November 5, 2020
Im speaking of the desire to be labeled, above all, "sensitive."
Often, it's just flat-out timidity.
Regardless, we fail
to call out extremists and the actions of a relative few for whom this becomes more about opportunism than expression.
I use the collective "we" because I'm a traditional liberal Democrat by most standards.Those include youthful
activism, voting past and philosophy.
By 2020, though, that comes with a rejection of kneejerk Political Correctness. Also,
it's not betraying progressive ideals to judge issues on a case-by-case basis with an open mind and when it's called for,
the nerve to say, "Whoa ..."
In this case, we didn't sufficiently condemn and disavow over-the-top conduct that
went beyond and unfortunately detracted from heartfelt and justified social justice protests and messages.
It was a factor in
the perfect storm that almost saved President Trump's job.
The results -- and the analysis of the results -- illustrate how crucial micro-blocs
can be. State-by-state, coast-to-coast.
I am absolutely convinced there are enough centrists or conservatives who might have
voted for the Biden-Harris ticket to have transformed the race into what passes for a rout in national electoral politics.
I know some of them.
Many of them concede
Trump's foibles. All of them. They wince at them.
Which brings me to this: It was, and is, another misjudgment to write off all Trump
voters as blind followers, or being in complete denial.
I'll concede it's difficult for me to fathom why or how anyone could support him --
the man, not the party's candidate -- but that's for individual consciences to tackle.
I believe there ultimately was
a bloc turned off by Liberalism's failure to sufficiently condemn the violence and destruction that accompanied or followed
those legitimate demonstrations and protests.
I'm saying there was a chance that enough of them would have voted for Biden otherwise.
But the excesses --
albeit coming from many with murky motives -- disgusted and, yes, scared those potential Biden voters.
So did liberals' fear
of offending anyone to their left by calling out those involved.
How many of those potential Biden voters were there?
I don't have an exact answer.
I'm guessing that as in 2016, many of them were self-conscious about their choice, even to the point of being less than straightforward
with pollsters. (Don't think so? How can the pollsters be so wrong twice in four years?)
But I'll say the number would
have been enough to transform Biden vs. Trump from a prolonged nail-biter, albeit under Electoral College ground rules, to
a result called four days after Election Night.
Absolutely, both Biden and Harris said something along those lines during the campaign.
More than once. Maybe even often. But not often enough.
Not often enough to sufficiently address the disgust and fears,
both tapped in Trump speeches and ads.
Not often enough to shoot down the fallacy that the Democratic ticket specifically
and party in general was pandering to extremism.
And how many of those eloquently and sincerely opining about social justice issues
in these troubled times seemed to be invoking a careful protocol and following a "sensitivity" template? Or excusing
If stridently denouncing the violence and destruction offended anyone on the far left, so what? What were they going
to do? Vote for Trump?
And where the Trump supporters had a point was hearing criticism of, say, a Sturgis
motorcycle rally because of the lack of masks and social distancing, and a disregard for crowd size limits, then noticing
those same critics excused defiance of COVID-19 protocol at social justice protests.
Where the Trump followers did not have
a point is when what sure looked like armed storm troopers attempting to intimidate while expressing support for Trump and
defying COVID-19 protocol. Also, Trump's failure to call out white supremacists was disgusting. But that's secondary to the
issue of how all of this prevented buyer's regret tied to Trump's conduct.
The lack of decisive denunciation of the violence
and destruction scared off -- or drove off or kept away -- many potential Biden voters. They were out there among the relatively
reasonable Trump supporters.
Liberals. We need to look in the mirror on that.
A sign in our neighborhood leading up to the election