It is the nature of coalition politics that every party attracts a crazy, illiberal fringe. It is also in the nature of these coalitions that they risk being captured by their crazy fringe—that they grow so used to regarding them as “their people,” as their allies and fellow travelers, that they cannot bring themselves to disavow the fringe’s most repellent notions. On the Republican side, Donald Trump has done this repeatedly, most recently by his refusal to disavow the QAnon conspiracy theorists.
The overriding message of last week’s Democratic convention is that their crazy fringe is not in charge, that the sober, reasonable liberals are running the show. But Democrats now have to back that message with very specific words casting out the rioters from among their company.
And it would help if these words were backed by actions of local elected Democrats and by liberal activists.
Only the Democrats can really do this. Only they seem to be willing and able to credibly recognize the grievances driving these protests. But they have to find the courage to shake off the fear of their radical wing and stand for the rule of law. There is no nobler cause than to crusade for the equal protection of the laws.