Protests against Trump’s indictment?

New Yorkers laughed at Donald Trump when he came to vote in 2016. (Okay, some booed.) Trump had the next laugh, who gets the last one is still up in the air.

The next episode is Trump’s return to New York City, this time to surrender himself to police for arraignment. He has repeatedly proclaimed that criminal charges against him are a plot to destroy America, and has called on his supporters to protest. And he’s warned of violence and general mayhem if prosecution proceeds. Someone will listen and respond, but just who, how many, and how will matter a great deal.

Social movement power comes from connections with the political mainstream. Organizers and activists can get played and exploited by regular politicians, but sometimes they can win significant victories. This is a common American story. Ambitious politicians calling on their supporters to take to the streets is a far less common story in American politics–but it’s certainly not the first time.

So, along with national media, Trump supporters have recorded the long trek from Palm Beach to Manhattan–a 1,200 mile perp walk. Trumpians frame the shots to emphasize their passionate supporters. But wider angle shots show sparse attendance.

Larger sustained protests take organization, not just an appeal from leaders, and organization is not Trump’s strong suit. But, as with January 6, others may be organizing to create disruption and make local and federal prosecutors pay for doing their jobs.

Mainstream media will cover the minutia of Trump’s arraignment in excruciating details. Expect a report detailing modern fingerprinting techniques that don’t leave ink on those tiny hands.

And the next day, Trump has promised to deliver a speech that frames his prosecution as persecution that somehow translates to an existential threat to *real* Americans. It’s worked so far largely because only a smattering of institutional Republicans have been willing to stand up against it–against Trump and now, for the rule of law.

At some point, maybe soon, someone will realize the mileage to be gained out of actually speaking to the material concerns of those Trump claims to represent.


About David S. Meyer

Author and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine
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2 Responses to Protests against Trump’s indictment?

  1. Craig S. says:

    “Trumpians frame the shots to emphasize their passionate supporters. But wider angle shots show sparse attendance.”

    Classic MAGA technique dating back to 2016

  2. And it’s easier and easier than ever to edit photos.

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