One takeaway from the rhetoric surrounding the ongoing election dispute is that Republicans should fear for their safety in a prospective Biden America. Despite the former vice president’s calls for post-election unity, many on the political left are simply out for revenge.
Over the past four years liberals have turned normal policy debates into cancel culture vendettas. They believe that those who disagree with their political prescriptions are either venal or stupid, or more likely both. They charge without evidence that anyone who voted for Donald Trump is ipso facto racist, sexist, homophobic, other “isms” or “phobias” – and whatever other biases they have handy.
The expression “reeducation camps” started trending on Twitter recently after California DNC member David Atkins mused about how to “deprogram” 75 million Trump supporters, which he described as “a conspiracy theory fueled belligerent death cult against reality & basic decency.” Basic decency, really? New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz chimed in with his solution, noting that “Republicanism is a social problem” that must be “isolated and snuffed out” like coronavirus. That seems a lot more like belligerent death-cult language, but it is common parlance in liberal circles. Stalin would be proud.
The spirit of the blacklist is alive and well, and now enjoys all the contemporary tools of information technology. The Trump Accountability Project was created to compile lists of those who “profited” from the Trump years and “loosed the guardrails on our democracy.” This was so blatantly off message for the Biden team that it was quietly shut down, or at least made less public. Doxxing is more effective than ever, however. The site DonaldTrump.Watch promised to use Federal Election contribution data to reveal “Americans that Donated to a Vulgar, Lying, Draft Dodger and Tax Cheat. 220,000 DEAD.” But this approach was tantamount to incitement to violence, so the previous url now redirects to the more neutral Donor Watch site, which can serve the same purpose but without the inflammatory language. Imagine if antifa-style rioting became less random and more directed, empowered by sites like this. It’s no wonder gun sales are soaring.
The Lincoln Project, a collection of disgraced NeverTrumper Republicans cashing in on anti-Trump mania, has been trying to intimidate law firms into not providing services to the Trump campaign and others challenging the election results. This goes against American principles of due process and fair play, since in our country everyone is entitled to have an attorney to engage in the legal process. These Stasi-style tactics are corrosive to the Constitution and dangerous to the rule of law.
Conservatives also have good reason to be concerned what might come from a prospective Biden presidency. Calls for unity are nice, but who can believe them? We saw the Obama administration abuse the IRS to take down conservative groups, violating their constitutional rights to free association. The Intelligence Community and FBI were weaponized to interfere in the 2016 election and then hobble a legitimately elected president. Emergency powers have been abused during the coronavirus pandemic to impose social controls that Democrats will be loath to surrender. Conservatives are shut out of mainstream media, academe, and the entertainment industry. Social media has imposed thorough censorship of any ideas that self-appointed leftist minders find annoying. Freedom has simply become the freedom to do what you’re told.
But the Republic isn’t sunk yet. The First Amendment still exists, and some people continue to honor it. There are increasing avenues of free expression. Fox News’ loss is One America News’ gain. Trump supporters shut out of Reddit created a new web site that quickly became one of the top 500 sites in the country. Republican down-ballot gains in 2020 show that the concept of checks and balances is not extinct. And the Supreme Court, for now, has a steadier lineup than any time since the 1950s.
It is ironic that the same liberals who idealize the martyrs of the Hollywood blacklist and decry the “McCarthyism” of that earlier era are engaged in a much more systematic and destructive version of the same thing. And just to be clear, in large part Senator McCarthy was correct, his warnings against communist infiltration in the government were true and accurate. There is a difference between exposing agents of a foreign power betraying the public trust and ruing the lives of those who simply have differing views of public policy. Meanwhile we have spent four years hearing about completely phony links between the Trump administration and Russia, reported as though they were true. Imagine what liberals could do with all the institutions of government. Voltaire’s warning that “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” has never been more relevant.
Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog. He is a former military intelligence officer.