Here’s a piece from earlier in the week from Ron Brownstein writing in The Atlantic. It’s a lengthy piece, but despite the ominous tweet that promotes it, it’s mostly about red states versus blue cities, as well as Republican governors versus Democratic mayors, reaching all the way back to conflicts like North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” It also goes on at length about the states’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the difference between authoritarian Democratic governors like Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer (good) to Republican governors like Georgia’s Brian Kemp doing what he can to get the state moving again (bad).
But when it comes right down to the last sentence, Brownstein means what the tweet says:
If Trump wins a second term—especially if his victory relies on a rural surge to overcome opposition across the big metros—the chaos in Portland might look like the preliminary skirmish for an even more incendiary collision to come, @RonBrownstein writes. https://t.co/kgemxeWC2C
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 22, 2020
Of course, the idea that President Trump is deliberately trying to “portray blue cities as a threat” — by accurately citing the numbers of gun homicides and such — isn’t new. Trump is obviously trying to scare red-state voters into voting for a law and order president like himself — even CNN’s media hall monitor criticized Fox News’ Sean Hannity for opening his show with “scary video” from the streets of Portland, and even Fox News cut away from the White House press briefing when video from Portland was played for the White House press corps.
In deploying federal forces, Trump appears to be trying to provoke clashes with protesters, which he can use to convince white suburban voters that he’s the last line of defense between them and the chaos allegedly incubating in cities, Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor, told me. Referring to the street battle between construction workers and anti-war protesters in Manhattan in 1970, Emanuel said, “Trump is trying to create his own hard-hat riot, and they are wearing [law-enforcement] helmets.”
But what sort of closing line is this anyway: “And if Trump wins a second term—especially if that victory relies on another rural surge to overcome massive opposition across the big metros—the chaos in Portland might look like only the preliminary skirmish for an even more incendiary collision to come.” Hey — we covered the rioting in Portland after Hillary Clinton lost the election, so it’s not like we’d expect Democrats to accept the results of an election.
Translation: "Elect Biden or we burn America's cities to the ground! Love, Democrats." pic.twitter.com/Erq4I0gpN5
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) July 23, 2020
Soooo… you've just moved on to threats now?
— Ackchyually Joe (@jmotivator) July 25, 2020
So we should all vote for Biden so we don’t antagonize the violent among us? Is that what you’re really saying?
— Douglas Karr (@douglaskarr) July 24, 2020
Exactly. Forget Trump — aren’t the rioters in Portland putting weeks into the effort to burn down federal property to scare red-state voters into voting for Joe Biden so they’ll stop and everything will be peaceful?
Is this a threat to say if Trump wins, the metros won’t accept the results and will continue with their plan of burning their cities to the ground?
— Jlisa (@Jlisa42067) July 25, 2020
Be careful what you wish for. You wont like what you receive. #CivilWar
— Dante Alighieri (@DantesCantos) July 25, 2020
Trump isn’t “splitting the county in two”. He’s just doing what presidents before him have done.
Your inability to accept that others don’t always agree with you—and throwing a physical, toddler-style tantrum about it—is what’s “splitting the country in two”.
— Add your name (@corrcomm) July 25, 2020
His narrative is traveling around social media and corporate news media, trying to get some traction.
"Only if Trump loses will things improve"
Meanwhile they're the agitators.🤔
— NYINDEPENDENT🇺🇸 (@JONEEFRY) July 24, 2020
You mean some people wouldn’t accept the results of an election…again?
— Brian Cates //Flynn & Breitbart's Army! (@drawandstrike) July 24, 2020
Sounds like you along with the liberals and Democrats want to hold America hostage until you get your way.
— Text Trump to 88022 ✝️🇺🇸⭐⭐⭐ 🇺🇸 (@K1erry) July 25, 2020
That's exactly what's up here. We're up to the challenge
— KC Frew (@KnoxvilleKC) July 25, 2020
In other words if the left loses the election not only will they not accept the results, they’ll engage in violence to overturn the election.
We know… they’ve been doing this since 2016. This isn’t news.
— Michael (@TexAgg04) July 24, 2020
They were carrying signs that said "Become Ungovernable" the night he won the first election. 🙄
Just *imagine* thinking it is Trump that is driving this division. 🤦♂️
— Stephen Mason (@Steveohmygoodne) July 24, 2020
This approach didn't work out well for Democrats the last time they tried it, and despite over 150 years passing between, it will not work out well for them this time around if they try it.
— Aaron Lockhart 🇺🇸 (@arabbitorduck) July 24, 2020
I mean, do they think they pose a credible threat to those rural voters? A bunch of anarchists in the cities won't do any harm to rural voters. Why make threats you obviously can't follow through on?
— Jclearfield (@Jclearfield2) July 23, 2020
Threats of terrorism will only strengthen our resolve to vote #Trump2020
— Kassie🕊 (@KassandraKitson) July 24, 2020
— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) July 24, 2020
Sounds vaguely threatening.
When the Italians did it, it was labeled organized crime.
— Archer the Perpetually Defiant (@ArcherMint) July 24, 2020
The language of the shakedown artist through the ages.
— Hazen McDonald (@hazen_j) July 22, 2020
The Atlantic is saying that if they don’t get their way against the constitution of the United States they will revel in the burning down of American cities, institutions and property and the continued loss of lives in rioting. Nice.
— philw1776🚀🏈 (@philw1776) July 24, 2020
This needs a new hashtag. I propose #BurnHarder.
— Larry Gates (@AggieLarry) July 25, 2020
Thanks for the heads up @TheAtlantic, rural America will be sure to buy more guns, ammunition and toilet paper. Plus we’ll be sure to let the violent mobs of “protestors” know that it was the liberal media that gave us the heads up. I’m sure they will appreciate it. 😉
— Barry J Collins (@BJCollins131) July 24, 2020
It would take only a few "incendiary collisions" with normal people to end these shirmishes.
— Mark O. Van Wagoner (@VanWagoner) July 24, 2020
Wait, there's chaos in Portland? I thought that was a fictional creation of the right-wing media.
— Small Metal Owl (@SmallMetalOwl) July 24, 2020
Is this article in @TheAtlantic an example of good, ethical, constructive journalism?
— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) July 23, 2020
You're encouraging violence if he wins the election?
— Made In America – Dogs in Hats 🇺🇸 ⭐⭐⭐ (@Sheryl_in_NH) July 24, 2020
No, Brownstein’s just warning of the inevitable violence that will occur because Trump has so divided the country with his attack on Democrat-run cities. It’s Trump’s fault.
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) July 24, 2020