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Issues & Insights

The One Debate Question That Must Be Asked — But CNN Won’t

I&I Editorial

Bringing greatness back to crime-ridden cities like Baltimore, reducing the cost of quality health care, jobs, secure borders, and plenty of other issues will determine the voters’ decision in 2020. But another concern is growing steadily, about a multi-pronged menace that directly threatens American lives, our rule of law, even the integrity of elections — and, by extension, the operation of our Constitution itself.

It is vital that the Democrats running for president be asked about fighting this violent threat during their debates Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Detroit — a city suffering the second-highest violent crime rate in the country, and run by Democrats for the last 60 years.

The question is this:

‘Do You Unreservedly Condemn Antifa?’

Nothing like that question will pass the lips of CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper, however.

Urban crime lacking an ideological motive is bad enough. The video of this Leninist domestic terrorist organization brutalizing the courageous, young Portland, Oregon-based internet journalist Andy Ngo during a June 29 violent demonstration has gone viral. Ngo was punched, kicked, his recording equipment stolen, his face and head doused with eggs and thick liquids, possibly including quick-drying concrete that blinded him.

As Ngo described Antifa’s “black bloc” practice last week to journalist Katrina Trinko, they wear “a uniform of … black clothing, long sleeve, and mask and sunglasses” letting them “easily melt into the crowd when some of them engage in criminal activities such as violence against individuals or property destruction.”

Ngo was hospitalized with a brain hemorrhage from which he has still not recovered.

As Ngo himself recently wrote, “CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon have defended Antifa on-air.” And NBC’s “Chuck Todd invited Antifa ideologue Mark Bray on ‘Meet the Press’ to explain why Antifa’s political violence is ‘ethical.’”

Leftist Minnesota Attorney General and former Rep. Keith Ellison recently deleted a photograph of himself he had posted on social media proudly holding a handbook on Antifa methods written by Bray. A senior Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, met with a 37-year-old alleged Antifa leader charged by Philadelphia’s district attorney with beating two Marines in 2016. Earlier this month an Antifa mob firebombed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Washington.

I&I recently stressed the importance of initiating federal legal action against these politically-motivated violent criminals, and President Trump is now considering classifying Antifa a domestic terrorist group. The left responds, reprehensibly, that these terrorists haven’t yet murdered anyone, while “far-right killings” are increasing.

Downplaying Antifa’s Growing Threat

For instance, anti-Semite Robert Bowers was charged last year with the deadliest mass murder of Jews in American history at a Pittsburgh synagogue. In August 2017, schizophrenic James Alex Fields drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at a rally that included neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was convicted of murdering 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring many others. In 2016 Dylann Roof was convicted for slaughtering nine at a black church in Charleston the year before.

But few if any conservative Republicans refuse to condemn neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, or white supremacists. Trump himself condemned them and praised the slain Heyer during the press conference he gave in the aftermath of Fields’ car attack. Afterwards he was attacked by Democrats and the establishment media for saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of the local debate over removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

Of the “very fine people,” Trump made it clear during his remarks: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

Moreover, Bowers, Fields, and Roof — all of whom are behind bars, unlike the unidentified Antifa assailants — won’t be intimidating anyone into not voting for the candidates of their choice. The whole mission of Antifa’s masked men and women, by contrast, is to sow fear amongst those who disagree with them.

In Portland, the police, by design, were AWOL when Ngo was being beaten. Mayor Ted Wheeler, also commander in chief of the city’s police, is suspected of ordering officers to stand down regarding Antifa, as he did in demonstrations against ICE last year.

If potential supporters of Trump or other GOP candidates hear that Antifa will be demonstrating near a rally — or close to a voting facility on Election Day 2020 — they might stay away out of fear. That is a far more direct assault on American democracy than Russian bots on social media.

September Militancy To Target U.S. Border Agents

On Monday, Ngo tweeted a warning that “Antifa is leading a ‘Border Resistance’ militancy training tour that will converge on a 10-day siege in El Paso, TX” at the beginning of September. Ngo included the promotion for the training session, which “shows border enforcement officers being killed & government property fired bombed.”

“We are very much relying on white comrades to donate money” for other participants, the organizers’ borderresistance.com website says, stating their purpose as: “dismantling concentration camps and US-funded genocide.”

Yet Democrats remain shy about disavowing Antifa. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, infamous for her anti-Semitic statements, refused earlier this month to condemn Antifa’s Tacoma attack. Fellow members of her socialist “Squad,” namely Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Masssachusetts, have also refused to say an ill word about the violent organization when presented the opportunity.

Imagine if the Ku Klux Klan, whose masking methods Antifa obviously mimics, had assaulted an Internet journalist weeks before a debate between 2016 Republican presidential candidates, and, say, the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus refused to condemn it. The debate would have been dominated by questions about it.

But asking the Democrats seeking the White House about Antifa would put them in an impossible bind, and CNN knows it. Condemning Antifa risks offending activists within the party’s base, many of whom are no strangers to militant demonstrations.

Refusing to condemn Antifa, on the other hand, puts them on the record going easy on the bloodiest elements of the far left. In November 2020, a Democrat nominee associated with such violent extremism might make up the minds of millions of potential Democratic voters in favor of Trump.

So it won’t be asked. Which means we already know who will lose this week’s debates: the viewing public.

— Written by Thomas McArdle


Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. We’re just getting started, and we’ll be adding new features as time permits. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

4 comments

  • It’s sad…but when the (so-called) authorities allow violence from 1 side of the debate…that doesn’t leave much recourse for the other side.

  • Another question that should be asked is – Please explain how the Left’s desire to open the borders, provide free health care and free education to all immigrants (legal & illegal) maintains the relevancy of citizenship?

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About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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