Trump Supports Protesters Because they Represent Many of the "Deplorable" Elements of His Base
Donald Trump helped to instigate demonstrations against state-wide stay-at-home orders with his dangerously childish "liberate Michigan" tweets several weeks ago, and he doubled down on Friday when he tweeted his support for Michigan protesters as "very good people," echoing his description of the “very fine people” who gathered at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017.
His support for the folks that have gathered at these demonstrations shouldn't surprise anyone; they represent the Trumpist base in all its "deplorable" glory. Make no mistake about it, these are essentially "Trump 2020" rallies, organized by groups that support the President and his reelection.
Vox: "For some on the right, the plan seems simple: vilify Democratic governors and agitate for the end of shutdown orders. Then “reopen the economy” and spur a massive turnaround in the nation’s economic prospects just in time for Trump to be reelected in November. If the pandemic recedes, he can claim he was entirely responsible; but if people continue to die, he can place the blame on Democratic governors."
To be fair, not all of the people attending these rallies are there to support Trump [some are just frustrated small business owners], but much of the energy and organization is coming from right-wing groups whose agendas align with the President's and it's an ugly collection of conspiracy theorists and malcontents.
Washington Post: "In many cases the protests, which have been supported by conservative megadonors, have ties to a host of darker Internet subcultures — people who oppose vaccination, the self-identified Western-chauvinist Proud Boys group, anti-government conspiracy theorists known as QAnon, and people touting a coming civil war."
"These groups see the coronavirus crisis as a vehicle to spread their beliefs, said Devin Burghart, president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a nonprofit group that monitors far-right activity and has been tallying the protests."...
The most worrisome of these groups are the anti-vaxxers like the Freedom Angels Foundation, a California-based organization that opposed the state's efforts to mandate vaccinations and is now organizing protests against stay-at-home restrictions. Concern about the involvement of such groups stems from their probable opposition to a Covid-19 vaccination program.
New York Times: "Activists known for their opposition to vaccines have also been involved in protests in New York, Colorado and Texas, where they have found a welcome audience for their arguments for personal freedom and their suspicion of government. But their growing presence at the protests worries public health experts who fear that their messaging could harm the United States’ ability to turn a corner following the pandemic if Americans do not accept a future vaccine." ...
... "Dr. Limaye, the scientist, said she and her colleagues who encourage families to vaccinate children have found the presence of vaccination skeptics at protests “terrifying,” not only because it could encourage families to forgo traditional shots but because it could spell disaster for any future coronavirus vaccine. If the eventual vaccine requires a high level of vaccinations to establish herd immunity, such as with measles, then getting the public to buy in is vital to eliminating the virus."
The anti-vaxxers are now finding common cause with pro gun militia groups, white nationalists and Qanon conspiracy theorists, using the rallies to press their message among America's anti-government fringe. These are the elements of Trump's base that few would call "very good people."
By: Don Lam & Curated Content