When President Trump traveled to Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, Black Lives Matter protesters congregated by the county courthouse, which was gated off and protected by National Guardsmen. The protesters carried signs that said “F-ck the police,” “Dump Trump,” and “F-ck Trump,” but there was not a single sign for or against Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden.
A Black Lives Matter protester and Bernie Sanders supporter who traveled from Grand Rapids, Mich. to protest Trump’s visit told me, “I don’t know who I’m voting for” in the 2020 presidential election. The Bernie bro described the Biden nomination as “blowing.” Although he thinks left-wing activists will ultimately vote for Biden, he said it is going to be “very hard” for him to vote for Biden. “If I don’t vote for Biden it’s going to be for the Green Party,” he said.
Lamar Whitfield, the founder of the No More Foundation, traveled to Kenosha from Chicago to protest. Lamar said, “Right now, I’m not really in support of any of the candidates.” Lamar doesn’t know whether Trump or Biden are “sincere.” “We need someone that is going to come out and make a difference,” said Lamar, who even said he might sit out of the election.
“I’m less pro-Biden and more anti-Trump,” said Rachel Thompson, a BLM protester who also traveled to Kenosha from Chicago. Niko Estwind, who self identifies as a “revolutionary Communist” added he believes Biden is a “war criminal.”
“Biden still represents the Washington establishment in a lot of ways,” explained Thompson. “… he’s pro-fracking… he was the one who wrote the 94’ crime bill.” “There’s a lot that I think is pushed on us, that he’s the most progressive candidate, and I want that to stop, and I want the vote-shaming to stop,” she said. Although Thompson is not enthusiastic about Biden, she affirmed her support for him, stating, “I think when it really comes down to… do we want a fascist regime to continue for another four years?”
Enthusiasm among the BLM protesters centered around “police brutality,” “justice for Jacob Blake,” and their hatred for the “fascist,” Trump. In a tight presidential race, with tensions higher than they have ever been in American politics, one might think left-wing activists, at a protest many of them traveled from out of state to attend, would be more excited about their presidential nominee. He has certainly attempted to win them over by allowing Sanders and fellow socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to write Biden’s policy platforms.
Yet there are many reasons members of the left, especially young voters, aren’t excited about the “pro-fracking” and “establishment” Democrat presidential nominee.
Biden has made blatantly racist statements throughout his career and even during this election cycle. Biden’s own running mate, Kamala Harris, viciously attacked him on the debate stage in prime time, insinuating he was a racist for opposing busing laws in California. Now that Biden has decided to denounce rioting, it is hard to imagine that his popularity is rising among the radical left-wing parts of the Democratic Party, such as the protesters who came to Kenosha,
Although I did not come across a BLM protester who thought looting and destruction of property was necessarily a good thing, many excused the behavior because it “gets attention.” A young woman I spoke with explained the rationale: “Riots work. Burning down buildings works and it gets the attention of people to make real change. That’s what we had to do during the civil rights movement. That’s what we had to do during Stonewall. It’s what we had to do during women’s rights. People that aren’t white cis males wouldn’t have rights if it weren’t for burning down a f-cking building.”
While some left-wing activists, like the young woman I interviewed, see merit in violent and destructive rioting, many Americans are put off by it, especially old school blue-collar Democrats, like the many who live in Kenosha.
Racial minorities in many ways are being hit the hardest by BLM and Antifa rioting across the country this summer, which is taking place in mostly poor black and brown neighborhoods. In Kenosha, an Indian immigrant, who owns a family-run car dealership had his entire lot and American dream destroyed by BLM arsonists. He says insurance will not cover his losses.
Valerie, a 25-year-old African-American former Democrat from the inner city of Milwaukee, was in Kenosha supporting President Trump. She told us she does not believe Democrats help black people, but use them by exploiting “the pain” in their communities.
Valerie said that the welfare state, burning buildings, and defunding the police are not the kind of solutions black people need. “I’m good, no thank you,” she said to Democrat solutions. “If anything, I see Republicans doing things to help my community. I don’t see Democrats doing things to help my community,” said Valerie.
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) September 3, 2020
More interviews from Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/3aD7vQ4MQj
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) September 3, 2020
Thanks to recent polls, Democrats have begun to realize that condoning domestic terrorism is not popular with voters, and they are scrambling to appease undecided voters, classical liberals, and minorities who do not like the destruction and violence BLM and Antifa have brought to their neighborhoods.
Biden has decided to play both sides. He denounces rioting, but still protects violent elements of the radical left, like some BLM rioters and Antifa, by not specifically calling them out and by endorsing policies that distribute government awards and attention based on race. Biden is hoping that blanket-condemning violence will appease both sides of the Democrat vote. However, he risks turning off everyone. The radical left may become more put off by his establishment behavior, and undecided Americans may think he is not done enough to condemn violence.
The question is will “anti-Trump not pro-Biden” be enough to get people out to vote for Biden, or will significant numbers of Democrats sit this election out, write in a candidate, or vote for in a third party.
Time will tell, but Trump certainly doesn’t have the enthusiasm problem Biden has. Trump supporters waited hours in partial rain just to get a glimpse of President Trump’s motorcade. They were pro-Trump, not simply anti-Biden. Unlike the BLM protesters, the Trump supporters showed support for their nominee with Trump flags, signs, hats, T-shirts, cozies, and even “MAGA” cheese heads.
Yes, a woman I met wearing a MAGA cheese head, who has been to seven Trump rallies, said proudly, “the true cheese heads of Wisconsin love our president!”
A woman wearing a “MAGA” cheese head said she’s been to seven Trump rallies and traveled from Lake Geneva to support the president in Kenosha. “The true cheese heads of Wisconsin love our president!” she said. pic.twitter.com/4FGx5oQqai
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) September 2, 2020
With only 43 days left until the election, Joe Biden has his work cut out for him.