Bob Ehrlich: Here's Why Leftists, Not Conservatives, Act Out When They Don't Get Their Way


Republicans lost 37 House seats on Nov. 7, including control of the House of Representatives. An old nemesis, Nancy Pelosi, is now (again) the Hosue speaker. A myriad of subpoenas, investigations, hearings and (possibly) a vote on impeachment constitute the Democratic agenda for the 115th Congress.

Apart from all the political shenanigans surrounding a hotly-contested midterm election, post-election civil disturbances did not occur. There were no reports of demonstrations at the National Mall; roaming bands of protestors stopping traffic in downtown Manhattan; cathartic cookie-baking therapy sessions or cuddles with therapy dogs on college campuses; ugly mini-mobs showing up at restaurants frequented by progressive elites; or calls for nationwide boycotts against Ben & Jerry’s or Jim Carrey movies. No colleges reported violent sit-ins at their deans’ offices, either.

Of course, none of this inaction is a surprise. It’s more “dog bites man” — the definition of status quo. Republicans may be unhappy with the midterm results, but unlike many progressives, they are more likely to cry in their beer than turn to civil disobedience in order to manifest their anger at a political result.

Alas, there is little analysis devoted to this muted reaction. After all, the status quo is not sexy. Nobody earns a Ph.D. by analyzing the expected, the known. But it is worth our time to delve further into the recurring behaviors of the new left, also known as the “resistance.” In more contemporary terms, why not examine how some of the same people who shout “fascist!” at the drop of a hat (or Trump campaign rally) behave like fascists whenever elections do not go their way. Some pundits see this behavior as the natural fallout from the “everybody gets a trophy” generation. But there has to be more to it.

Accordingly, herein are three theories for this anything but civil behavior:

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Progressives act out because they so often fail to win on Election Day:

Uber-left Democratic party stars garner plenty of media attention. The lead-up to the 2018 midterms was no exception. Still, despite all the coverage — and the aggressiveness of the resistance in all its forms — election 2018 produced nothing more than expected results (following historic trends) in the House, and (surprising to some) a two-seat Republican pick-up in the Senate. Accordingly, it was — and is — a big bummer for those who thought their various forms of civil disobedience over the past two years would produce more immediate results. To make matters worse, many of the newbie House Democrats come from swing/red districts; few winners ran on left-of-center or blatantly anti-Trump platforms.

Progressives act out because they can; there is little (public) price to pay:

That sound you do not hear in the aftermath of ugly, public confrontations with GOP Members of Congress and the Trump cabinet is a chorus of disapproval from the alphabet soup cable networks and like-minded members of the mainstream media. Sanctimonious lectures from lefty pundits are likewise missing whenever disruptive miscreants show up at or vandalize (see: Tucker Carlson and family) a well-known conservative’s home or office. Herein is one barometer of how far our self-appointed keepers of civility have fallen.

The rationale for the generally acquiescent attitude is by now familiar: Trump is so bad — such a nativist/racist/nationalist threat — that any mode of disapproval is acceptable. That great bellwether of good taste and civility, Madonna, initially set the (low) bar with her infamous tirade at the D.C. Women’s March in January 2017 wherein she spoke those immortal words — “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” Such a comment would likely have led to an FBI interview for the average American, but not so the lefty singer/actress.

Things have only gotten worse since then.

It’s all about oppression … and the moral high ground:

This piece completes the puzzle. As cited above, Trump and his acolytes are caricatured as “deplorables.” Their demographic profile allegedly supports the progressive indictment: overwhelmingly white, male and lacking a college degree. To boot, they watch Fox News, go to church (of all things), listen to country music and prefer Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks. They are uneducated, unsophisticated, uncouth. Per the progressives, they don’t get it because they can’t get it.

But that’s only half the equation. The other half concerns the always fiercely guarded moral high ground — that ostensibly judgment-free space believed to be occupied by so many of our educational and media elites. Lately, these folks have successfully pushed their egalitarian, socialism-lite, anti-sovereignty agenda into the mainstream of Democratic politics. They see progress, and they like it. In today’s vernacular, they’ve been “normalized.” And why not? Moral high grounders believe they have earned entrance into this rarified place.

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In this world, Trump “Protector-In-Chief” Mitch McConnell’s freedom to eat his dinner in peace is clearly trumped (excuse the pun) by the “right” of oppressed people to act out.  Only haters could reject the construct. And who wants to be labeled a hater?

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former U.S. congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.