President Trump has lost control of the narrative; or, less hopefully, lost control of the narrative.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has found
Voters by a more than 2-to-1 margin say they’re more worried about the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed in Minneapolis after a police officer put a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, and the actions of police, than they are by recent protests that have occasionally turned violent.
Fifty-nine percent of all voters — including 54 percent of whites, 65 percent of Latinos and 78 percent of African Americans — say they’re more troubled by Floyd’s death and the actions of police.
That’s compared with 27 percent who say they’re more concerned about the protests over Floyd’s death, some of which have turned violent.
Not only that but
When it comes to the presidential contest in November, Democrat Joe Biden leads Trump nationally by 7 points among all registered voters, 49 percent to 42 percent — unchanged from April’s poll.
With the public apparently siding with protesters against police- for whom Trump has consistently touted his (alleged) love and support- it's a little surprising that Biden's margin over Trump hasn't increased. However, we know that support for Trump, for whom the basement always has been relatively high and ceiling relatively low, rarely changes markedly.
Both survey results, though positive for the Democratic nominee, have been derived during a period in which Trump has failed to find his bearings. The narrative has been captured by the left and Republicans including Trump have been flailing about trying to find a counter-narrative. That was vividly demonstrated last Monday, when the President's clumsy photo-op in front of a church contrasted glaringly with peaceful demonstrators being gassed in the street across Lafayette Square Park.
However, Trump may finally have found his message:
Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to “DEFUND THE POLICE”. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
O.K., O.K., no significant Democratic politician, most notably presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, has offered support for the "Defund the Police" message initiated by Black Lives Matter. It doesn't matter.
This is almost as effective a message for Trump as it is volatile. No one opposes great police officers nor well-paid police officers, nor cute babies or snow on Christmas Eve.
It's also difficult to oppose "law and order." It has its roots in a racially biased appeal of George Wallace and Richard Nixon and has been barely repurposed for Donald J. Trump. However, as a slogan, it proved effective in the past and probably has not passed its expiration date.
At the center of the current message, though, is "defund the police." If the President repeats this endlessly- and Republicans join him in it- it has the potential to be a game-changer. The best hope is that the scatter-brained and easily distracted Donald Trump either moves on to another issue or drops this thought entirely.