As the countdown to the November election turns serious with little over three months remaining, the Trump campaign, in its wisdom, has turned to Gestapo tactics as he and his Attorney General Bill Barr order unidentifiable, armed storm troopers into American cities, ostensibly “to protect federal property”.
Oregon—the first ‘test case’— is not responding in the way that Trump and his advisors predicted. Trump’s desperation and late-campaign tactic is proving to be ill-advised; it seems that he and Barr assumed Oregon would be the perfect state in which their federal invasion could be tested as way of predicting white people’s ultimate reaction to the nationwide support for #BlackLivesMatter. From the outside, one might believe their assumption would be correct, but that assumption appears to be a miscalculation.
Oregon’s population is about 84% white, including Hispanic whites, with barely 3% Black, Native American, and Alaskan Native combined. Not only that, but Oregon, arguably, was known at one time to have the largest enclave of the Ku Klux Klan anywhere in the country, outside of the South.
Indeed, the state of Oregon has a history of bigotry dating back to the mid-1800’s, when the Oregon Territory banned slavery but at the same time forced African-Americans to leave. In her book, ‘The Second Coming of The KKK’, author Linda Gordon, an Oregonian native, discussed Oregon’s convoluted history regarding race.. Back then, while voters banned slavery, they also banned Blacks from entering, living, voting, or owning property, and for the few blacks who refused to leave, they were heavily taxed if they persisted in staying. Other people of color, including Chinese and Hawaiians, were included in the segregative actions. In fact, Oregon refused to officially ratify the 15th Amendment—the right to vote regardless of race or color— until 1959., and further, didn’t ratify the 14th Amendment, which provided an array of citizenship rights, until 1979.
So, if there was anywhere in the country one might expect that white people’s support for a Black causes might waver, it would be Oregon. But in Portland, protesters, mostly white, have steadfastly remained active ever since George Floyd was murdered by police in Minnesota back in May.
So yes, Oregon is as white as white can be, and Trump and his buddies may have thought this incursion would be a test case to gain white suburban support. But if white people in Oregon, of all places, are rejecting his unauthorized visit, his venture into more diverse cities is bound to exemplify a fool’s errand. And that story is quickly unfolding as the president’s desperation to be re-elected is only equaled by his continued cruelty towards Americans.