Demonstrations in the United States: a dress rehearsal for the presidential election?

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden at the Bethel AME Church in Wilimington, Delaware, June 1, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP

Text by: RFI Follow

Anger spreads in the United States, a week after the death of George Floyd, a black man, a new victim of police violence. He died last Monday, asphyxiated by a police officer. What will be the consequences of this crisis on the presidential election of November 3? Democratic candidate for the White House Joe Biden accused American President Donald Trump on Monday June 1 of using the army "against the Americans" and tear gas against "peaceful demonstrators" for a communication operation.


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This may be the turning point in the campaign. The moment when it crystallizes. On social networks, Donald Trump calls on Democrats to toughen up against "  anarchists  " and radical leftists  " . For his part, Joe Biden met with representatives of the black community on Monday and promised the creation of a police oversight commission within the first 100 days of his mandate, if he is elected president next November.

It's a bit of a general rehearsal of the two roles that Trump and Biden will take on in the campaign,  " RFI analysis by Françoise Coste, professor at the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès.

Trump in the role of the baton man

On the one hand, the former real estate tycoon, "  the strong man, the baton man  ", who does not care about systemic violence through the current problems.

In a brief speech, Donald Trump announced on Monday evening the deployment of "  thousands of heavily armed soldiers  " and police in Washington, judging that the disturbances of the previous day in the federal capital were "  a shame  ".

While speaking in the white house-like grounds of the entrenched camp, the police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators gathered outside the compound. The goal was to clear the field to St. John's Church, an iconic building nearby that was damaged on Sunday evening. The president went there on foot, surrounded by members of his cabinet, to be photographed there, a bible in hand. A "  communication operation  " denounced by Joe Biden, accusing the president of "  using the army against the Americans ... for a photo  ".

He's using the American military against the American people.

He tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets.

For a photo.

For our children, for the very soul of our country, we must defeat him. But I mean it when I say this: we can only do it together.

  Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 2, 2020

Biden in difficult position

However, the Democratic candidate is in a "  more difficult position  ," said Françoise Coste. Joe Biden has repeatedly denounced the death of George Floyd and the "  institutional racism  " that he says is eating away at the United States. But he also called for calm and condemned the violence.

He will have to juggle  " between two messages, explains the professor at the Toulouse university: "  expressing a great understanding and a great empathy towards the difficulties of the black community, which he will need in November  ".

But Françoise Coste insists on the second message and the pitfall to avoid for Joe Biden: "  If he is too identified by the electorate as leaning on the side of black rioters, he will lose the potential support of many white voters who see those images on TV that are terrified.  "

For Françoise Coste, “  it is the upper middle class of the residential suburbs that will make the election. Biden must find a way to speak to him.  "

To listen to: [Original podcast] American presidential: back in the countryside

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  • United States
  • Donald trump
  • Joe Biden
  • USA elections 2020

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