A particular line from our Thursday editorial reminded us of something we’ve been seeing for some time now: claims by the media that Republicans in general and Donald Trump in specific are authoritarians. It’s a truly malignant form of psychological projection.
The comment referenced in our observation that dissent is no longer the highest form of patriotism that struck us is from Northeastern University journalism professor and public radio panelist Dan Kennedy. He said, with zero supporting evidence, that the Republican Party “has embraced authoritarianism and voter suppression.”
The only “proof” he offers is a report from a European think tank that says in 2020 “the United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale.”
Well, let’s see what happened in the U.S. in 2020. A pandemic arrived and policymakers all across the country quickly began violating rights by shutting down businesses; outlawing the people’s right to freely assemble (unless they were rioting for the right reasons, that is reasons approved by Democrats and the media); trapping people in their homes; arresting those who dared to move about without government permission; requiring masks in public and private settings; forcing kids to muzzle themselves for entire school days; and in some cases demanding proof of immunization to carry on as normal.
In the beginning officials from both parties were guilty of the excesses. But in 2021, it’s the Republican red states that have returned lost liberties while Democrat blue states, and Democrats in Washington, continue to violate freedom with the cheerleading of the press.
But the report doesn’t say the panicked and irrational pandemic response was the fuel driving the U.S. toward authoritarianism. It blames Trump’s questioning of “the legitimacy of the 2020 election results,” as well as “baseless allegations of electoral fraud and related disinformation,” which “undermined fundamental trust in the electoral process.”
Naturally there was not a word about the Democratic and media effort, lasting now more than half a decade, to first remove Trump from office, then to cast him out of the public square based on a nasty political set-up engineered by Hillary Clinton, which some dare call a subversion of our system, because that’s what it was.
The report does refer, however, to the “Trump Administration’s early ban on travel from China to the United States,” but of course there’s no mention of the current Democrat in the White House placing restrictions on air travel from South Africa out of fear of the Omicron variant.
As one would expect, the report also complains about new voting laws passed in states. They are by no means suppressive, but implying that they are snugly fits the left’s narrative.
So Kennedy’s appeal to authority to make his case about GOP authoritarianism is a flop. There’s nothing there. But a lack of evidence hasn’t slowed the effort to tar the GOP. Others who are making the same argument as Kennedy include:
- One-time conservative (allegedly) Jennifer Rubin. She used her pulpit in the Washington Post to try to convince America that many in the GOP base “prefer authoritarianism to democracy.”
- Benjamin Parker of The Bulwark, which is the rotten fruit of The Weekly Standard gone bad, who’s said “The Republican party is an authoritarian party, not just in its unabashed hostility to democracy and the rule of law, but also in its internal organization.”
- Vox, which says “The Republican Party has embraced an agenda that rigs the rules in their favor” – we’ll ignore the juicebox kids’ grammatical error for now – under a headline that reads “Call it authoritarianism.”
- Bill Schneider, an emeritus professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, who rambled on in The Hill about how there’s more “popular support for Trump’s brand of authoritarianism” “than you think.”
- CNN, which was happy to report that “U.S. Republicans are starting to look a lot like authoritarian parties in Hungary and Turkey.”
- A University of Massachusetts Amherst visiting research associate who is quite sure that Trump is an authoritarian and so are millions of Americans.
It’s almost as if journalists and academics are working together from a set of talking points to coordinate their attacks on conservatives and Republicans and further their leftist agenda.
How have we arrived at a place in our history in which the party that wants to limit government, embrace free markets, deregulate, and let people keep more of their hard-earned money is authoritarian, and the party that wants to force conformity, censor speech, eliminate all political challenges by establishing a single-party state that it controls, and make us all wards of the state is not?
The answer is clear: The Big Lie has enabled the left’s ability to project its worst traits on the right.
Which is all the more interesting because the left side of the political aisle, in another ugly example of its projection, actually believes it is anti-fascist, and accuses anyone who even mildly questions the results of the 2020 presidential election as a super-spreader of the Big Lie. No group is more in need of self-examination, and maybe some professional help, than America’s angry left.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board