Should we throw stones at the left for this?

Yeah, c’mon. Let’s at least throw a couple.

When it comes to the Confederate flag, however, 47% of Democrats support a ban while only 11% of Republicans feel the same. Only 36% of Democrats would oppose banning the Confederate flag, half the number of Republicans who do (74%).  

Among black Americans 61% support a ban on displaying the Confederate flag, only slightly behind the level of support for banning the ISIS (69%) and Nazi (72%) flags.

No surprise here. YouGov likes testing the public from time to time to see where they are on free-speech issues and invariably they’re in a much creepier place than you and I might expect. Two months ago, YG polled people on whether “hate speech” should be a crime in the U.S. Result: 51 percent of Democrats said yes compared to 26 percent who said no. The numbers for Republicans were better, but even there a significant minority supported criminalizing speech. The split among GOPers was 37/47. If you’re inclined to ban certain types of speech in the interest of “public harmony” or whatever, it follows that you’d be willing to ban a particular symbol that much of the public associates with racism and slavery.

Here’s why we can throw only a few stones, though:


Most Republicans aren’t making a point about free speech in opposing a ban on the Confederate flag; if they were, they wouldn’t have joined Democrats here in supporting a ban on the Nazi and ISIS flags too. What they’re doing, I assume, is making a judgment about the relative evils of each symbol. The case against Nazism and jihadism is straightforward. The case against the Confederate flag is more complicated because it can be seen (and has been used) variously as a symbol of racial oppression and as a symbol of southern pride. The case against the rainbow flag is also straightforward in that no one believes the gay-rights movement is remotely as objectionable as the other three regimes — although I’m intrigued by the numbers there. On the one hand, Republicans are more than twice as likely to want to ban the rainbow flag as the Confederate flag. On the other hand, Democrats are nearly as likely as Republicans to support a rainbow-flag ban. Huh. How to explain that?

I think this is the key:


The two most prominent minority groups in the Democratic coalition, blacks and Latinos, are more open to banning the rainbow flag than Democrats overall are, so they’re dragging the partisan numbers up towards near parity with the GOP. Even so, they can’t generate that result all by themselves. Who are the many, many white Democrats whose opposition to gay rights is such that they support banning the rainbow flag? Do socially conservative Democrats still exist?