Via the Daily Rushbo, right on both counts. It wasn’t so much an anti-Trump riot, Limbaugh notes, as an anti-Trump-supporter riot “since they are really violently protesting … American citizens exercising their constitutional right to express their political opinion.” Indeed. Anti-American, straight up. And the more violence there is aimed at Trump and his fans, especially by people waving Mexican flags, the more swing voters will conclude that an authoritarian whose centerpiece proposal involves a border wall might be just what the doctor ordered after all.
He’s also right that some well-known lefties were quick to denounce the riot last night on social media, including John Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chairman, which Rush must have missed in the course of criticizing Team Clinton here for not speaking up about what happened. (Hillary herself reportedly called it “deplorable” this afternoon, although after this segment aired on Limbaugh’s show.) I’m trying not to be cynical about motives in the quick denunciations, bearing in mind how readily some progressives reach for the MLK quote about a riot being the “language of the unheard” whenever an anti-police demonstration turns nasty. Many were, I’m sure, honestly disgusted watching average people get sucker-punched for the crime of attending a political rally for a candidate they like. A man off the street minding his own business is the most sympathetic victim of political violence. But the backfire potential here in November has to be weighing on them heavily too. If they don’t send down the word, quickly and emphatically, to left-wing activists that violence against Trump and his fans is Never Acceptable, this’ll happen again — repeatedly. And Trump will continue to benefit from it. So long as his own supporters don’t respond in kind, of course:
Jonathan Chait, a liberal but one who’s been critical of the Stalinist attitude underlying modern campus political correctness, made a perceptive point about the split on the left over the wisdom and morality of getting rough with Trump Nation:
[N]ot only is violence unlikely to prevent his election as a practical matter (it makes Trump a figure of sympathy, and at any rate, his supporters are far more heavily armed). It would also be a disaster as a moral matter. Suppose that Trump’s election could be prevented by breaking up his speeches and intimidating his supporters. Such a “victory” would actually constitute the blow to democracy it purports to stop, eroding the long-standing norm that elections should be settled at the ballot box rather than through street fighting.
To be sure, the advocates of violence against Trump would disagree with this conclusion. And that disagreement lies at the heart of a deeper ideological fissure that has opened up on the left over the last couple of years. Liberalism sees political rights as a positive good — rights for one are rights for all. “Democracy” means political rights for every citizen. The far left defines democracy as the triumph of the subordinate class over the privileged class. Political rights only matter insofar as they are exercised by the oppressed. The oppressor has no rights.
Rights aren’t universal, they’re weapons designed to equalize power. Conveniently, the guy in a “Make America Great Again” hat making $40,000 a year is an “oppressor” no matter how little power he enjoys; even more conveniently, the “oppressed” can never become oppressors no matter how rough they get. (That’s one reason why race more so than class has become a touchstone for privilege among radicals. It’s static. You can claim oppressed status no matter how much economic power you personally accumulate or how little your opponent does.) That being so, though, I wonder how many protesters really fear the backfire potential of a Trump victory. If they knew for a fact that beating on Trump fans makes a Republican win in November more likely, would that discourage or encourage them? Trump winning would “heighten the contradictions” between left and right more than Hillary winning would. They’ve spent eight years suppressing the impulse towards “direct action” because mainstream Democrats aren’t going to go along with mass protests on Obama’s watch. With Trump in power the left will be united against a common enemy, and that unity will help to foster greater acceptance of radicalism, however uneasy liberals like Chait might be about tactics. Naturally, that radicalization will encourage people on Trump’s side to radicalize in response and then it’s off we go towards a more European society. That’s another reason why well-meaning people on both sides were so dejected about the riot last night. It’s easy to see where this is going and it’s plain that some on each side want it to go there. What can you say to people like that?