Over the last few weeks, a number of Republican presidential candidates have begun to criticize President Obama and the Black Lives Matter protest movement, saying they are encouraging crime. Although there’s little evidence of a crime wave outside of a few major cities where homicides have increased, the political rationale seems obvious: The candidates are playing to the G.O.P. base, a normal part of the primary season.
Another possibility, though, is that Republicans are also still searching for the best angle of attack against Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democrats, who remain narrow betting market favorites in 2016. Despite recent economic turbulence, the Democrats’ main advantage at this point is a generally positive economic outlook for next year, which requires Republicans to look for other issues they can wield against the incumbent party.