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‘Storm Trumpers’ Wreak a New Dystopia

On this episode of democracy-ish, Danielle and Toure come to you as Trump’s secret military police turn Portlandlandia into a dystopia, and we’re bracing for their deployment to Detroit, Chicago, New York –– ostensibly anyplace that’s a stronghold of the resistance.


  • ‘Storm Trumpers’ invade Portland, tear-gassing citizens and creating chaos. Chicago, Detroit and all other pockets of the resistance are next.

  • Our media aren’t reporting what’s happening in Stumptown. We can’t expect them to cover what happens tomorrow.

  • Trump won in 2016 based on ‘economic anxiety.’ He can’t use that argument again … right?


Unnamed federal agents in generic military-esque uniforms, rounding up protestors in unmarked vehicles: It’s not East Berlin or the West Bank; it’s Portland in 2020.


“Where are they going?” Danielle asks. “They're not going to your local county jail ... You think these detention centers around this country are just for undocumented people? No, they’ll eventually be filled with Trump's dissenters.”


Toure thinks we’re living through “an incredibly frightening chapter, straight out of fascist dictator history, coming to a city near you.”


Nothing the Trump administration has done so far has terrified him more, he adds.


“This assault on citizens, on protesters and on democracy itself is absolutely insane.”


Danielle is equally frightened, but not surprised. “This has been my biggest fear,” she says. “Things are going to get bloodier before they get better.”


As we approach a mere 100 days before the election, we have to be vigilant AF because, she argues, “Donald Trump is going to pull shit that we have never seen before in this country.”


That’s where we’re at this week.




Grand theft auto(cracy)

Everything Trump and his cronies have done is textbook autocracy, Danielle argues. She points to Masha Gessen’s essay, posted days after the election in 2016, on how to survive an autocracy. One of the first rules, Gessen wrote, is to believe the autocrat.


“We’ve made a joke of Donald Trump for so long,” says Danielle. He's becoming best friends with Kim Jong Un –– totally fine. He praises Putin. That's okay. MBS is one of his buddies. That's all right. Erdoğan, and on and on. He is showing us who he is and who he has always been.”


“Their behavior is lawless,” Toure says. “And why are they wearing camouflage in the city? It makes no sense. It's just cosplay.”


He thinks Trump is reprising “Wag the Dog” style tactics. Because presidents are most popular when we’re at war, why not manufacture one?


But instead of attacking another country, Trump is ginning up unrest at home –– so people will think, “We have to maintain the course. We have to reelect him to create order because things are so wild,” Toure adds.



‘Storm Trumpers’ deployed on American soil

Federal agents from the US border patrol and ICE have specific jurisdictions. But Trump is giving them carte blanche to do “whatever the fuck they want,” Danielle says. Her friend, MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner, calls them “Storm Trumpers.”


She adds: “If you were looking for an alarm, with 100 plus days until the election, this is it. Because these storm troopers are going to be placed at poll stations. Mark my fucking words: It’s going to happen.”



Portland’s occupied — where’s the media at?

At the beginning of Trump’s first term, it seemed as if every news network was airing “wall-to-wall coverage of an empty fucking podium,” says Danielle.


But now, an American city is occupied by unnamed federal agents, and we basically hear {crickets} from mainstream media outlets.


“We got the preview when William Barr gave authorization for these motherfuckers to trample, literally and figuratively, the rights of American citizens in Lafayette Park. That was our preview to what is happening in Portland –– which is going to be the trailer leading up to what’s going to happen on Election Day. How is this not the story?”


Toure doesn’t have an answer. “I don't understand it. And it's not just a Portland story.”


That’s because, as Yamiche Alcindor and others have reported, Trump plans to deploy his personal gestapo to other cities.


“This is a national story that is coming to your town soon enough,” he says. “This should be the lead massive story all over CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times. It's getting blips, but not nearly the seriousness, depth and breadth it deserves. The media is totally letting us down.”



White mothers protecting Black protestors

Another remarkable development in Portland is the wall of yellow-clad mothers standing between federal “agents” and protesters.


“I mean, it's Portland,” says Toure. “So it's white moms coming together providing this sort of sheen.”


He has seen white allies at protests using their bodies to stand between police and Black and Brown protesters, because their bodies might be treated with more respect.


“There's some of that going on,” he explains. “At the same time, as Jill Filipovic talks about on Twitter, this imparts the notion that, simply because you are a mother, you are imbued with moral status.”


This is more than a little problematic: It suggests that mothers are more valuable to society than women who don’t have children –– or anyone else, for that matter.



Misappropriated ‘Murican values

Danielle agrees that giving birth doesn’t impart some inherent value beyond the basic humanity we all share. But she thinks the mama blockade is an important way to change the narrative that Trump peddles, the one that says protesters are crazy anarchists hell-bent on spray painting, breaking windows and looting.


Instead, the soccer moms of Portland are there because they, too, believe that black lives matter. They’re saying: “We're not going to allow you to sell this narrative to Fox News and whomever that the people in the streets are these young rebels,” Danielle says.


Toure thinks that’s true.


“I am happy to see the moms out there. It's just a complex issue … suffused with respectability politics: we're really good people; you shouldn't be attacking us. Well, okay, but the federal government really shouldn't be attacking anybody.”


He adds: “It's a core American value that the American military is not to be used against American citizens on American soil. It doesn't really matter if you're a mom who's never done anything wrong, or an American citizen who’s a criminal.”



Trump’s plan: ‘organized chaos and destruction’

“Don't you love how we can't have a national mask mandate –– each state should do what's best for them –– but we must send all our kids back to school because that’s good for everyone?” asks Toure. “So we have a non-uniform national policy and a uniform national policy. How does it make sense?”


“It just doesn't,” Danielle replies.


To the extent Trump has a plan for anything (Liz Warren he is not), “the plan is organized chaos and destruction,” she adds.


“He won't put together a national plan for the coronavirus because it's a states rights issue. But when the states are saying, get the fuck out of here; we don't need you protecting our four or five federal monuments, he sends 150 ‘Storm Trumpers’ to do it.”


And Republicans are largely silent. It’s gotten to the point where Rand Paul, the self-professed libertarian, is “like the Lone Ranger right now,” Danielle notes. She doesn’t understand why the ‘Pubs are so uniformly opposed to Obamacare, so consistently angry about Hillary Clinton's emails, and so willing to rake them over the coals for their mistakes.


“In Benghazi, four people were killed. We grilled her for 11 hours. Ebola: Two people died. But now, we have had the equivalent of multiple 9/11s in 144-odd days and nothing. Nothing.”



Are we heading for a second American civil war?

Journalists who’ve covered human rights violations abroad know what could happen here next, Danielle says.


“We are setting up for a civil war, what Trump has been literally gunning for … Because the reality is that –– these federal agencies –– there are more of us than there are of them. The people of Portland are showing us they're not backing down … How does it end? It doesn't end fucking well.”


“No, it doesn't,” Toure concurs. “I'm not sure if it's a civil war, because there aren’t two sides.”


There are two ideologies, but one is basically Trump trying to create images that frighten Midwestern suburbanites, he adds.


The president is using this tactic because his old ones no longer work with those voters, Danielle notes.


“The fucking 53% of white women who voted for him are running from him, according to polls. He wants to scare the shit out of them. I don't think it's gonna work. What he’s doing isn't working, which is why he is literally trying to throw everything at the wall.”


Even so, Danielle is worried about how far he’ll take the spaghetti-tossing approach, because “Trump –– scared, with nothing to lose, backed up against the wall –– is not something that I want to see,” she says. “It's not something America wants to see.”



November forecast: Rain on Trump’s parade

File this under things America shouldn’t have to see: Chris Wallace’s latest interview with Trump, if only because it exposed the extent of the president’s outright lies and abject ignorance.


“It was a rare moment when you have an interviewer who’s truly prepared, not throwing softballs and providing resistance. It was a beautiful thing to see.”


One of the highlights was when Wallace told Trump –– straight up, no chaser: You’re losing.


“And he's like, well, no, we have internal polls that say I’m winning in all the swing states,” Toure recounts. “If anyone listening hasn't already figured this out ... anytime a politician talks about internal polls with some vastly different answer than ones you’re privy to, they’re lying.”


Real polls from ABC and Quinnipiac show Biden leading by 10 to 15 points in many states –– and encroaching into the margin of error in Texas.


“If Texas is a fight, and Michigan is a solid lead for Biden, your man is toast,” Toure says.


Danielle agrees. “And Arizona is in play. We're talking about solidly red places, where they're starting to look at themselves or their loved ones on ventilators and going: Hmm, something’s wrong here.”



Anxiety, our collective ass

The polls aren’t all rosy for Democrats, though. “Even with all the racism, all the incompetence, all the COVID mistakes, all the shit –– most white Americans are still with this guy,” Toure says. “He's probably going to win white people again … That’s disgusting.”


What the fuck?


“Because he's the only one who’s going to uphold white supremacy for them,” Danielle says. “He's the one who told them they’re special. That [non-white folks] are coming to steal their jobs … and do all these horrible things. They're the ones who are the enemy. If not for them, your life would be great.”


We were told in 2016, Toure notes, that the election results reflected economic anxiety.


“It never was. It's about racism.” But the “economic anxiety” trope doesn’t hold true now, when white folks support the president “even as the economy is completely fucked up.”



Here’s where you take a knee

Toure says he’s “not really into prayer.”


But he has been on his knees praying for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


The Notorious RBG is, unfortunately, undergoing chemo treatments for a recurrence of cancer, on the heels of several other recent health scares.


If she were to leave the Supreme Court or this earthly plane [ed. note: she will NOT, knock wood] anytime between now and January 20, we’re completely fucked.


“Mitch McConnell will be like, let's go, Donald, let's put somebody new on there,” Toure says.


“And if fucking Schumer lays down like a fucking bitch over that –– because Democrats laid down on the job, as it pertains to Merrick Garland. They allowed [McConnell] to steal that seat.”


Toure thinks Democrats made a regrettable calculation in the category of picking their battles: Hillary is going to get it. Let's not go to war over this.


“See where that got us,” Danielle says.


The root of the problem is that Dems believe in the value of government, so they don’t want to obstruct it.


But the right, when it comes to political maneuvering like this, is “basically anti-government,” says Toure.


Goy(a), vey

In other news, Danielle asks: “Did you hear what that trifling bitch Ivanka Trump said about people who’ve lost their jobs?


“They should just … find something new.


We don’t all have daddies who go bankrupt, yet ascend to power and bestow us with the title of advisor –– ”with a million-dollar fucking salary,” she notes.


Meanwhile, spokesmodel Ivanka poses with a can of Goya black beans, apparently impervious to the obvious criticism:


“Trump has done more for black beans than for Black people.”


That said, democracy-ish will be back next week––


[Vinyl record scratch]


“We may be recording from prison. Do they have podcast studios in prison?”


“They do,” Toure responds.


Danielle is incredulous: “Really?”


Toure admits: “No, not really.” [He does recommend Ear Hustle, produced and hosted by inmates in San Quentin.]


“We'll make sure to get arrested and sent somewhere with podcast facilities,” he says.


Danielle responds with a hearty, “hell, no. I love you, but I'm not going to Guantanamo with you.”


Will there be a country next week?


Probability is at an all time low, at least in the history of this show.


“Enjoy us while you got us,” Danielle says. “Bottoms up. Pray about it.”



Get your weekly rundown of the presidential election from a Black progressive point of view on democracy-ish. Consider Danielle Moodie and Toure as your tour guides, flight attendants and/or therapists as we move through this dumpster fire of an election cycle — together!




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