Let me preface this by saying that this is a conspiracy theory. I am not privy to any insider information, I’m not a rogue White House staffer, and I’m not a Bannon stooge. I am, however, a marginally intelligent person with a basic understanding of politics, history, and institutionalized manipulation and, with that in mind, I present to you a simple kernel of a thought for you to ponder: do not protest at Trump’s public appearances. Now, with that preface out of the way, I’ll elaborate.
In the first month of the Donald Trump presidency, we have witnessed unprecedented levels of scandal and turmoil. In this past week, the National Security Adviser made history as the shortest tenured senior staff member in American history after resigning due to his cover up of Russian correspondence. We have also been witness to several regressive executive orders and one of the strangest, if not horrifying, news conferences to ever emerge from a democratic civilization.
Donald Trump needs a distraction.
The core of Trump supporters, a dwindling group if the majority of polls are to be believed, have remained relatively quiet over the past month while millions of Trump critics have taken to the streets, flooded town hall meetings, and inundated lawmakers with phone calls, post cards, and emails. The tide is not moving in a direction that Trump can navigate.
Amid the chaos of this past week, it was announced that Trump would be speaking at a rally, organized by his campaign, in Florida on Saturday. In case you powered through that sentence without really reading it, 28 days into his first term, Donald J. Trump has a campaign rally for, presumably, 2020. This seems strange, right?
No. Not really. Think about it. Donald Trump loves to be surrounded by his supporters. He knows they will come out in droves (there’s a reason the rally isn’t in New York or California) and he knows he’ll receive great ovations by blasting the media and belittling protesters and that the “crooked media” will hang on every word he says like sycophantic puppies.
But what if there are no protesters?
So what, then, will Donald Trump do if there is no dissent at his rally? What if he rolls in to this airport hangar and everyone is there wearing their red baseball hats and waving American flags and cheering for every truth-free diatribe he spouts off from the podium? What will he do?
It is not folly to believe that the Trump administration is planning to install their own plants into any organic protest at this or any future events. Even in a large scale and peaceful protest, it would take no more than five or six people to devolve the gathering into a riotous disaster and a riot is exactly what Trump needs to shift the focus on the topic of protest to the protesters themselves. We’ve seen him do it this week by saying that the leaks were true but they were illegal so we’re not going to talk about the content of the leaks. It’s Orewellian double speak at its finest
But that type of “look over there” tactic is only a short term fix and if Trump wants to command the power and control he believes he deserves, he needs a drastic measure. Think back to 9/11/2001 and the haste and chaos that led to the Patriot Act, an act of monumental constitutional over reach. That act was born out of true crisis and by the hand of a president with, I believe, good intentions. Donald Trump is waiting for an event that will allow him to silence the media, punish dissenters, and restore his idea of “law and order” to the country.
29 days into Hitler’s tenure as Chancellor of Germany (I know, another liberal Hitler comparison, but stay with me), the German parliament (Reichstag) building was burned to the ground. There is some debate over whether this arson was actually committed by the man tried and executed for the crime or by the Nazis but, regardless, Hitler seized the opportunity to convince the president to suspend all civil liberties in an emergency decree. Once those liberties were suspended, members of the German communist party were gathered up and arrested, including those with current seats in parliament, and the Nazi party was able to assume control over the government.
The Reichstag fire was a turning point in Nazi control and Hitler’s eventual ascending to supreme power. Is Trump hoping to become an evil dictator? Maybe but probably not. With the way America’s government is set up, it would take a massive conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen to actually overthrow the government and seeing as how Trump can’t even call Australia without everyone knowing what a petulant child he is, it’s doubtful anyone in government is smart enough to pull it off.
But, and this is where things get scary, he does want to control the narrative and shut a lot of people up.
So what’s his plan?
30 days into Trump’s tenure as president, he is hosting a large rally which was, evidently, planned amidst the chaos of a disastrous week. Like I said, this isn’t a hypothesis as much as it is a cautionary tale. But here are some scenarios that I could envision happening out of one of these “campaign” events.
- Peaceful protesters are infiltrated by administration supported agitators to incite a riot.
- Trump spends the following weeks turning protesters into “the enemy”.
- Massive suppression orders are executed, in the name of national safety, to limit protest size, halt permit issuance, or surveil suspected “domestic terrorists” associated with the protest.
- Lawsuits are filed and, with his new Attorney General in place, will provide a distracting backdrop while he continues working unchecked by the media and the public.
- The event is cancelled under the guise of a supposed terror threat or a threat to the president’s personal safety.
- Trump, now the target of an attack, personalizes his war on “radical Islamic terrorists” and energizes his base.
- Aggressive law enforcement tactics are implemented to root out the scourge of religious based terrorism in our cities.
- Curfews or martial law is declared in specific targeted cities deemed “high risk” for a future attack.
Of course, this is all ridiculous. Right? Trump or, more importantly, Bannon have never indicated that they would lie, cheat, misinform, or provide alternative facts in order to achieve their end goal. Right?
Get to your point you tin-foil weirdo
Here’s the ultimate point. We can’t predict what is going to happen at these events. The administration is planning on these types of events attracting protesters and in the wake of an objectively horrible series of events, it should be of concern to people that these events are still taking place.
Trump isn’t going to overthrow the government and he’s not going to tear up the constitution but anyone with a basic understanding of history knows that laws, no matter how sacred, can be warped and twisted in times of crisis and sometimes, when there is no smoke, you have to light a fire.
If you’re going to protest, protest somewhere else. Don’t go to his event, go to some other city on some other day. If you sense the mood shifting towards riot mentality, alert the police. Don’t stop letting your voice be heard but don’t let the dissenting voices become “voices of the enemy”.
If you live in Florida, stay home on Saturday. Write your protests online (you can use the forums on this site). Start a protest hashtag during his rally. Don’t let that uneasy question in your head, the question of “why would he do a rally when he knows he’ll get swarmed by protesters” slip out of your mind. There’s a reason he’s doing this rally and there will be others and if you’re a part of the resistance to this administration, you will play right into his plans if you show up to these events.