Trump's cynical plan to provoke chaos in America's cities is working
2 months ago
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Portland protests reached their 60th straight night. Demonstrators shot fireworks at the federal courthouse and threw rocks and cans.
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President Trump's cynical plan to provoke urban chaos is working
The nationwide protest movement inspired by the murder of George Floyd has entered an unhappy cycle. When protests subsided in many cities — and the slower work of legislation and police reform began in some of them — protests continued in Portland.
Largely but not entirely peaceful, these protests gave President Trump an idea for his reelection campaign. He dispatched masked, unidentified paramilitaries from DHS to crack down on the demonstrators. This served to accelerate the Portland protests, which got larger and hotter and induced more violence from the feds. It also caused the protests to jump to other cities.
Now places like Seattle and Oakland are experiencing chaotic, intense gatherings, which in turn has led to more violence and tragedy. Seattle police have made tons of arrests and pepper-sprayed demonstrators. In Austin, Garrett Foster was shot and killed in an encounter with someone who was driving toward a crowd of demonstrators.
In short, the federal intervention has infuriated protestors, which caused more tumultuous demonstrations against the feds, which provoked an even more aggressive law enforcement response. The cycle of mutually reinforcing havoc doesn't help anyone, except perhaps President Trump.
June's vast, peaceful protests brought unprecedented attention to systemic racism and police reform ideas, and were viewed very sympathetically by the public. The current wave of protests feels much more inchoate, and is much less likely to gain public approval.
The arson, vandalism, and mayhem caused by demonstrators is overshadowing and distracting from the message of the BLM movement.
President Trump has succeeded in manufacturing the urban chaos he so obviously craves. If demonstrators want to end his presidency and his policies — which they surely do — they need to keep the protests as peaceful as possible, and to work even harder to discourage the mischief-makers and anarchists. — DP
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