Like the liberal white male mayor of Minneapolis learned when he had the temerity to stand up and tell a crowd of angry protesters that he wouldn’t support disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has struggled to connect with the throngs of angry, young and (mostly) white crowds of impressionable college students and disgruntled post-grads who have flooded the area outside a federal courthouse in downtown Portland for nearly 2 months straight, SARS-CoV-2 be damned.
Many of these demonstrators probably aren’t even from Portland. And it’s clear that their animosity toward Wheeler – who also serves as Police Commissioner – stems not from any personal failing on his part, but rather due to his role in “the system”, and the fact that he’s a white man. But that hasn’t dissuaded Wheeler from trying to pander to them, anyway, guided perhaps by misguided political strategists who feel that the hard-core protesters truly have the public’s sympathy. Over the past 10 days, as federal agents have moved to defend the federal courthouse mentioned above from vandals and enforce laws after Wheeler pulled out the local cops, Wheeler has sided with the rabble over the government he was elected to represent, denouncing the federal “stormtroopers” who have been “abducting” residents of his city, according to the AP.