Donald Trump wants to make the GOP the “law-and-order party,” Josh Zeitz of Cambridge and Princeton universities writes in Politico. Safe from what?, he asks, noting that national crime and violent crime rates in the U.S. have hovered at near-50 year lows. Despite the killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the same is true of the number of police killed on duty.
In 1968, Richard Nixon, “created the very playbook that Trump seems to be recycling,” Zeitz writes, adding that, “Then as now, crime was a powerful proxy for other concerns … But even with all that to worry about, Nixon’s appeal wasn’t just about crime. His political insight was that crime was a powerful proxy for other anxieties.” Now, Trump has reactivated the old politics, “and to what effect, we don’t yet know,” Zeitz says. He notes that in 1968, “Crime was a convenient proxy for race, but also for a complex amalgam of social and cultural concerns that troubled the mind of ‘Middle America.’ “