Even President George W. Bush, who many US citizens rightly suspected of stealing the presidency from his opponent Al Gore through a legal trick in Florida, drew everyone’s attention when he was in the middle of the September 11, 2001 attacks New York was on the pile of rubble. There he found the right words and gestures to give American society support and confidence. America, it was seen after 9/11, was at war. In the war on terror. Bush had suddenly become the war president.
Attack on moral legitimation
The US is currently under pressure again. This time the attack on the moral legitimation of the political order came from within. A white policeman murders an African-American who has just been handcuffed for no reason. His name: George Floyd. But before that he was called Eric Garner or Michael Brown. These two were killed in police violence in 2014. Garner, like Floyd, was suffocated. Brown shot with six bullets.
Police violence is a deep problem in the United States. The police culture is an even bigger one. Only on 27 days last year did no people die in the United States from police violence. On other days there are up to nine people. And it mainly affects the Afro-American population. Black Americans are three times more likely than white to be victims of this violence.
Real and felt disadvantaged
The outcry over George Floyd’s public murder comes at a time when the United States is badly shaken by the corona pandemic. The country faces 40 million unemployed people who have often lost health insurance due to their jobs. More than 100,000 people have died in the pandemic. A quarter of them African-Americans, who only make up 12 percent of the population.
The prospect of years gone by, anger at the continuing poor position – the median income of the Afro-American population is only half that of the Asian population and two thirds of the white US population – and mistrust of the state institutions have led to violent protests for a week. This is discredited night after night by looting and arson.
The pseudo war president
This is exactly what US President Trump wants to take advantage of to build on his new campaign strategy. Because of the economic impact of the Corona crisis, he can no longer campaign as president of an economically strong country. His attempts to position himself as China’s opponent were also blocked. Now he wants to run as president, who enforces law and law against chaos, anarchists and Antifa.
This is how his media helpers paint the picture of the USA: left-wing, subversive forces attack the legitimate US government, want to overthrow the political order and abolish the constitution. America, and the undertone says: the real America must defend itself against this mob. Trump becomes president of the war in this way. To the pseudo-war president. But the enemy is inside.
President Trump chose this role for himself. Like many of his predecessors, he does not want to ensure national unity in the hour of conflict. Even the nation is indifferent to the nationalist. He does not want to console, explain and promise that the crack will be overcome by society. He deepens this rift: he threatens the demonstrators with resistance, violence, and prison. He does not want to hear and understand, but to roar and roll flat.
Trump sacrifices the presidency as a symbol of national unity for his coveted election success. He wants to split instead of reconcile and hit instead of heal. Trump is the president of constant escalation. He is the president that American society can no longer afford a day without being deeply harmed.
And yet it is not out of the question that his strategy will work. Every looting, every fire, every expansion of violence against the police heats up the situation and plays into his hands. That is exactly why he is asking the governors to let the police escalate the situation. Trump wants the protesters to be provoked. That the shrill voices also win on the other side. In this way he creates his inner enemy.
However, how Trump wants to maintain this image of the internal enemy until early November is not yet clear. If he really tries, that doesn’t bode well for the US this year. Trump has stolen the United States’ international leadership claim. Now he threatens to crush their moral compass.