Trump is taking the 2020 election to a dark place (us.cnn.com)

US President Donald Trump is taking the 2020 election to a dark place.

After mismanaging the coronavirus pandemic and erasing America’s purring economy along the way, Trump is resorting to a familiar strategy — divisive cultural and racial rhetoric — in his quest for a second term. To hear him tell it, we’re living in a dystopian land besieged by radical hordes.

“The left-wing mob is trying to demolish our heritage so they can replace it with a new, oppressive regime that they alone control,” Trump told his mostly unmasked, indoor crowd in Arizona on Tuesday. “They’re tearing down statues, desecrating monuments and purging dissenters. It’s not the behavior of a peaceful political movement, it’s the behavior of totalitarians and tyrants and people that don’t love our country.”

“Heritage” is Trump’s codeword for icons of the White South, like the Confederate flag and statues of secessionist Civil War generals currently being removed from parks and plazas across the country. On Wednesday, the President even claimed unnamed forces were trying to destroy statues of Jesus Christ. And his lawyers, like Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, are stoking the fury: “This is not and never was about anything remotely related to racism and black lives. It is about destroying America which is the chief goal of the (Black Lives Matter) movement,” Ellis tweeted.

Pretty much the only time Trump mentions the worsening pandemic these days is to use the racist term “kung flu,” which drew roars of approval from supporters in Arizona. The President’s boosters are following his lead — if you watch the nightly tirades served up by conservative talk show hosts on Fox News, you might not even know the lethal contagious disease is still rampant.

It’s only June. Trump’s rhetoric is likely to get a lot more ugly before the election in November. But barely veiled racism is a tactic that he uses whenever he’s feeling under pressure and needs to buck up his most fervent supporters — which tells us a lot about his political standing right now.

‘Trying to get away with murder’

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, is refusing to apologizeafter she accused Republicans this week of “trying to get away with murder … the murder of George Floyd” in response to their version of a police reform bill. Her comment reflected the state of distrust on Capitol Hill and sparked outrage on the right — as it likely would have done on the left had a Republican accused Democrats of “murder.” On Wednesday, Democrats blocked the incentive-based Senate Republican police reform bill, branding it as deeply inadequate. A more stringent Democratic effort that has already passed the House would set national standards.

Postcard from Hong Kong

The US has already said Hong Kong haslost its autonomy and is threatening to withdraw its special trading benefits. China’s latest moves to crimp the former British colony’s freedoms are likely to turn up the heat even more between Washington and Beijing, in what is only one of their many flashpoints…

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