CHOP occupation puts Seattle in crosshairs of Trump and the political right
The politicians and news outlets of America's political right, from corners of the country far and near, are using the Capitol Hill occupation to put liberal Seattle in the crosshairs, especially after Friday night shootings that left one man dead and another injured in the occupation zone.
The occupation has dovetailed with a Trump administration political strategy, which has been to spotlight 凯发k8地址homelessness, rioting and looting in "Democrat-run cities" to scare the president's political base of older and more rural voters, and denounce news media that does not follow the administration's narrative.
"I feel for the people of #Seattle whose leaders invite anarchy but #chazseattle isn't a national crisis," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida recently tweeted. "They say #chaz is a peaceful street fare (sic) ... controlled by people who will kill federal agents if they come in." CHAZ" has now become CHOP, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest.
Of course, President Trump has weighed in, verbally and nonstop on Twitter. "Does anyone notice how little the Radical Left takeover of Seattle has been discussed in the Fake News Media," Trump asked in a tweet. "The Mayor and Governor should be ashamed of themselves. Easily fixed."
Does anyone notice how little the Radical Left takeover of Seattle is being discussed in the Fake News Media. That is very much on purpose because they know how badly this weakness & ineptitude play politically. The Mayor & Governor should be ashamed of themselves. Easily fixed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2020
The president repeatedly threatens to intervene and restore order, but has shown no sign of actually doing so.
Also-ran 2019 Seattle City Council candidate Ari Hoffman has become a fixture of Fox News, at one point juxtaposing the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone with Mayor Jenny Durkan's closure of streets to allow recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The city is giving in to the protesters," said Hoffman. "They want certain streets closed and the mayor has been closing about 20 miles of streets all across the city."
Or, from right-wing Portland journalist Andy Ngo, who has migrated up from the Rose City, "hard for me to overstate the anarchy in the streets," contributing to the Fox/Trump narrative.
Conveying the Trump narrative, Fox News headlined a Monday segment: "Violence erupts in major American cities over the weekend," lumping together New York, Chicago and Seattle.
It's a familiar playbook. Even before Trump took office, Republicans under Gov, Scott Walker were demonizing Wisconsin's liberal capital city of Madison and the University of Wisconsin. Downstate Illinois conservatives have taken aim at Chicago for decades, as has Texas' political right in denouncing "liberal" Austin and the University of Texas.
Our state's Republican Party used to win statewide offices with such moderate Seattle politicians as Dan Evans, John Spellman, Lud Kramer and Slade Gorton. Ex-Seattle City Councilman John Miller represented part of the city in Congress, and predecessor Joe Pritchard served as Lieutenant Governor.
Well, that was then. The state GOP has not elected a governor since 1980, and some of its candidates in this year's horse race would flunk the urinalysis. It hasn't won a Senate race since Gorton was reelected in 1994. In 2018, it lost a U.S. House seat that had been in Republican hands for 38 years.
Not surprisingly, the Trump-aligned state GOP has treated the Capitol Hill occupation as manna from heaven, better than the Lenin statue in Fremont that it used in TV spots in a (losing) 2017 fight for control of the State Senate.
"Another shooting at #CHOP and silence from Governr Inslee," tweeted state Republican Chairman Caleb Heimlich after this weekend's mayhem. He followed up: "Where is @Gov. Inslee? We are now closing freeways every night to accommodate protesters."
Another shooting in #CHOP and silence from @GovInslee. https://t.co/AlQpcyqyVO— Caleb Heimlich (@CalebHeimlich) June 22, 2020
Former Republican Congressman (and sheriff) Dave Reichert, who toyed for years about running for governor, has weighed in. "What's happening in Seattle today is unlike anything I have seen in decades. Elected officials have abandoned the rule of law and their oath to protect our communities."
Of course, the truth has been stretched to make the case. Fox was caught — kudos to Seattle Times — with photoshopping and using fire pictures from Minneapolis in a story about Seattle. The CHOP zone has become "downtown Seattle" in words of Fox News host Tucker Carlson. A peaceful demonstration by 60,000 people has been ignored by right-wing media.
Others are using CHOP to revive after recent losses. The Seattle Police Officers Guild tried to stop I-940 — reforming state laws on police violence — and lost. SPOG has just been tossed out of the MLKing County Labor Council. No wonder, then, that SPOG President Mike Solan has migrated onto Fox News to warn of a "summer of chaos."
The Emerald City is being used by desperate people out to divide America and divide Seattle. Of course, certain folk on the far left, e.g. militant Marxist Seattle City Council member Kashama Sawant, are of a similar goal and lose no opportunity to pour salt in the city's social wounds.
In fact, certain scribes and political figures on the loony left have started complaining about Trump and Fox News, not for multiple untruths and distortions, but for increasing Mayor Durkan's standing by denouncing her.
Trump has revived old Nixon-era slogans, such as "LAW AND ORDER" and "THE SILENT MAJORITY IS STRONGER THAN EVER BEFORE."
But demonizing doesn't seem to be working this year. The latest polls, including Fox News no less, shows a majority of Americans sympathize with protests over police violence, believe that the protests are largely peaceful, and believe the country has a problem of police violence directed at African Americans.
Seattle is being demonized to foment a backlash, which may not be there.