What happened to the protests?

Notice how over the past two or so weeks all the BLM protest have suddenly died down? In the final week of September there were nationwide protests regarding Breonna Taylor, but by early October coinciding with Trump’s Covid diagnosis, the unrest had seemingly evaporated. If Trump wins, there will likely be more protests, but what can explain this sudden cessation of activity?

These protests are not spontaneous or locally-organized grassroots movements, but are centralized and funded by wealthy donors and NGOs. These donors also direct antifa, who are allied with BLM. As evidence of outside money being involved, I have seen Google ads for BLM. The Rest in Power, Beautiful video, at 8 minutes and 55 seconds (also how long the officer was kneeling of Floyd’s neck…how clever), was an elaborate production, promoted all over the internet with expensive Google ads, presumably costing tens of thousands of dollars or more, over the duration of the campaign.

However as I wrote earlier, these donors have had much less success at policy and affecting actual change, as the outcome of the Breonna Taylor case shows, versus making a lot of noise and getting media coverage, which quickly fades with no lasting change. These donors probably realize they are not getting their money’s worth (protests are expensive), so they have dialed things down, but they also realized that the protests were helping Trump and hurting Biden (by making the latter seem complicit in them and complicit in vandalism and looting).

Yet again I was correct in dismissing the protests in July-August as not being a big deal in the long-run and in the ‘grand scheme of things’ in spite of the intensity of the media coverage at the time.

When you see a protest breaking-out or status being toppled and dragged around, and the coverage is blasted all over social media, it is easy to lose perspective that this epicenter of protest represents just a tiny, tiny fraction or snapshot of the entire country at the present time that the protest is unfolding (so imagine all the neighborhoods and cities from coast to coast where nothing eventual is happening), and even tinier when one considers the duration of how long BLM protests have been going on. This is similar to all the hype over campus protests. People still talk about Evergreen and Middlebury, but it is easy to overlook that for 360 or so days of the year, college life is rather uneventful, if not boring. A Starbucks being vandalized by antifa is huge news on social media, but what about the thousands of Starbucks locations not vandalized, or that this represents one of a handful of incidences of vandalism over a 3-or-so-year duration (since people started paying more attention to antifa).

Due to the pervasiveness of social media, smart phones, and the 24-7 news cycle, events are being reported, that decades ago would have gone unnoticed and unreported. And given how divided the nation is, and the popularity of social media, this means a lot of poo-flinging, from both sides. Social media , especially twitter, puts a megaphone to the loudest and often most obnoxious and least nuanced of voices, exacerbating the culture wars. If a store gets looted and you got 1 million+ people tweeting about it, and endless looping media footage of the store being looted, then it will seem way worse than it actually is in the context of the size of the US economy. Interestingly, it was Covid , which was downplayed for much of January and Feb by the media (few predicted things would get as bad as they did), that caused way more economic harm. Some sick people in China in January/Dec almost brought the nation to its knees just two months later, but these guys running around in masks hardly amounts to a blip despite endless media coverage.

Protests are not continuous events. So over the past four months since Floyd’s death, many cities have had protests, but such protests are not continuous, uninterrupted events in which people are dying and getting hurt every day, but rather these protests come and go in spurts. Maybe someone will get injured and then a week or two goes by and nothing eventful happens. It is like saying that because every major city has had a major fire, that all the cities in America are burning. In any given month, maybe a single city has a large fire, but that leaves all the other cities without fires.

Yes, if Trump is reelected it stands to reason there will be some unrest, but similar to the 2016 worldwide protests after Trump won, such protests will be likely short-lived . There may be some property damage but that too will be self-limiting.