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Why Kenosha riots could matter in November

Salena Zito on

Of all the riots that have gone unchecked in the country this summer, the one in Kenosha, Wisconsin, might matter most with regard to the November presidential election.

The vivid imagery in the days following the police shooting of Jacob Blake shows a town in devastation. Rioters blocked traffic. And they stole gasoline from a nearby gas station to start fires that took out numerous small businesses, car lots, an apartment building and a Family Dollar store.

Other businesses that were not burned down nonetheless were looted and had their windows and doors smashed.

It is a war zone, and no one wants to live in a war zone. No one wants their children and grandchildren to live in a war zone. No one wants to own and run a business in a war zone.

Consequently, no candidate running for president should be silent about it. Because in moments like this, people want safety, security and to know elected officials have their back.

The potential electoral consequences are not just due to the fact that riots, destruction and lawlessness are happening in a swing state. It is because Kenosha is the Everyman of America's midsized cities.

 

People have known for decades the city officials in Portland and Seattle have looked the other way when anarchists rage. No matter where a person lives in this country, when people see Kenosha, they see their hometown, their suburb, their schools, their Middle America, and they say, "By the grace of God, there goes the country."

They are looking to see who is rising to the occasion.

Wisconsin Rep. Bryan Steil was on-site immediately. The Republican, who represents Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District, which includes Kenosha, said the question he has heard from people on the scene in the aftermath of the wholesale destruction of the business district is: Who is going to step up?

"Just broadly speaking, people want to see public safety restored to the city of Kenosha," Steil said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. "I don't think they care if a Republican does it, a Democrat does it, if the man on the moon does it. They just want to see it done. They want to see leadership."

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