How the left helps create the right it despises

It does a disservice to both sides to say that the left, pure and simple, has radicalized the right. But for too many on the left, the right already is so radical — so unreasonable, irrational, kooky, atavistic, and unthinking — that it hardly matters whether the second America tries to protect and advance its interests politely or viciously. When it plays nicely, they believe, the second America is engaged in the tactic of papering over the bigotry that animates it at a foundational level. The only thing the second America can do to earn goodwill from this influential segment of the left is to abandon and denounce its primitive worldview and its cruel policies. Not quite convert or die, but — almost worse from the far left perspective — convert or be ruthlessly marginalized and stigmatized. Confronted with such a choice, Americans — not just from the second America, as its enemies on the left should know — are inclined to stop being polite and start getting real.