Trump’s searing attacks give Biden a crucial test

At a raw moment in modern American political history, the rivals are emerging from conventions that offered starkly different visions of the future, with every day in the campaign increasingly crucial — as some states prepare to start sending out absentee ballots in the coming weeks.

The President is painting an inaccurate picture of a nation consumed by street violence as he seeks to repair his standing among White suburban voters. Far from calming the situation, he appears to be inciting unrest, for instance praising a convoy of supporters heading into restive Portland, Oregon, as “Great Patriots.” He also “liked” a Twitter post encouraging people to read a thread of tweets that in part praised Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old charged with allegedly killing two protestors in Kenosha. Biden is meanwhile accusing the President of fanning the flames of violence and dividing the country for political gain.

The implication of Trump’s attacks is that there is a binary choice between supporting law enforcement and order, and offering understanding and a path to justice for Black Americans. His strategy follows a deeply misleading Republican convention which keyed on “law and order” to distract from the death of more than 180,000 Americans in the mishandled pandemic.
The debate between Biden and Trump on protests and race is also unfolding against an extraordinary national reckoning that is causing difficult-to-gauge shifts in politics — which last week saw NBA players and other athletes stop playing in an extraordinary demand for justice and police reform.
Political recriminations sharply worsened over the weekend, regarding Kenosha, where police shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, seven times in the back. Clashes in Portland saw a man, reportedly a member of a far-right organization, shot dead.

Biden is under growing pressure to mount a high-profile response to Trump’s searing attacks that brand him the tool of left-wing anarchists and “Defund the Police” activists during a summer of protest and unrest following the death of George Floyd with a police officer’s knee on his neck in May.

In an aggressive move Sunday previewing his speech, the Democratic nominee issued a statement accusing the President of “fanning the flames of hate and division in our society” and called on him to condemn all forms of violence.
Trump administration unleashes a new effort to undermine election integrity

An effective speech and follow-up measures by Biden could allay Democrats’ fears that a hardcore Republican law-and-order campaign could eat into Biden’s polling lead, but also offer a glimpse into how he might lead as president. It’s an opportunity for him to display his capacity for empathy and bringing people together — and offer a possible route out of yet another crisis that Trump seems unable or unwilling to provide.

The President’s attempt to move the election fight to what he believes is more favorable ground is coinciding with fresh signs of how he plans to use the power of his office in a bid to secure a second term. Democrats reacted with outrage Sunday after the Director of National Intelligence said he would halt in-person briefings for lawmakers on election security. And Dr. Stephen Hahn, the head of the Federal Drug Administration, added to concern the White House will put politics ahead of science when he raised the possibility in the Financial Times of an emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine before Phase 3 trials are complete.

Trump campaign blasts protesters as ‘terrorists’ and Biden supporters

Exchanges between the two campaigns on Sunday talk shows shed light on how each candidate plans to respond to an extraordinary national moment in the tense days ahead — and where they see liabilities to exploit in their rivals.

Trump and his campaign are behaving as if they think they have Biden in a vise. The Democratic nominee has strongly sided with Black Lives Matter protests, causing Trump to argue that he is either promoting or is a tool of looters who have burned parts of American cities. Biden has condemned violence on all sides, and despite the efforts of Trump and his conservative media cheerleaders, there is evidence that the violence is not just the work of far-left groups and that far-right anarchist organizations are also involved.

But in the frenzy of a late-stage presidential campaign, such distinctions are ignored. “Make no mistake: These are left-wing terrorists and Joe Biden voters,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tweeted on Sunday, after the President said in a wild rally in New Hampshire on Friday, “Today’s Democratic Party is full of hate … protesters, your ass. They’re not protesters … they’re agitators, they’re rioters, they’re looters.”

The President’s strategy was laid bare in a comment by his outgoing counselor Kellyanne Conway last week when she told Fox News that “the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better news for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.”
Portland mayor excoriates Trump: 'It's you who have created the hate'

On Sunday,…

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