Protests in Portland have been punctuated by horror stories of unidentified federal agents in military garb snatching protesters off the streets in Oregon. The goal of the agents’ presence and the authority under which they are operating has been unclear, other than it serves the president’s authoritarian taste for strongman bullying and his need to do something, anything, to revive his reelection hopes. Having conceded defeat to the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump needs a straw man enemy to prop up and spar with over the next several months in hopes of scaring Americans into thinking there is a greater threat to their safety and prosperity than the actual president himself. Stirring up a hornets’ nest is what Trump’s after, and in the Portland protests he clearly senses an opportunity to cause disorder, which he can use to contrive a national response. As such, Trump said he is planning to send similar federal agents into multiple American cities, all under Democratic leadership.