Clearly, something is broken, and a fix is needed. Braun’s reasonable proposal would preserve the liability shield for officers in situations where their behavior was clearly established as legal at the time or where similar behavior has already been ruled permissible. It simply allows citizens to get their day in civil court in more instances, in an effort to increase accountability and ward off future injustices. This apparently heinous proposal earned Braun savage criticism from the populist Right, to the point that he felt the need to back away from it.
Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, the star of the populist movement, bashed Braun and accused him of “making it easier for left-wing activists to sue police officers.” In a contentious interview, Carlson charged the senator with supporting the murder of police officers and a “race-specific revolutionary movement.” Carlson’s denunciation led to a frenzy of attacks from other right-wing populists. Conservative Twitter pundit Charlie Kirk called Braun a “Schumer-appeasing Marxist sympathizer” and said it’s “time to flood the leftists out of the Republican Party.” Right-wing commentator Benny Johnson called Braun a “coward,” going on to falsely claim that Braun supports Marxism and “does not think cops should be able to defend themselves.” Many more critics similarly pounced on the senator.
The harsh backlash to Braun’s proposal is puzzling and misplaced. If populist conservatives care about fighting the establishment in the name of the little guy, there is perhaps no issue more clearly worthy of their support than preventing government officials from trampling citizens’ rights with impunity.