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Lessons From Urban Unrest

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An incendiary device goes off in front of a Kenosha Country Sheriff Vehicle as demonstrators take part in a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S. August 25, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The fiery riots convulsing American cities have begun to resemble the devastating violence of the late 1960s, and will likely end the same way. Between 1965 and 1969, more than 150 American cities exploded in episodes of race-based destruction, beginning with LA’s Watts Riot that killed or injured more than 1,000 and destroyed 1,000 buildings.

Princeton scholar Omar Wasow studied the elections that followed the riots, finding that areas scarred by unrest showed sharp increases in support for “Law and Order” candidates. By 1972, Richard Nixon, the proudly proclaimed “Law and Order” president, carried 49 states with an epic 61% popular vote landslide, by denouncing the leftist takeover of the Democratic Party with the candidacy of George McGovern.

In other words, Americans overwhelmingly rejected the violent protesters in both inner cities and on college campuses, so that radical “resistance” soon subsided—a crucial lesson for today’s nihilistic agitators and their feckless apologists.

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