HeyDonald Trump’s companions often describe him as a “political genius” who has a cunning understanding of the concerns and fears of American society, and is capable of creating and using crises in his favor. The current deadlock in Portland shows, however, that this is not the case. While his alleged fight against Antifa will satisfy some of his far-flung supporters, it is increasingly a risk to isolate so-called “liberal” Republicans – mostly used to describe pocketbook Republican voters – who previously Kovid-19 handling and the economic collapse of the epidemic.
An almost neglected aspect of the ongoing Kovid-19 epidemic is that Trump used it through his authoritarian agenda to increase executive powers, weaken the powers of other entities like Congress, and ban demonstrations to reduce dissent Failed Nearly all other countries applied a more repressive approach to Kovid-19, which is governed by progressive parties (eg Spain), while most far-flung governments used it through Drakanian repressive measures (eg Hungary and India) had to have.
Of course, the explanation is that Trump initially denied and ignored the Kovid-19 threats, arguing that “it’s going to work fine” and that “hot weather” would take care of it. This made it difficult for him to change his later authoritarian outlook. Difficult, but certainly not impossible. But clearly Trump never wanted to. Instead, he continued to insist on an economic approach to re-election, representing himself as the savior of the American economy, and aggressively to “reopen America”.
A second chance to move through an authoritarian agenda came in opposition to Black Spring Lives Matter, the police murders of Ahmed Erbe, George Floyd and Bryo Taylor this spring. As expected of Trump’s response, the broader Republican electoral college was playing about the racial fears and chaos. In the 15 days between Floyd’s murder and the funeral, Trump tweeted 195 times about unrest, law enforcement and the threat of military use.
But instead of prioritizing the race card, his natural reaction, Trump quickly redefined the Black Lives Matter protest as an antifa protest. This redistribution was consistent with two long-term processes within the Trump camp. First, Trump actually believes he has a shot at increasing support among African Americans. For example, he is long Claim His administration “has done more for the black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln.” (Needless to say this is not true.)
Second, Antifa has become a popular bogeyman within the broader conservative movement, at least in the early days of the Trump presidency, like Milo Yiannopoulos (at least) Darling’s pre-emptive seizures. The shift between far-flung and antifa activists, sparked proportionally by the mainstream media, gladly joined the right-wing propaganda, and antifa became one of the President’s favorite shows on Fox News.
Trump’s obsession with Antifa grew. He also spread conspiracy theories about Antifa, like his new favorite television channel, One America News Network (OANN), as well as far-flung social media accounts. he even Tweeted His intention to designate “ANTIFA” as a terrorist organization is almost certainly Unconstitutional Let’s go.
Strengthened by the information from his right bubble, Portland’s opposition would have seen him as a golden opportunity. Portland has long been one of the main symbols of leftist politics in America – it is viewed positively by progressivists, albeit with slightly funny programs like Portlandia, and negatively by the right wing.
But the problem is that the Portland protests only play into one of Trump’s ideological strongholds: totalitarianism. Given that Portland is the largest white city in America, the majority of protesters are white, which is largely irrelevant to its greatest asset, racism. Likewise, populism is largely unscathed, as some would believe that “elites” live in contrast to, or deeply in, Portland – for example, New York.
Portland is a bad choice not only because it has limited appeal for the broader Republican electorate. It can also seriously backfire. Small, and even police brutality against bigotry, groups of protesters may find widespread support for protesters.
For example, it took place in 2013–14 in the protests of Euromadan in Ukraine, and now in Portland. As Trump’s “little green men” are raising peaceful protesters on the streets, without adequate identification and in unmarked cars, moving away from the perceived violence by Antifa posing a threat to American democracy posed by the Trump administration.
The contrasts are rescheduled with the diversification of protests. Now the protesters are not just young, white “anarchists” who can count on some special sympathies outside of small progressive circles; Now veterans of America’s conservative society are also represented: mothers and veterans. And they are arrested, beaten and shed tears.
In an America as deeply militarized and patriarchal society, the vet and mother are powerful symbols of the existing system. Seeing them protesting against the government, and especially a suspicious and unnecessarily violent paramilitary unit, is a publicity problem for the Trump administration. These are the salt of the Republican electorate, who will not believe that these groups are wrong. In addition, many Republicans have much less tolerance for inconsistent suppression for white mothers and vepro than they sadly would toward African Americans and white leftist youth.
In short, Trump’s decision to “unify” in Portland was a poor one. Ignoring better opportunities such as the Kovid-19 and Black Lives Matter protests, he is caught in a confrontation that excites only a portion of his base and worries broader Republican voters. And the public image of Portland’s defender more and more reflects some of American society’s veterans, and therefore Republican voters, Trump may be increasingly fighting himself.
The fact that the federal police are now being withdrawn from Portland shows that Trump has also realized his mistake.
Cass Wade, Stanley Wade Shelton is UGAF Professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia, author of The Far Right Today (2019), and host of the new podcast Radical