrew Allison

    Eureka! The Establishment is belatedly figuring out what the Deplorables have long known, namely that BLM is a fraud perpetrated, with the active support of the current administration, by the BGI.

  • Proud Skeptic

    BLM is a jumble. The highest profile message is sends is that cops are illegally killing black folks right and left. Time and again, when the allegations make it through the legal system, this is proven to not be true.

    There is certainly the opportunity for Black Lives Matter to do a lot of good. They could arrange conversations between citizens and police departments….start dialogs. But instead, they focus on pushing a narrative that is false and people know it. To make matters worse, one of the unintended consequences is that cops are being murdered in retribution for these imaginary crimes.

    In the end…much as BLM would prefer this not be the case…people are seeing that cops in inner city urban areas are saving black people from themselves. It’s a tragic situation and I wish this were not necessary. But all but the blindest…and the most politically conniving…among us can see the plain truth and end up supporting the cops.

  • TGates

    BLM was all about getting Blacks to the 2016 polls. BHO second term created a vacuum that needed to be filled. After the election the organization will disappear due to dark money being withdrawn and lack of “press coverage”.

    • Andrew Allison

      I wonder. It may get Blacks to the polls, but I suspect (hope) that it will get a lot more whites who are as disgusted as I with the pandering to the BGI there.

  • Anthony

    From Michelle Alexander: “something more is required but what is it!” Equally, are the police (the idea of the institution) anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the stoked fears and anxieties which activate the “law and order” impulse referenced in Post? Consequently, the current Gallup findings ought not be expectantly surprising. Removing the emotional politics aside (difficult, yes difficult), another perspective:

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