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July 11, 2020, 1:45 a.m. EDT

Republicans seek to equate protesters with rioters and violent criminals — and link them all to Democrats

‘It’s not even subtle,’ says Democratic consultant. ‘We’re well beyond dog whistle.’

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By Associated Press

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Loeffler, facing a difficult reelection with rivals to her left and right, said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” this week that the defunding movement has “resulted in the death of a child.” She was referring to Secoriea Turner, 8, who was fatally shot near the site of recent protests in Atlanta. Police are seeking the shooter.

Loeffler, part owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, has also opposed the basketball league’s plan to incorporate Black Lives Matter messaging on uniforms and courts. In a letter to the league, she said the movement favors “the disruption of the nuclear family structure” and has “promoted violence and destruction.”

One of her Democratic opponents, Rev. Raphael Warnock, said Loeffler had surrendered to “the narrow impulses of tribalism and bigotry.”

Homicides and shootings routinely rise in spring and summer as days get longer and people spend more time outdoors, academics say. Other factors include gang violence, and this year’s spike could be fed by stress related to the virus, sky-high unemployment, stay-at-home orders and anger over police brutality.

Recent polling suggests Republicans have work to do to win over large swaths of the public.

About 3 in 4 people believe defund the police means revamping how police departments work, not erasing them, according to a Monmouth University Poll conducted last month. Six in 10 Americans say Trump’s handling of the protests worsened the situation.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey last month found major increases since 2015 in the number of white Americans who consider police violence a serious problem. Seven in 10 people back a complete reshaping or major changes to the criminal justice system, though only a quarter supports cutting law enforcement funding.

In the 2018 congressional elections, Trump vaulted immigration and supposedly dangerous “caravans” of Central Americans streaming toward the U.S. border a major GOP issue. Democrats focused on health care.

AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of American voters, showed large majorities bucked Trump and thought immigrants arriving illegally should have a chance for citizenship.

Democrats gained 40 House seats, capturing control of the chamber.

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