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Will Donald Trump or Joe Biden be better for criminal justice? Show more Show less
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The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. As riots have blazed across the country in response to police brutality, the ways presidential candidates approach criminal justice are increasingly coming under scrutiny. Will Donald Trump or Joe Biden be better for criminal justice?

Joe Biden will be better for criminal justice Show more Show less

Biden will reform the police force and prioritise crime prevention. Trump has also failed to condemn police brutality and right-wing violence.
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Donald Trump is too silent on police brutality and right-wing violence

Trump is uncritical of police brutality and is lenient on right-wing violence and white supremacy. His tough-on-crime approach is selective and politically motivated.

The Argument

Donald Trump has failed to condemn white supremacists and is uncritical of the police even when they do wrong. Trump wants to increase police powers and when asked why black Americans are killed by police, he answered “so are white people”.[1] He has also compared acts of police brutality to golfers who “miss a 3-foot putt” and “choke”.[2] Trump also has consistently missed opportunities to condemn white supremacist supporters. In 2016, he did not condemn an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke[3] and in 2017 he said there were “very fine people on both sides” after violent clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.[4] Trump also defended Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of murdering two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Most recently, during an election debate, Trump told Proud Boys, a violent far-right all-male group, to “stand back and stand by”.[5] These examples not only reveal Trump's far-right sympathies, but they undermine his attempt to present himself as the candidate of law and order - he is critical of violence only when it is politically convenient. If Trump won a second term, his political opponents would have legitimate fears for their safety and capacity to see justice. Biden is much stronger in criticising far-right and police violence, and will protect all Americans.

Counter arguments

Trump said "I don't know who the Proud Boys are" and is focused on the left-wing violence across American cities organised by antifa. He has also called for far-right groups to "stand down", showing that he does take the threat of violence from the right seriously.[5] Biden has not been strong enough in condemning violence from the left, including from antifa. For more on this, see 'Joe Biden has not condemned the recent wave of riots strongly enough'. Political violence from all sides of the political spectrum should be condemned, and so Joe Biden will not be better than Donald Trump on criminal justice.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-black-americans-killed-police-so-are-white-people/
  2. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/01/trump-police-brutality-golfers-406802
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/30/trump-white-supremacy-extremist-rhetoric
  4. https://www.vox.com/2020-presidential-election/21418911/donald-trump-crime-criminal-justice-policy-record
  5. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2020-54359993

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 8 Oct 2020 at 13:17 UTC

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