Joe Biden
Joe Biden
PIC: AFP

President Donald Trump is painting a dystopian portrait of what Joe Biden's America might look like, asserting crime and chaos would ravage communities should the former vice president win the White House in November.

Left unsaid: A recent surge in violent crime in several American cities has happened on his watch.

"Irony is way down the list of things that President Trump worries about," said Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York College at Cortland whose research focuses on gun politics and the American presidency. "He's turning to the old playbook - appeal to the fears of Americans and then associate those fears with the Democratic Party, specifically Joe Biden." With echoes of Richard Nixon's law-and-order campaign in 1968, Trump is trying to energise his conservative base while also making an appeal to a small patch of undecided voters by posing the question: Which man will keep you safer? By leaning hard on select scenes of violence, Trump is banking on that unrest continuing. But the protests could wane. Violent crime around the US has been on a downward trajectory for the better part of the last three decades.

Lanae Erickson, a senior vice president for social policy and politics at the centre-left think tank Third Way, said Trump's attempt to use the Nixon playbook and tap into anxieties about crime is odd given that, unlike Nixon in 1968, Trump is already in the White House.

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