The failure of the Democrats, and the crowd in the streets

At the end of the day, if Trump is reelected, all of the crowd’s outrage and eloquent words will have no lasting impact. A reelected Trump would thwart them and their proposed reforms at every step of the way.

Race is an explosive issue, and there are crowds in the streets.

Democratic leadership, of the crowd in the streets, is nowhere to be found.

It is as if an entire country just discovered that there is a long history of racism and racial oppression in the country.

Everyone is gobsmacking their forehead, expressing growing anger at one outrage after another.

A crowd, without leadership, becomes a mob, governed by the unpredictable passions that may sweep through its members at any particular moment. It is essentially irrational, and easily manipulated.

See Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd (1895).

There is no guiding, calculating intelligence directing the crowd, or at least this crowd, except potentially on the part of outsiders who understand mob psychology and seek to manipulate the crowd for their own purposes.

(We may never know who instigated snd coordinated the violence and the looting that occurred over the last 10 days, but we can certainly say it has  served Trump’s interests and it would come as no surprise if he and his followers turned out to be behind it.)

With so many people so emotionally involved, indeed understandably so, there does not seem to be a guiding purpose or unifying plan of action to guide the crowd.

Martin Luther King, Jr. mobilized millions of Americans, black and white, to take part in massive demonstrations. But he had goals, and usually a plan, and used mass demonstrations to secure important objectives as part of a larger strategic plan or vision.

Today, in Minneapolis, the crowd demanded that the city disband the police department. A loud demand to “defund the police” is heard in many cities.

This is the irrational behavior of a crowd. The idea, however appealing on an immediate emotional level, is utter nonsense.

Why would the Democrats, or even the demonstrators, want to turn every police officer in the country against Joe Biden and the Democatic Party?

You can see the political commercials the crowd is making for Donald Trump, of masses of people demanding that police departments be dismantled, so that looting and violence can again achieve free reign.

You can also see Trump setting up his campaign line that the country is threatened by mobs in the streets engaging in violence, arson, and looting.

Where are the Democratic leaders?

Are they afraid of the crowd?

Is there no one who can influence the crowd to not give ammunition to Donald Trump for his electoral campaign?

Has there been any Democratic leader who could urge the members of the crowd, strongly, to absolutely wear masks and to try to maintain physical distancing, as we are still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic?


Ross Douthout, “Why the Coronavirus Is Winning; A virus doesn’t care about our ideological preconceptions,” New York Times, June 6, 2020.

Aren’t there any Democratic leaders who can do more than cheer the outrage of the demonstrators, and help steer them toward achieving concrete objectives?

Aren’t there any Democratic leaders who can channel the energy and outrage of the crowd into specific voter registration and turn-out-the-vote programs that can help defeat Trump?

Will every demonstrator register to vote, and then vote in November?

Where is the Democratic leader who will urge all the members of the crowd to make a solemn pledge to register to vote and to vote on November 3, 2020?

This is the least that we can ask of the Democrats and of the crowd.

We should also ask the House Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry into the Leader’s abuses of power and violations of the law and the Constitution over the last three and a half years. They don’t have to approve the articles of impeachment unless the votes show up in the Senate. That could happen. They just have to be ready.

The Democrats are not going to waltz to a victory over Trump and the Republicans in November.

They had better start fighting.

As part of that fight, they should seek to guide the crowd so that it does not engage in actions that feed into Trump’s campaign narrative, while channeling the crowd’s energies toward achieving real objectives in the brutal world of power politics.

At the end of the day, if Trump is reelected, all of the crowd’s outrage and eloquent words will have no lasting impact. A reelected Trump would thwart them and their proposed reforms at every step of the way.

We all need to focus, soon, regardless of whether the demonstrations continue, on the 100-year catastrophe of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the battle to save our democracy at the polls on November 3 — or to remove Trump earlier through the impeachment process if that becomes possible.

The ultimate battle with Trump is over whether we want a government and a society ruled by Reason, or by Unreason.

It is time for the Democrats to step up to the plate and fight, with all that they have, for a world of Reason.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.