With Democrats howling about tearing down statues and supporting violent protesters, Trump is free to run the nation.
From Trump Tower in New York City, President Trump implied the removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee could be the beginning of a trend of removing statues of historic figures on public display. He asks ‘where does it stop?
Just last month, Democrats were talking about how they needed to rebrand their party around a positive message. They wanted to move beyond simple anti-Trumpism and identity politics, and craft an economic appeal to the white working-class voters who deserted them in 2016. Now here we are with Democrats going all in to refight the Civil War. Well done. A glance at the electoral map shows how foolish this is. Donald Trump triumphed in 2016 by increasing Republican margins in a swath of northern counties stretching from western Pennsylvania across the Great Lakes, netting him Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and the presidency. Voters there are more likely to see this issue as a radical temper tantrum than anything affecting their daily lives.
Polling gives reason for skepticism. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll last week found that 62% of respondents thought statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy should “remain as a historical symbol.” Only 27% of those polled wanted the statues removed, and presumably they vote Democratic anyway. Perhaps party leaders see this issue as a way to motivate the minority base that failed to energize for Hillary Clinton, but even among African Americans, a 44% plurality said let the statues stay. So it’s just bad politics. It gets worse. Once the issue was uncorked, it ballooned out of control. Last week, Trump wondered aloud where the iconoclastic movement would end, asking rhetorically, “Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” Right on cue, a Chicago pastor wants Washington’s name removed from a park, and Al Sharpton comes out against the Jefferson memorial.