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The Ferguson Effect gets the Trump treatment.

In Thursday night’s Republican debate, the Donald claimed that “police are the most mistreated people in our country.” This might sound like another bit of hyperbole from an outlandish showman who has built his campaign on such, but once again, Trump has just made explicit the subtext of an argument that has already taken on prominence in our politics. 

The slanderous notion that renewed calls for police accountability has intimidated local law enforcement and caused an imaginary spike in crime across the country is a mainstream talking point for opposition to racial justice advocacy. You’ve heard it from such respectable figures as FBI Director James Comey and from DEA Director Chuck Rosenberg, as well as from Route 9 traffic cone Chris Christie and other figures cynical enough to channel racial backlash toward narrow political gain. As long as they’re willing to adopt the more moderate position--in this case that scrutiny over police is harmful--there will always be room for someone less scrupulous to swoop in and trump them, whether it’s Trump himself or not.