If President Donald Trump is reelected next November, he’ll owe a lot of his victory to the army of activists working tirelessly to put him over the top. No, I’m not talking about the red-hatted MAGA crowd, tireless as they are. I’m talking about the army of leftist activists whose nonstop craziness is moving moderates into the Trump column day by day.
Anti-Trump conservative Rod Dreher shares a letter from a reader who notes the unpersoning of feminist Posie Parker (her crime: not believing that transwomen are women) and the recent attacks on the Salvation Army and writes: “I have never voted for a Republican for president, and I can’t stand Trump. But the ‘Tolerant Left’ is making me so angry with them that I am thinking of voting for him. Since I live in Massachusetts the Electoral College makes it irrelevant, but it would be a protest vote.”
Likewise, since the Democrats’ the-mountain-labored-and-brought-forth-a-mouse impeachment circus began, Trump has moved to a net-positive in one poll, picked up a lot of moderate voters and moved into the lead in swing states like Wisconsin. The assault on Trump brings to mind the old saying about wrestling with a pig – you get dirty, and the pig likes it.
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All the Democrats had to do was not be crazy, and they couldn’t even do that. They started out after the last election demanding that Donald Trump not be “normalized” as president – and then proceeded to act as abnormally as possible. Weirdly, this strategy seems to be backfiring.
The conventional wisdom has always been that when you lose an election you accept it – thereby showing your loyalty to the American system – and endeavor to show the voters that you’re worthy of being elected next time. That involves working with the other party where you can, to show that you put the good of the country first, and acting sensible and responsible the rest of the time. That, to put it mildly, is not the approach the Democrats have chosen.
The current impeachment clown show was not made more credible by the fact that his opponents began talking impeachment even before President Trump was sworn in to office. Nor has the endless talk of Trump’s opposition as “the Resistance,” as if 2019 America were equivalent to France in 1940, done a lot for credibility. When much of the opposition to Trump comes across as fantasy role-play by people who didn’t get enough validation in high school, it robs the entire enterprise of its seriousness.
We’ve been told repeatedly that Trump is Hitler, even as he backed Israel in the UN and moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We’ve been told that Trump is a Putin puppet even as he sold anti-tank missiles to Ukraine (something Obama never did) and championed fracking in the United States, the success of which has done more to weaken Putin than anything the Obama/Hillary “reset” ever managed. (You could make a better case that the current Democratic candidates who vow to ban fracking are Putin puppets than you could for Trump.)
All over the country, universities are going crazy over anonymous fliers that read, simply, “It’s okay to be white.” This, we’re told, is a hate crime, and the FBI is investigating to find the perpetrators.
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At this year’s Harvard/Yale game “climate protesters” took over the field and delayed play. As double Ivy League alumnus (Dartmouth and Yale) Roger L. Simon writes, the level of idiocy there is making him think we should abolish the Ivy League as unserious. “In the middle of this year’s Harvard-Yale game, the great activistes spewed out onto the field to demand, what else, action on climate change – delaying the game for over an hour. But all these Ivy League smarty-pants couldn’t come up with a slogan more original than ‘Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go.’ Who’d they learn that from, their grandparents? Decades ago, during Vietnam, it was ‘Hey hey, ho ho, LBJ has got to go.'”
Like I said, it’s fantasy role-play, in this case by people sad that they were born too late for the 1960s. Anyway, if you care about climate, you should be protesting outside the Chinese embassy – China is adding vast numbers of new coal-fired power plants – unlike the United States, which has actually seen carbon emissions drop thanks to fracking.
I could go on and on, but pretty much any random day’s survey of the news makes my point. The conventional, sensible way to beat Trump would have been to demonstrate the sort of sensible, competent, non-threatening approach that would win over moderate voters. The Democrats and the left have chosen a different approach. Let’s see how it works out for them, but if they lose, it’ll be because their “activists” were actually working on behalf of the very man they purport to hate.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself,” is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.
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