The following article by Jessica Lussenhop with BBC News Magazine was posted on the BBC.com website July 25, 2016:
Donald Trump says the US is in a “moment of crisis” and he is the only one who can fix it. How do voters respond to fear?
In his speech accepting the Republican party nomination for president, billionaire Donald Trump painted a grim picture of life in the US.
“The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life,” he said. “Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.”
The implication is that average Americans are not safe, and Trump cited law-flouting undocumented immigrants, police shootings and homicide rates as evidence of this.
However, many of his statistics were quickly debunked by multiple media outlets or at least shown to be misleading. Though the number of homicides has climbed in several major American cities, the overall crime rate in the US is still at historic lows after falling precipitously in the 1990s. US unemployment is at about 5.5%, down from a peak of 10% during the economic recession.
But Newt Gingrich, one of Trump’s allies, said stats don’t matter as much as feelings “The average American does not think crimes is down; does not think they are safer,” Gingrich told CNN. “Liberals have a whole set of statistics that theoretically may be right, but that’s not where people are. People are frightened.”
But there are clear reasons why depicting America as a scary, impoverished place is good for Trump. (more…)