Economist Paul Krugman: Trump’s ‘claims of urban anarchy’ in US cities are ‘almost entirely fantasy’ — but his supporters might believe them anyway

Economist Paul Krugman: Trump’s ‘claims of urban anarchy’ in US cities are ‘almost entirely fantasy’ — but his supporters might believe them anyway
Image via CNN Screengrab.

Although the vast majority of George Floyd demonstrators in the United States have been peaceful, President Donald Trump and his enablers at Fox News have been claiming that U.S. cities have been totally taken over by mobs of violent anarchists. Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman examines Trump’s hysterical claims in a Twitter thread posted this week, wondering if those claims — as disingenuous as they are — might benefit him politically in the 2020 election.

Krugman opens his thread by mocking Trump and tweeting, “I went for a belated NYC run this morning, and am sorry to report that I saw very few black-clad anarchists. Also, the city is not yet in flames.”

The Times columnist adds, “The political question of the day is whether Trump can win politically by hammering on a nonexistent crisis of order in America’s cities. You would think not, but I’m not 100% confident.”

Many Americans, Krugman notes, “live in bubbles” — and that includes Trump supporters who live in rural areas and never set foot in the large urban centers that Trump describes as being in a state of nonstop anarchy.

“After 2016,” Krugman tweets, “there was endless reporting on how urban types don’t understand the lives of guys in diners. But there’s equal, if not greater, absence of comprehension going the other way. I haven’t seen systematic polling about how rural and even some suburban Americans view life in big metropolitan areas. But my guess is that you’d find some remarkable misconceptions.”Krugman cites one of the most laughable comments he received from a defender of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“My favorite letter of all time was from a supporter of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who insisted that us urban northeasterners just didn’t get what life was like for people like him,” Krugman writes. “’How would you feel if New York was full of immigrants?’”

NYC, of course, is famous for immigration. But that Arpaio defender really did believe that New Yorkers, unlike Arizona residents, are inexperienced where immigrants are concerned.

Krugman wraps up his thread by stressing that if unrest occurs in a city, it doesn’t mean that the entire city is going up in flames.

“Even some well-educated people I know believe that the brief episode of looting in the early stages of the NYC BLM protests left much of Manhattan a wreck,” Krugman explains. “How many people think Portland 2020 is Newark 1967? Anyway, important to realize that claims of urban anarchy are almost entirely fantasy.”

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