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Conservatives Should Learn From the Left


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Real Clear Politics

Heather R. Higgins

Jan. 16 2021

As the political right struggles to regroup after the horrible events at the U.S. Capitol, it should learn from the masters. The left has a consistent pattern when responding to terrible behavior by activists associated with their cause — from the widespread destruction and violence last summer during protests of police brutality to mobbing Republican senators during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to the Bernie Sanders acolyte who opened fire at GOP members of Congress in 2017.

The left starts by driving the narrative that their protests or movements were mostly peaceful while amplifying participants’ concerns to give them legitimacy. They downplay any violence, positioning it as nothing to do with them, a distraction from the cause. Having disassociated themselves from the bad behavior, they never act embarrassed. 

Compare this to those on the right: Everyone has unambiguously condemned the rioters in the Capitol, as they should. But many have fallen into the trap of accepting that they ought to be embarrassed, as though the rioters represented them, or even most Trump supporters, neither of which is the case. Nor have they defended the right to protest and the importance of recognizing and hearing concerns. Failing to do so has allowed the false equivalence between the rioters and the Trump supporters who were protesting to advance their concerns about election fraud, even though the vast majority of those in Washington on Jan. 6 were peaceful people who revere the Constitution.

The left has used those missteps to play a semantic game of expanding definitions and thus tar an ever widening circle. They start with the remarkable premise that there were no election shenanigans whatsoever, and consequently that it’s heresy to question rule changes or unrequested mailed ballots. Why? To label legitimate issues as merely a “fringe” contentions. 

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