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Sunday, July 5, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It sometimes seems as though the Republican establishment wouldn’t recognize a winning campaign issue if it toppled over — like a statue — onto them.

A meme circulating on Facebook summed the issue up so simply, so concisely that even the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee should be able to understand it.


The meme shows a scowling Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and asks the question:

“Has anyone heard these two condemning the violence, rioting, looting, and arson that has been taking place across the U.S.?” The creator of the meme answers his or her own question: “I haven’t.”

Regrettably, what we also haven’t heard is Republican Senate, House and down-ballot candidates raising as a major campaign issue Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer’s (and their party’s) disgracefully deafening silence about the anarchic violence of the far left that has engulfed cities from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, Wash., over much of the past six weeks.

This is low-hanging campaign fruit, and why Republican candidates across the country can’t see that is beyond baffling. Why GOP candidates haven’t picked up that rotten fruit and thrown it in the faces of their Democratic rivals who make excuses for the anarchy and won’t condemn the anarchists is equally inexplicable.

The unwillingness of Democrats — those in office and those running for one alike — to unequivocally condemn the rioting, looting and arson that has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages or the rampant vandalism that has seen historical statues desecrated or destroyed is beyond cowardly.

Some Democratic candidates’ obligatory “tut-tutting” and “tsk-tsking” is grossly insufficient. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s little more than a “C.Y.A.” fan dance to somehow deny they are soft on crime.

It’s not difficult to understand why Democrats have not unconditionally condemned the lawless mob violence or vociferously distanced themselves from it.

Prominent Democrats — from mayors and city councilors on up — don’t dare to stand up to their far-left base and condemn the anarchists’ actions for fear of angering them and having them turn their wrath on them.

But as the left used to say in another context, “Silence equals assent.” Democrats’ shameful silence is tacit complicity in the mayhem.

But that does raise a worrisome question: Where is the GOP pushback? Other than President Trump, who has spoken out forcefully on the issue? Why have Republicans nationwide not seized the moral (and electoral) high ground by condemning the lawlessness and pointing out that most Democrats haven’t — or if they have, that they’ve done so at best tepidly and timorously?

Why are Republican candidates who will be sharing the ballot with Mr. Trump this fall not demanding, loudly and persistently, that their Democratic rivals — incumbents and challengers alike — emphatically condemn the violence and vandalism?

This is no time for Republicans to be the Silent Majority, but rather to give it voice. Middle America — which all too many Democrats scorn as “flyover country” — is justifiably horrified by the lawlessness, and elected Democrats must be held to account for their sudden laryngitis.

Republican candidates could take their cue from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

“Anarchy in our streets is unacceptable,” she said at her June 29 press conference, noting that the FBI “has over 200 open domestic terrorism investigations ongoing” and vowing that the rule of law would be upheld.

Meanwhile, Ms. McEnany added pointedly, “Democrats at all levels — federal, state, and local — have done nothing.”

It’s worse than that, however. Not only have they not done anything, Senate Democrats blocked a police-reform bill, making it abundantly clear — except to the willfully blind — that they’re not really interested in solving problems, but only in fanning the flames of civil unrest to appeal to their far-left base.

And in stark contrast to the utterly irresponsible calls by numerous elected Democrats for cutting police budgets or defunding police departments entirely, McEnany said, “President Trump stands against defunding our brave police officers, caving to mob rule and cancel culture, which seeks to erase our history.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, aptly summed it up in a June 24 tweet: “Every elected Democrat in office, and every Democrat running for office, lives in fear of the mob and the Squad [four far-left firebrand House Democrats].”

In November, those Democrats need to be made to live instead in fear of disgusted law-abiding Americans.


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