I’ve taken a guilty pleasure recently in watching the faux intellectuals on MSNBC and CNN pass judgment on not just Donald Trump, but also on everyone who shares his disdain for authoritarian pronouncements on COVID-19, election integrity, climate change and a host of other issues.
From what I can tell after studying Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, Jake Tapper and the late, lamented Chris Cuomo, liberalism today is characterized by a low regard for the intelligence of average Americans and a very high regard for the elastic nature of language.
Essentially, words are expected to mean whatever Democrats and their media enablers want them to mean. This has been most evident in the war against Donald Trump since the 2020 election, but it was certainly in play earlier. For example, saying that Donald Trump is a “racist” meant he supports border security. Saying Donald Trump is a Russian “colluder” meant that Hillary Clinton had paid a British spy to manufacture a phony dossier implicating Trump.
But the campaign to destroy Trump really lifted into the stratosphere after the Nov. 3 election. When they called his claim that the election was stolen “the Big Lie,” what they meant was they don’t agree with him. When they said he made his claims “without evidence,” they meant “without evidence that they agree with” or that they would even look at.
Then — after the Jan. 6 House select committee voted to hold Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress — they pivoted and announced that the Big Lie was now “the Big Coup.” Meadows was chief of staff to President Trump, and since Trump clearly believed the election was stolen, it should be no surprise that Meadows was in constant communication with members of Congress and others who were working to prove that fraud had taken place. But in the Orwellian world of Democrats, trying to prove that fraud was committed by someone else means you are yourself guilty of fraud. Believing the election was stolen means that you yourself tried to steal the election. And worst of all, asking people to march “peacefully and patriotically” to the Capitol means that you were instructing them to riot and overthrow the government.
As we approach the anniversary of the Jan. 6 “insurrection,” the unspoken truth is that Donald Trump had nothing to gain and everything to lose by the violent assault on the Capitol that day. The only chance of keeping Trump in the White House was not by invading the Capitol, but by keeping it secure while our representatives debated the validity of the election using the entirely constitutional process taking place inside the halls of Congress.
The electoral votes of at least five states were being challenged — not in a coup, but in a lawful manner also used by Democrats in earlier elections, following the procedures mandated by the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Republican senators and House members had lined up to make the case to the public and their fellow constitutional officers that something was rotten in the states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, and that the election was therefore tainted. But the violence outside resulted in a sharply truncated debate inside that was virtually ignored, if not outright mocked or shamed, by the mainstream media. The riot instantly doomed any chance Trump had of prevailing in his argument that the election was stolen.
So ask yourself who benefited from the supposed coup at the Capitol. Not Trump. Not the Republicans who had put themselves on the line to support him with evidence of voting irregularities in several states. Cui bono? Who benefits? None other than the very Democrats who for the last year have worked tirelessly to discredit Trump and to find some way to disqualify him from being elected president again in 2024.
The latest claim is that Trump had criminally “obstructed an official proceeding of Congress” by encouraging his supporters to “Stop the Steal.” This is an absurd claim on several fronts.
First of all, Trump’s belief that the election was stolen is protected by his First Amendment right of free speech. So is his right to use the courts and Congress to seek redress of his grievances. There is no evidence he had advance knowledge of the riot or planned it in any way. As noted, the particular proceeding of Congress in question was the only hope Trump had of remaining in office beyond Jan. 20, 2021.
Moreover, the argument that Trump “allowed” the riot to take place because he did not send National Guard troops to intervene is wrong on both the facts and the logic of the case. As I showed in my last column, Trump did in fact request 10,000 National Guard troops to be deployed, but his request was ignored by the Pentagon, the speaker of the House, the Capitol Police and the mayor of Washington, D.C. Even more importantly, if Trump had used the power of the presidency to order a military presence at the Capitol, then the Democrats would have gotten exactly what they wanted — the appearance of a coup ordered by a reckless, out-of-control authoritarian who was trying to bend Congress to his will. In other words, Trump could not win that day no matter what he did. The violence made victory impossible.
But to argue, as Liz Cheney and Nancy Pelosi do, that Trump didn’t have a right to contest the election is to replace the rule of law with the rule of intimidation. The Democrats and their partners in the media have used all their assembled might to coerce Trump and his allies into silence. His only crime is that he won’t shut up about the election being stolen. Nor for that matter is he the only one who thinks that the election was fraudulent. Millions of us independently reached the same conclusion. If any of those supporters had turned to violence at the Capitol, they should be appropriately tried, convicted and punished for their misdeeds, but that’s not on Trump any more than it is on the rest of us who encouraged our fellow citizens to work to prevent the installation of Joe Biden as president as long as doubts persisted about his legitimacy.
But the Jan. 6 committee and its supporters don’t care about logic or facts. They trotted out text messages from Trump supporters condemning the violence and said that meant Trump himself must have supported the violence. They showed messages that indicated Trump had a strategy to try to prove to Congress and then to the Supreme Court that his rights had been violated, and they said that proved “the Big Coup.”
Goodness, they really didn’t need to wait this long if that’s all it takes to prove a coup! They could have just read Trump’s speech from the morning of Jan. 6. He never hid the fact that he thought he had been cheated out of victory, nor did he ever pretend he would go gentle into that good night the way Democrats hoped he would. But they already knew all that. In fact, they impeached him over the same speech and failed to convict him. If they tried to convict him on the same charges again, under any guise, they would have violated the intent of the Constitution’s protection against double jeopardy. Not that they care.
One last point: In general, the liberal elites appear to be incapable of recognizing that every argument has two sides. They honestly believe that whatever the Democratic leadership says is true, and whatever Donald Trump or his supporters say is false. Although this condition existed prior to the 2020 election, it was exaggerated afterwards to the point where we no longer have the expectation of honest debate. And that, contrary to the claims of politicians like Adam Schiff and Liz Cheney, is the real danger to democracy.
When half the people are considered by the other half to be malignant, prevaricating miscreants, there is no hope for true democracy — rule by the people. The best you can expect is demi-democracy, rule of the people by half of the people. That may be the hope of the liberals, but they should be careful what they wish for. Despite their frantic attacks on the Deplorables, it is not yet certain who will prevail in the war they have unleashed. Not a war of weapons, but a war of words and a war of ideas.
On the Democrat side, there are threats and intimidation, warning American citizens not to step out of line. Wear your mask. Get your shot. Turn in your gun. Do what we tell you, and keep your head down. You’ll be fine if you obey.
On the other side, there is a rising chorus of voices, moms and dads, black and white, free-thinkers all, who ask for the right to raise their children as they see fit, insist on medical autonomy, expect elections to be fair, and don’t bow before authority unless it is legitimately wielded.
The choice of two diametrically opposed futures has not been so clear since the Civil War, and Democrats — just as they did in that great conflict — seem intent once again on proving the truth of Lincoln’s dictum that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”