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August 13, 2020

The law and order president?

Opinion

August 13, 2020

In the wake of recent protests in the US, Donald Trump has declared himself to be the ‘law and order’ president.

This term comes with many layers of meaning for Americans. Richard Nixon had declared himself to be the same when he ran for office in 1968 -- a time of much turmoil in America. There were wide-scale protests against the Vietnam War, and three prominent leaders -- John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr and Bobby Kennedy -- had all been assassinated. There had been major race riots in several large cities in the aftermath of the King assassination in April 1968 and most white Americans had fled urban areas in fear. The country was in turmoil and Nixon promised to smack down any protests.

In calling himself the law and order president, Trump is drawing a parallel between the current protests for racial justice under the slogan Black Lives Matter, and the lawless turmoil of 1968. Considering that the vast majority of Trump supporters are older white Americans, he is trying to instill fear among them, scaring them into voting for him in November.

To push this Trump is running a media campaign insinuating that, should Biden win, the country would become unsafe for whites. Without much regard for the truth, Trump’s campaign ads are dramatically suggesting Joe Biden would defund the police and even cancel the 9-1-1 emergency phone service. Never mind that neither of these are on Biden's platform.

A law and order president, one would think, would be a leader with deep respect for compliance with laws. In his 3+ years in office, Trump has been anything but. He has pardoned convicted criminals who happened to be his friends. It is now pretty clear that if you are closely aligned with Trump, you will not go to jail no matter what crime you commit. Trump has fired, or replaced with cronies, many inspectors general who were charged with investigating malfeasance in various government departments.

Trump has claimed laws about conflict of interest do not apply to him and has therefore continued to financially benefit from his position. The US Secret Service has continued to pay Trump Resorts millions of dollars as they must stay there when the president visits his properties, which is quite often. Estimates are that the US government has paid Trump properties well over $100 million just to cover his golfing trips. He even tried to move a planned G7 summit to one of his resorts only to relent after backlash in the media.

As the country approaches the November elections, and opinion polls show Trump trailing Biden significantly, Trump has started to sow doubt about the validity of the elections. At first proposing the election should be delayed due to the pandemic, and then constantly insinuating the election will be fraudulent. He knows his best chance of winning is if large numbers of people are unable to vote.

Many voters are understandably wary of voting in-person due to the pandemic, so states are looking to facilitate voting by mail. To hinder this, Trump has already taken steps to withhold funding from the US Postal Service so large numbers of mail-in ballots become difficult to manage efficiently.

Trump is already laying the groundwork for challenging results of the election if he doesn't win. And, considering the attorney general of the US has proven himself to be nothing more than a Trump sycophant, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that results of the election will face legal challenges with a very uncertain outcome -- not just for the election but for the country itself.

The writer is a freelance contributor based in Washington DC. Website: www.sqshareef.com/blogs