On November 29, 2019, Usman Khan was shot and killed by British authorities after killing two and injuring three in a knife attack near London Bridge. The incident was quickly designated a “terror-related” attack; in fact, Khan had been arrested and released for terrorist related activity in the years prior to his murder spree.
Fast-forward a mere two weeks: on December 12th, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party win one of the single greatest landslide victories ever in a British national election.
As riots rage in cities across the nation, the British election literally days after the violence inflicted by a terrorist attack can shed light on the political ramifications of such riots. A new study shows that acts of civil violence and destruction have the effect of making America more conservative. Omar Wasow, an assistant professor at the department of politics at Princeton, recently published a paper concluding that the political effects of riots consistently benefit the political right. Focusing particularly on the race-related riots in the 1960s, Wasow found that, on a county-by-county basis, urban riots resulted in a significant decline in Democratic vote-share in the 1964, 1968, and 1972 presidential elections, the latter two exemplifying a Nixonian law and order backlash that drove a wave of anti-rioter legislation that lasted for decades.
This Princeton study corroborates earlier studies that found that there is a clear connection between the perpetration of terrorist acts and an observable increase in support for the political right. Studies of the Israeli electorate found that elections held within a few months of a terrorist attack caused an increase in support of the political right, even within left-leaning localities. Another study detailed how repeated exposure to rocket threats shifted Israeli voter support to rightwing nationalists during the 2003-9 elections. A comparable turn towards nationalist parties has been observed in Turkey in response to attacks by Kurdish PKK militants.
Note, too, how these two dynamics – riots and terrorism – come together in President Trump’s recent declaration of ANTIFA as an officially recognized terrorist organization! If these studies are accurate, Trump’s designation of ANTIFA as a terrorist organization on the one hand and the riots and the violence that has broken out across the country on the other are combining to frankly red pill America, potentially, like never before!
There are some leftists who recognize this. John Avlon of CNN believes that these riots are playing right into President Trump’s hands. Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell, who was on Sean Hannity’s program the other night, is absolutely right that the Democrats most likely will suffer horrifically at the polls in November for defending these riots!
Americans were horrified by the agonizing death of George Floyd and most certainly support peaceful demonstration and protest. But law-abiding Americans demand law and order. If the Democrats come across as actually defending and even championing these rioters (as Joe Biden’s staffers have done!), then they risk a bloodbath in November perhaps like we’ve never seen!