The protests that have taken hold in many U.S. cities could affect the political future of the current administration in two ways. First, given that the man who was killed by the Minneapolis police was black, the protests have provoked discussion about racial disparity in the U.S. In addition to questions of police violence and racial discrimination, many of the protesters are embracing larger issues such as social justice. In the U.S., racial minorities are an influential group, and many black and Hispanic voters will participate in the upcoming presidential election. Racial, religious, sexual and other minorities usually tend toward the Democratic Party, and widespread discontent with how the current government deals with minorities could cause these groups to vote in greater numbers. At the same time, nearly 20% of U.S. black voters usually vote for Republicans. However, the spread of protests and discontent has caused Republicans in power to worry that these voters may not participate in the November election, or even, vote for the other party. Minority voters could change the outcome of elections in many of the famous battleground states. Black voters in North Carolina and Hispanic voters in states like Florida could influence the results of the elections by gravitating toward one party or the other.
The way Donald Trump deals with this issue could cause many minority groups to question reelecting him. Trump’s tweets often add fuel to the fire, and he has threatened to respond to protests with an iron fist. The second possible effect of these protests relates to the Trump administration’s crisis management strategies. Trump, after 3 1/2 years in office, faces two important crises, and his response to the outbreak of COVID-19 has been met with criticism from his opponents. Concurrent with this crisis, Trump now must confront anti-racism protests. The demonstrations were initially peaceful and nonviolent, but they have gradually edged toward violence, looting and conflict. This is partially due to the federal government’s response, including the deployment of the National Guard and Trump’s threat to make use of the military.
How these changes evolve will be a decisive test for the Trump administration to see whether it can correctly manage a national crisis or not. Trump has so far been unable to manage the social crisis arising from the protests, and the harsh criticism for his mismanagement of the COVID-19 emergency only adds to the difficulty. The protests have shown no sign of abating, and the federal government has not yet developed a comprehensive strategy to manage the crisis other than the president’s provocative tweets. These recent changes could have a significant influence on voters’ judgment in November. The question of whether Trump can control this crisis and return the U.S. to stability will be a serious test.
Racism in the U.S. is deeply rooted in a long history which goes back before the founding of the United States to the time when recently arrived European settlers began the genocidal killing of Native Americans. The culture of institutional racial discrimination that many American residents face has changed in recent decades, and conditions for racial minorities have improved, but this discriminatory culture still exists and racial superiority is still prevalent in the U.S. The days of the 1960s are no more, when whites barred black Americans from bathrooms, public transportation and restaurants, or when black people were lynched and burned alive while the police looked on. Even so, a culture of racial discrimination still exists for a large portion of the U.S, and resolving this fundamental issue will be no easy task. Neither electing a black president nor getting rid of Trump will be an immediate solution. The U.S. is in need of deep cultural change over the course of generations to resolve this affair.