Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has made it clear how she feels about the social justice protests that roiled cities in the U.S. over the summer and in some cases led to riots, vandalism, destruction of property, injuries, and deaths.
In a live-streamed interview at the NAACP’s virtual convention Friday, Harris told CNN commentator Angela Rye that she thought the Black Lives Matter protests were “essential” to the country’s progress.
Harris: These protests are “essential”
Asked what she would say to Trump supporters who “are confused” about the protests, Harris said, “It is about, I think, a community and the country speaking out, understanding that nothing that we have achieved that has been about progress in this country has come without a fight.”
“Nothing that we have achieved that has been about progress, in particular around civil rights, has come without a fight, and so I always am going to interpret these protests as an essential component of evolution in our country — as an essential component or mark of a real democracy,” Harris said to Rye.
Harris also praised the “brilliance” of Black Lives Matter, a far-left activist organization that seeks to “defund the police,” among other revolutionary goals, and its Marxist founders. She did not address the violence and destruction that accompanied many of the summer’s protests.
Harris ignores violence, praises protests
“The people’s voices must be heard, and it is often the people who must speak to get their government to do what it is supposed to do, but may not do naturally unless the people speak loudly — and obviously peacefully,” Harris said.
I think many Republicans would even agree with Harris if the national anti-police protests that started in May after the death of George Floyd in police custody had remained peaceful.
Instead, some cities have seen hundreds of buildings and businesses destroyed by vandalism, looting, and arson, while civilians have been injured or killed amid the chaos. Hundreds of police officers have been reported as injured in the ongoing violence that Harris did not see fit to mention as she praised the protests.
In trying to score points with a core Democrat constituency, Harris chose to pander to the activists. What she may not have realized, however, is that support for protests as they really are, a mix of peaceful expression and violent criminal activity, is dropping like a stone.
A new AP-NORC poll saw only 44% of Americans supporting the protests, down from 54% in June.
When will it end?
Part of the problem is that the coronavirus pandemic has left millions of people jobless, restless, and with nothing better to do than attend nearly four months of constant protests and riots. But patience is growing thin, and voters are wondering when the protests — and the violence — will stop.
Harris is correct that the country has a long and proud history of protests that nudged those in power to prioritize certain problems, but the majority of American people are never going to support unchecked violence and anarchy, and I think Harris’s comments might backfire on her in November.