President Trump and his political allies frequently blast “Democrat-run cities” as cesspools of violence, rioting and looting.
But such attacks are devoid of nuance about crime in America. Moreover, they conveniently ignore that Democratic-voting areas fuel a whopping two-thirds of the American economy. Republican-led parts of the United States, on the other hand, are remarkably unproductive.
The economic divergence between red and blue states is staggering — and growing rapidly. While income and education levels are increasing at a swift rate in Democratic areas, they are stagnant or declining in red states, which is a recipe for disaster.
Indeed, studies have linked dire economic conditions in GOP-voting districts to extreme political polarization (See: Trump, election of).
Far worse, an epidemic of opioid and alcohol-fueled suicides is killing Trump’s white, blue-collar base at a staggering rate.
Republicans attacking “Democrat-run cities” also seem to forget that billions of dollars from economically dynamic blue states keep many Republican-voting states afloat. In light of this red state socialism, conservatives may want to reconsider biting the hand that feeds them.
Moreover, even a cursory analysis of crime in America roundly debunks Trump and his allies’ claims that Democratic policies fuel violence.
First and foremost, crime rates dropped at a remarkable rate under President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton’Democrat-run cities’ fuel the economy, keep many red states afloat Late-night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study A closing argument: Why voters cannot trust Trump on healthcare MORE.
Six years into Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocrats make gains in Georgia Senate races: poll ‘Democrat-run cities’ fuel the economy, keep many red states afloat Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE’s presidency, violent crime reached a two-decade low.
Crime is also highly concentrated. A study of large U.S. cities found that 5 percent of city streets account for a whopping 50 percent of criminal activity.
Democratic voters surely inhabit far more than the small sliver of neighborhoods where an outsize proportion of violent crime occurs, deflating GOP attempts to link crime to Democratic policies.
Indeed, racial, cultural and socioeconomic factors, such as extreme inequality (which Republican policies have super-charged), are far more likely to fuel violent crime than any others.
With crime rates hovering around historic lows, Trump’s vision of violence-wracked “Democrat-run cities” simply does not align with reality.
Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security found that the vast majority of the rioting and looting that followed the police killing of George Floyd was perpetrated by criminal opportunists.
The government’s findings undercut Trump’s relentless attempts to pin the blame on organized left-wing extremist groups. Worse yet, right-wing provocateurs incited the violence at some protests around the country.
To be sure, left-wing rioters and looters mounted a sustained assault on two federal buildings in Portland, Ore. But the corrosive nature of social media and its echo chambers allowed Republicans to paint a few dozen violent extremists and anarchists as a far greater menace to society than they truly are.
Indeed, the president’s own FBI director made clear that “antifa” is more of an ideology than a coherent, organized group.
Republicans also claim that Democratic politicians are giving rioters and looters a pass. But the facts tell a different story: At least 10,000 were arrested following protests this summer. Despite GOP claims, violent offenders continue to be charged and prosecuted.
Ultimately, Trump and his allies’ relentless attempts to link Democrats and their policies to crime and violence fall flat.
Marik von Rennenkampff served as an analyst with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, as well as an Obama administration appointee at the U.S. Department of Defense. Follow him on Twitter @MvonRen.