Democratic mayors and governors have warned President Donald Trump not to intervene in local protest disturbances. The president now seems to agree. At his rally in Tulsa on Saturday night, Trump said of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone in Seattle, “it’s probably better for us to just watch that disaster.” After all, the urban chaos frequently pits liberal officials against the radical progressives in their midst.
Most of the major cities seeing civil disturbances – such as Minneapolis, Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle – have long been run by liberal Democrats. Despite allegations of institutionalized police racism, the composition of the departments often closely tracks the demographic characteristics of their cities. For example, Atlanta has a 58% majority Black police in a 52% African American city.
Police chiefs in these major cities are frequently minorities and or women. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, for example, is an African American woman running a mostly white force in a predominantly white town. It’s hard to see how this could happen if systemic racism is so pervasive.
“Defund the Police” is a rallying cry for the protest movement, but the idea is highly unpopular; an ABC News poll showed 64% of Americans oppose it. Liberals rushed to explain that protesters do not literally want to defund police, and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden even proposed raising federal law enforcement outlays by $300 million.
But progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., pushed back, warning Democrats not to “repackage” the anti-police message to calm the nerves of “white suburban ‘swing’ voters.” And activist Mariame Kaba reinforced the point in a New York Times opinion piece headlined, “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.”
In Washington, D.C., African American Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered “Black Lives Matter” painted on 16th Street leading to the White House, to great praise from pundits. But the Black Lives Matter D.C. chapter dismissed it as a “performative distraction” to “appease white liberals while ignoring our demands.” They have a point. Bowser’s new city budget augments rather than defunds police budgets.
Meanwhile, traditionally African American neighborhoods are being redeveloped or bulldozed, displacing generations of D.C. residents and the unique culture of what was once affectionately called Chocolate City. Invariably the people moving in are young white liberals. This trend reached a symbolic nadir last year when an insolent white newcomer suggested that if Black students at the revered historic Howard University did not like outsiders walking their dogs across campus then Howard should move elsewhere.
Sometimes karma comes knocking for liberals. ESPN sportswriter Chris Martin Palmer tweeted, “Burn it all down” when mobs torched Minneapolis buildings. But when a similar mob showed up in front of his building after destroying a local Starbucks, he tweeted “Get these animals TF out of my neighborhood.” Olympia (Wash.) Mayor Cheryl Selby was on board for the movement, until rioters clad in black garb targeted her home, at which point she griped about “domestic terrorism.” Hollywood liberals obsequiously voice their support for the Black Lives Matter cause, though Beverly Hills banned protests after 9 p.m.
Mainstream liberal historians scoffed when Trump predicted that anti-Confederate protests would ultimately escalate to pulling down statues of founding fathers, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Yet, here we are. Protesters have vandalized Washington and Jefferson statues, as well as monuments to Ulysses S. Grant, the literal opposite of a Confederate, abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier and Mahatma Gandhi.
Trump’s critics should have taken the radical threats as seriously as he did.
Seattle’s CHOP is the epitome of the current radical trend. Mayor Jenny Durkan likened CHOP to a “block party” that could become a “summer of love,” while the AP depicted a grumpy Trump “fuming” over the creation of this “festive zone.” But CHOP, a graffiti-marred, cop-free commune of funky free spirits patrolled by armed socialist militias, is precisely the vision of future America that plays to Trump’s “law and order” message.
Mayor Durkan is a real-life stereotype of the accommodating liberal who allows progressives to run rampant at the expense of intimidated residents who just want life to return to normal.
The progressives pushing the Democratic Party further to the left are clarifying what is at stake in the 2020 election.
Why should Trump send in the troops when the radicals are working so hard to re-elect him?
James S. Robbins, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, has taught at the National Defense University and the Marine Corps University .