Violent protests across Wisconsin would likely help President Donald Trump gain advantage over his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, according to reports. Parallels have been drawn between the 2016 Milwaukee riots linked to the fatal police shooting of black man Sylville Smith and the ongoing protests in Wisconsin following the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake.
The Milwaukee riots happened in August 2016 ahead of the presidential polls that saw Trump against the then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who was widely believed to win. Wisconsin radio host Dan O'Donnell told New York Post that the Democrats could be in trouble in the swing state if the Kenosha protests spread to other towns.
"Milwaukee is seen outstate as being wholly unlike the rest of the largely rural population because of its crime and Democrat policies," O'Donnell told New York Post. "If people in, say, Appleton and Oshkosh [the other big swing area] and the heavily red suburbs think Milwaukee-style rioting could come to their cities next, Democrats are in big trouble here."
A latest Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin's registered voters showed that Republicans, Democrats and independents had a negative outlook of Black Lives Matters protests. While in June, the approval of protests was 61 percent, it fell to 48 percent. Moreover, "large majorities" did not agree with the calls for defunding of the police.
Trump Criticized for Aggravating Violence
Trump has repeatedly criticized the Democratic Party of not being able to quell unrest in their respective states and cities. He also called out Biden for not speaking up against the protests. However, critics accused the president of politicizing the protests and aggravating violence with provocative rhetoric.
Biden issued a statement on Sunday accusing Trump of "recklessly encouraging violence."
"He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong â but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is. He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership â or even basic human compassion," Biden said.
Meanwhile, the White House said Trump will visit Kenosha on Tuesday to assess the damage in the city. But Wisconsin's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers told the president to reconsider his visit as his presence will only "hinder our healing."