This time really is different.
Attitudes about Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd, especially among white Americans, has changed since the Obama years and has seismically shifted in just the last two weeks.
American public opinion can sometimes seem stubborn. Voters haven’t really changed their views on abortion in 50 years. Donald J. Trump’s approval rating among registered voters has fallen within a five-point range for just about every day of his presidency.
But the Black Lives Matter movement has been an exception from the start.
Public opinion on race and criminal justice issues has been steadily moving left since the first protests ignited over the fatal shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. And since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25, public opinion on race, criminal justice and the Black Lives Matter movement has leaped leftward.
Over the last two weeks, support for Black Lives Matter increased by nearly as much as it had over the previous two years, according to data from Civiqs, an online survey research firm. By a 28-point margin, Civiqs finds that a majority of Americans support the movement, up from a 17-point margin before the most recent wave of protests began.
The survey is not the only one to suggest that recent protests enjoy broad public support. Weekly polling for the Democracy Fund’s U.C.L.A./Nationscape survey shows a significant increase in unfavorable views of the police, and an increase in the belief that African-Americans face a lot of discrimination.
Perhaps most significant, the Civiqs data is not alone in suggesting that an outright majority of Americans agree with the central arguments of Black Lives Matter.
A Monmouth University poll found that 76 percent of Americans consider racism and discrimination a “big problem,” up 26 points from 2015. The poll found that 57 percent of voters thought the anger behind the demonstrations was fully justified, while a further 21 percent called it somewhat justified. Polls show that a majority of Americans believe that the police are more likely to use deadly force against African-Americans, and that there’s a lot of discrimination against black Americans in society. Back in 2013, when Black Lives Matter began, a majority of voters disagreed with all of these statements.
I've openly said that Obama's support for Black Lives Matter turned many white voters against the Democratic party in his second term, and Hillary Clinton's support for it basically doomed her 2016 candidacy in the Rust Belt and Sun Belt. White voters did not want to hear or think about police brutality and racism still existing after Obama's election, having fully bought into the historic nature of the nation's first black president being proof that racism had been conquered and was no longer a problem.
When that turned out to not be the case, white voters got angry. And they turned to Trump in order to punish the Obama coalition of voters. The rest is our dark history of the last four years.
But if these numbers are right, white voters have seen so much police brutality on TV against everyone that they're now supporting Black Lives Matter and finally realized we were right all along and that cops are out of control.
In other words, Donald Trump's collapse in the last three months has been so complete that white voters think Black Lives Matter liberalism and Joe Biden are better by comparison.
Good job, Donny.