A lot of young people and wanna-be young people came to Portland from small towns out of state, and bought into the hipster myth. Their conservative old towns and churches and families weren't cool enough for them. They deserved better. So they set about the task of making over themselves - and the city - into something ever more exciting, exotic, glamorous, and dangerous. And we've seen the result.
My observations about debating. (1) All of us have a filter in our brain, like the spam filter in your email inbox. What looks like junk, gets filtered out. If they are programmed to filter out your message, all the facts and logic in the world will be of no avail. Their thinking will not change until they update their spam filters.
(2) Visibility is the key thing. The left used its influence to exaggerate its own numbers, and to keep conservatives believing they were few and isolated. When this illusion collapses, the left's power to shame disintegrates.
(3) At the end of the day, people go by experience. When day-to-day experience conflicts with the accepted narrative strongly enough and consistently enough, the narrative will have to go. People can only watch riots and Bible burnings for so long. At this point, a coherent, articulate alternate narrative will help them make sense of their world, and will be welcomed.
(4) Putting all of these factors together, what's going to win the day is for all of us to keep speaking out, courageously and clearly, and putting the lie to the leftist establishment's castle of illusion.
"Stay home, stay safe." Because if we could come out of hiding, we might learn how many more of us there are. And then their spell of fear would lose its power.
If I convince myself that most people are ignorant bigots, then I get to feel "special" just by not being a bigot.
If I believe the other guy is a nazi, then I only have to be 1 percent better than a nazi to be the good guy.
You put a whole population of law-abiding citizens under indefinite house arrest, sooner or later incarceration is gonna lose its value as a deterrent.