Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Federal police disperse a crowd of about a thousand protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 20, 2020 in Portland, Ore. The federal police response to the ongoing protests against racial inequality has been criticized by city and state elected officials. (Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Federal police disperse a crowd of about a thousand protesters at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 20, 2020 in Portland, Ore. The federal police response to the ongoing protests against racial inequality has been criticized by city and state elected officials. (Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Will Trump’s Secret Police Succeed in Provoking Riots in Your City?

Portland is a test... but only a test.

Thom Hartmann

The Republican Trump administration has gone full authoritarian. Portland is a test, but only a test.

Donald Trump signaled his election strategy a few days ago when he talked about ending legislation passed back in the 1960s to support fair housing that he said had sent "people" out into "the suburbs."
"This is what authoritarians do. To seize political power, they don't bring us together—they tear us apart."
 
Essentially, what he was saying was, "White people in the suburbs, I'm doing what I can to keep your neighborhood white. You have to be very afraid of those Black and Hispanic people that Democrats say should be able to live anywhere in the country."
 
Portland is overwhelmingly a majority white city, so he figured he could test out his Secret Police/Storm Trooper strategy here without anybody much noticing, as the action would not be so racialized.
 
But now he's taking it to Chicago, a city with a more diverse population, and if he's successful he'll provoke a made-for-television appearance with white storm troopers battling Black residents.
 
That would be exactly the visual the Trump campaign is hoping for.
 
The most recent polls show that white people, particularly suburban white people, still support Trump: he's trying to get them cranked up enough that every single last one of them will come out to vote for him.
 
In this regard, Trump appears to be following Richard Nixon's 1968 "Southern Strategy," perhaps even on the advice of former Nixon advisor Roger Stone. Provoke violence, make cities burn, and then promise to keep white people safe with "law and order."
 
This is what authoritarians do. To seize political power, they don't bring us together—they tear us apart.
 
And now, in anticipation of the election in a few months, the Trump administration is trying to make it harder to vote by mail, trying to explode the pandemic by forcing people back into the schools while fighting against funding for testing, all at the same time they're sending out their secret police to provoke violence in our cities.
 
Trump's Storm Troopers are coming to a city near you, and history shows that the most effective response will be non-violent. Here in Portland it was 300 moms, a middle-aged Navy veteran, and a stripper.
 
Get ready.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

As Progressives Call for End to Blockade, Biden Announces More Sanctions Against Cuba

The move comes after Democratic leadership in the House blocked an amendment to roll back limits on how much money people in the United States can send to family on the island nation.

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Issue Dire Warning as House Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Dies

"If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities, needlessly contributing to more death and destruction."

Brett Wilkins ·


Citing Donziger Case, Dems Raise Alarm About Use of Private Prosecutors in Federal Court

Private prosecutions of criminal contempt charges, said a pair of senators, "are highly unusual and can raise concerning questions of fundamental fairness in our criminal justice system."

Jessica Corbett ·


'About Damn Time': DOJ Says Treasury Department Must Give Trump's Tax Returns to Congress

"This case is now bigger even than Donald Trump's crimes. Neither the courts, nor the machinery of our government, exist to bodyguard a corrupt private citizen from transparency."

Jake Johnson ·


'Just Say That the Election Was Corrupt,' Trump Told DOJ in December

"It was a failed coup. Call it what it was. It didn't work! But they sure as hell tried."

Kenny Stancil ·