The Center Held

Westfield, NJ June 2020

So far the alliance between blacks and upper-middle-class suburban professionals that Joe Biden is counting on to win the election seems to have weathered the first round of social unrest. Trump’s approval numbers are approaching those of late second term Chris Christie. Just about the only thing the Republicans have left in their arsenal is voter suppression. I’m not looking forward to this Fall when “conservatives” suddenly realize how much they love “social distancing” (how useful it is to keep people away from the polls) after all, and Trump starts making appearances at press conferences with an American flag mask.

4 thoughts on “The Center Held”

  1. I like the way you pull ‘social distancing’ inside out. This changes the board layout. Serious, self-inflicted damage on/by Trump. Trump loses the initiative. Republicans, conservatives, the right – are cowed into silence. Nobody wants to provoke the hurricane strength force that might be heading your way if you say something deemed offensive.

    There’s vacuum forces conspiring here. Trump loses steam. But Biden still lags. The protests are pure grass roots. Nobody has yet built ongoing organizations of those who turned out. But they will and aim to properly organize an ongoing group. As sure as god made little green apples. Atsafaxjack!

    And the Democrats are not in control. There’s no leadership to infiltrate or bribe. They don’t like it when a big force goes feral. But they have to roll with this. They’re bailing out at the Defund the Cops point.

    If the protests fade out [as expected] with no further outrages of any sort. Then, the insurgents can Declare Victory! and get about will a big wave of organizing. Being loose cannons. All rev’d up for the next round. Rather proud of themselves.

    And some of these groups are apt to have some very critical things to say about the Democrats. To whom they are not beholden.

    It about momentum and staying power. Volatile, fragile. This is the pattern to observe. It’s been done before. Studies. A system under pressure of force in play. In your face. An event, incident is squeezed into life, leveraged into a force to play. This system vulnerable to the last straw.

    The only thing that is dead certain is that Something Will Happen. Repeat, rinsh, wash, dry, re-cycle.

    1. The initial protest in Minneapolis was purely grass roots and very radical. I mean they burned down a police station. But the current round of protests in suburban New Jersey seems designed to smother anything meaningful. Most of them aren’t billed as “Anti-Racism Protests” or “Anti-Police-Brutality Protests” but as “Peaceful Protests.” Are they protesting for “peaceful.” I doubt they’re centrally organized but they do seem to be a centrist, upper-middle-class suburban ritual to smother the original radical impulse in apolitical pep rallies. This of course will help the Democrats at the expense of Trump, but I doubt it’s going to change very much. I don’t think that the same people in my upper-middle-class suburb who only last year were organizing against “wink wink” low income housing suddenly had a real change of heart when they put up Black Lives Matter signs. So much of it is empty virtue signaling by people who want the status quo.

    2. I will say this though. Being a right wing bully and a super patriot was normalized after 9/11. It got worse after the astroturfed Tea Party reaction to Obama. The current round of protests might actually bring us back the pre-9/11 world where polite suburban centrists didn’t enable people who put crap like “9/11 Terrorist Hunting Permit” on the back windows of their Ford F150 or “Land of the Free Because of the Brave” bumper stickers on their cars. I’m old enough to remember the world before George W. Bush and it would be nice to have it back, to go back to the days when everybody hated the military and the police(or at least didn’t treat them with cult like reverence) and thought smoking pot was cool. I’d be grateful to live in a world where “support the troops” means “support nurses and social workers.”

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