THE CHAOS AGENT PRESIDENT

6 mins read

This week has been the most chaotic week of the Trump presidency—and that’s saying a lot.

Professor Heather Cox Richardson puts out an excellent newsletter summarizing the day’s news from the perspective of a political historian. She said this last night:

There are peaceful protesters and there are chaos agents. The truth about the chaos agents will emerge.

In his press conference (available on C-Span) Minnesota Governor Walz described a situation in which organized groups committed violence and hid behind peaceful protestors. He stressed that these were “organized.”

On social media, bots and trolls pushing Trump’s narrative:

The trouble makers are trying to exploit the divisions we have. I’d like to remind you of a few numbers from the 2016 election. These are from page 26 of the Mueller report and Mueller’s testimony in Congress before the House Judiciary Committee.

  • The Internet Research Agency created 80,000 Facebook posts.
  • An estimated 126 million Americans saw those postings.
  • The Internet Research Agency had 3,800 Twitter accounts and had designed more than 175,000 tweets that probably reached 1.4 million people.

These bots have gotten more sophisticated.

We know that Trump’s interests are aligned with Putin’s. They want the same thing. They coordinate their efforts. They watch and take cues from each other.

People have thrown very imaginative “what if” situations at me over the past year. We don’t have to wonder what they are going to try. We know what they’re going to try. They’re going to try the same things they did in 2016. They suppressed the vote by spreading lies. They did things to undermine confidence in the election.

Operation Ukraine Shakedown was a sophisticated attempt to recreate the “her emails” lie by creating a false narrative that Ukraine, on its own without prompting, opened in investigation into Biden corruption. Had it worked, it could have been devastating. It didn’t work.

Operation Ukraine Shakedown was launched just after the 2018 midterms, when it was clear the Republicans were headed for defeat in 2020. It would have taken almost two years to implement. There isn’t time to frame Biden with something else, so what are they left with?

They’re left with Lindsay Graham saying that Biden is a “nice guy,” but we don’t need a nice guy. We need a “strong man.

A great many of the protests out there are no longer about George Floyd. They are now about creating mayhem, which is what strongmen like.

My mentions the past 6 months have been bombarded with people claiming to be on the left telling me we need a violent revolution. This is the narrative the Trump-Barr-Fox-GOP wants to create.

We have meaningful elections. There will be an election in November. There is no need for a violent revolution right before a meaningful election, unless you want to derail what is obviously going to happen.

Stay home. Stay safe. Don’t expose yourself to illness. Don’t be the cover for chaos agents. Tuesday I’ll be doing work (remotely) to help with Georgia’s election. (I’m on the Georgia Voter Protection Committee. They let in a California lawyer.)

My husband’s family lived through the Pinochet dictatorship. I’m afraid most Americans don’t understand exactly what totalitarian rule looks like.

This is the card my husband had to show to prove he voted for Pinochet.

I didn’t experience it myself, but I heard the stories. No, sorry. We are not near totalitarian rule. We might be within 5 years if people give up right now and take the bait.

One thing I hear is “things in the US have never been this bad.”

Before saying “things in America have never been this bad,” consider what it was like to be an African American woman during these years:

  • 1954
  • 1920
  • 1850

In 1850 she literally did not own her own body. She was not a person under the law. She had zero rights.

Shortly after I finished this thread, Trump seized control of the public narrative by tweeting this:

Of course, What Trump means by “designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization” is: “I want to be able to decide who is a terrorist.”

It isn’t. Besides, it makes no sense. The law provides for designating “foreign terrorist organizations” & “specially designated global terrorists.” It doesn’t provide for designating anything just “a Terrorist Organization.”

I think that’s because we can see that it’s the same tricks, the same ploys. Whether they work depends on how many Americans fall for them (again). It’s not like he has any magical or super powers beyond being a really good chaos agent.


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently working on a book on disinformation to be published by Macmillan Publishers. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and CNN.com. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Register for Thursday's CD17 Forum

Next Story

Tell Congress Trump is not a Dictator

Latest from Op-Ed

Across the Aisle

Photo by Kalisa Veer via Unsplash A conservative colleague at my husband’s

%d bloggers like this: