BLM Riots Dragged Democrats Down In 2020, Data Shows — But Peaceful Protests Helped Them

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Last summer’s widespread Black Lives Matter demonstrations were a double-edged sword for Democrats in the 2020 election.

The Black Lives Matter saw a surge in public support following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, but some of the protests that occurred when activists took to the streets turned violent. The relatively-isolated incidents caused billions of dollars in damage, resulted in at least 20 deaths and seemingly hurt Democrats electorally.

A new statistical analysis by The Economist compared President Joe Biden’s vote share in precincts surrounding Kenosha, Wisconsin, to what they should have been based on his vote share in comparable precincts based on voting history, demographics and density.

Kenosha was the site of widespread rioting after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man armed with a knife who left the incident paralyzed. The rioting resulted in the fatal shooting of two individuals by Kyle Rittenhouse, a teen who has been charged with intentional homicide. (RELATED: Washington Post Forced To Correct Article, Tweet Describing Jacob Blake As ‘Unarmed’ Despite Evidence Showing He Had Knife)

The analysis found that Biden’s vote share in Kenosha was substantially lower than it should have been if all other factors were held constant.

Biden’s vote share outside a 30-mile radius of Kenosha was consistent with expectations, but it dwindled within the 30-mile circle as precincts got closer to the city. At the center, he underperformed expectations by 2.4 points. He underperformed in Kenosha County by a bigger margin than any other of the state’s 50 most populous counties.

The piece noted that areas associated with bigger, peaceful protests saw Biden overperform, citing a recent study from Yale and University College London.

Democrats drastically underperformed expectations in 2020, particularly in the House of Representatives. The effects of Black Lives Matter protests sparked intense debate between the moderate and progressive wings of the party, with the centrists arguing that slogans like “defund the police” cost the party seats.