In the meantime, Mr. Trump responded by offering false equivalencies between white bigots and their protesters. His soft denunciations of hate ring hollow when he has white nationalist advisers like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller whispering in his ear.
.. They cling to a faded Southern aristocracy whose benefits — of alleged white superiority, and moral and intellectual supremacy — trickled down to ordinary whites. If they couldn’t drink from the cup of economic advantage that white elites tasted, at least they could sip what was left of a hateful ideology: at least they weren’t black.
.. W.E.B. Du Bois called this alleged sense of superiority the psychic wages of whiteness. President Lyndon Baines Johnson once argued, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
When Progressives Embrace Hate
The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations. Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke.
.. She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia.
.. Plus, they’ve argued, many of these tweets were written five years ago! Ancient history.
.. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor” — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.
.. Like many others, CNN’s Jake Tapper noticed the outrageous tweet. “Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba,” he tweeted, going on to mention Ms. Sarsour’s troubling past statements. “Any progressives out there condemning this?” he asked.
In the face of this sober criticism, Ms. Sarsour cried bully: “@jaketapperjoins the ranks of the alt-right to target me online. Welcome to the party.”
.. There’s no doubt that Ms. Sarsour is a regular target of far-right groups, but her experience of that onslaught is what makes her smear all the more troubling. Indeed, the idea that Jake Tapper is a member of the alt-right is the kind of delirious, fact-free madness that fuels Donald Trump and his supporters. Troublingly, it is exactly the sentiment echoed by the Women’s March: “Our power — your power — scares the far right. They continue to try to divide us. Today’s attacks on #AssataShakur are the latest example.”
.. What’s more distressing is that Ms. Sarsour is not the only leader of the women’s movement who harbors such alarming ideas. Largely overlooked have been the similarly outrageous statements of the march’s other organizers... Ms. Perez also expressed her admiration for a Black Panther convictedof trying to kill six police officers.. But the public figure both women regularly fawn over is Louis Farrakhan... Ms. Mallory posted a photo with her arm around Mr. Farrakhan, the 84-year-old Nation of Islam leader notorious for his anti-Semitic comments.. “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” he warned Jews in a speech at a Nation of Islam gathering in Madison Square Garden in 1985. Five years later, he remained unreformed: “The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters.” Or this metaphor, directed at Jews: “You have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.” He called Hitler “a very great man” on national television. Judaism, he insists, is a “gutter religion.”.. Mr. Farrakhan is also an unapologetic racist. He insists that whites are a “race of devils” and that “white people deserve to die.”.. Feminists will find little to cheer in his 1950s views of gender: “Your professional lives can’t satisfy your soul like a good, loving man.”.. But the nightmare of the Trump administration is the proof text for why all of this matters. We just saw what happens to legitimate political parties when they fall prey to movements that are, at base, anti-American. That is true of the populist, racist alt-right that helped deliver Mr. Trump the White House and are now hollowing out the Republican Party. And it can be true of the progressive “resistance” — regardless of how chic, Instagrammable and celebrity-laden the movement may seem... Will progressives have more spine than conservatives in policing hate in their ranks?.. what I stand against is
- embracing terrorists,
- disdaining independent feminist voices,
- hating on democracies and
- celebrating dictatorships.If that puts me beyond the pale of the progressive feminist movement in America right now, so be it.
Closing the ‘Empathy Gap’
The arch-conservative Ronald Reagan won the allegiance of blue-collar voters. How he did so may offer a lesson (or two) for today.
Mr. Olsen decided to re-examine the record and concludes that Reagan was a proponent of “New Deal conservatism” who believed that government should help those in need and enable America’s working class to enjoy “dignity, comfort and respect.”
.. Like Reagan, Mr. Trump is opposed to cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits and seems committed to combating what he sees as unfair foreign trade practices. Like Reagan, he has appealed to white workers who are today disdained by conservative elites as “takers” and by liberals as “deplorables.”.. He often said that he did not leave the Democratic Party—it left him, by becoming weak on national security and ever more wedded to high taxes, regulation, welfare and metastasizing bureaucracies... In the 1964 speech, he defended Social Security and declared that “no one in this country should be denied medical care for lack of funds.”.. Reagan won workers away from the Democratic Party in 1980 by asking “are you better off than you were four years ago?” In the Carter era of stagflation and gas lines, the answer was obviously “no.”.. What he sought to cut from the budget, Mr. Olsen maintains, was bureaucracy and spending not targeted at the “truly needy.”.. GOP strategists said that they had to close a gender gap and ethnic gap. Mr. Olsen says that what really hurts the party is “an empathy gap.” To make empathy concrete, he favors cutting payroll taxes for workers and allowing tax cuts for corporations that hire Americans or raise wages.
Democrats and the Losing Politics of Contempt
Democrats didn’t lose for lack of political talent, campaign financing and organization or enthusiasm among their base. They lost because of their brand.
.. Democrats may think the brand is all about diversity, inclusion and fairness. But for millions of Americans, the brand is also about contempt — intellectual contempt of the kind Nimzowitsch exuded for his opponent
.. Contemporary liberalism now expresses itself chiefly in the language of self-affirmation and moral censure: of being the party of the higher-minded; of affixing the suffix “phobe” to millions of people who don’t appreciate being described as bigots.
.. It’s why a political strategy by Democrats that seeks to turn every local race into a referendum on Trump is likely to fail.
.. One temptation Democrats would be smart to avoid is to see Ossoff’s loss as evidence that the party needs to move further left, on the theory that not enough of the base showed up to vote.
.. And nominating more progressive candidates isn’t likely to solve the contempt problem, at least with voters not yet in sync with progressive orthodoxies on coal, guns or gender-neutral bathrooms.
.. Speaking of the 42nd president, many are the charges that can be laid at his feet, but contempt for half of all Americans was never one of them.