Peter Brimelow writes: To put my 1988 column in perspective, you have to realize that, incredible as it may seem now, there was real panic among Republicans in the summer of 1988 as Michael Dukakis seemed to have established a decisive lead in the polls.
Sound familiar? Well, here’s another similarity: mass Main Stream Media adulation of professional black agitator Rev. Jesse Jackson. His always-problematic quest for Democratic nomination had been treated with reverent credulity across the political spectrum, an early example of the emerging black-hard Left alliance that appears equally beyond criticism today.
As it turned out, of course, George H.W. Bush’s GOP never dared challenge the Democrats’ dependence on Jackson and his Leftist allies directly—and won the 1988 presidential election anyway.
But not, I would point out, without some fairly brutal a.k.a. honest race-oriented attacks on Dukakis himself, notably the Willie Horton ad. (Additionally, note that I anticipated George H.W. Bush’s subsequent abandonment of the tax-cut issue during his disastrous presidency, leading directly to his defeat in 1992 and the curse of the Clintons).
What does this mean today? I still believe that the answer to riots is ruthless coercion. I still agree with the late Eugene Methvin, writing in the pre-purge National Review (June 10, 1991):
The time to halt a riot is right at the start, by pinching off the criminal spearhead with precise and overwhelming force. The cops will usually be caught flat-footed (no pun intended) by the initial outbreak. But they need to spring into a pre-arranged mobilization that should always be as ready in every major city as the fire-department or hospital disaster-response program.
And I still think the place to start was Minneapolis, the moment that Governor Walz and Mayor Frey gave their ignominious Friday night press conference [May 29] confessing that they had lost control of the city.
But I can’t rule out the possibility that Donald J. Trump, who didn’t do anything like this, is on his way to a landslide re-election this fall.