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Will Trump treat liberals kinder than liberals have treated conservatives? Columnist dishes liberals a pretty good polemic.

In the wake of the Trump election, First Things columnist Pete Spiliakos gives some well-deserved pushback to fear-stricken left-wing college students and social-liberal activists.  After listing a few of his “legitimate” concerns about Trump, he delivers a well written polemic claiming “fear of Trump is fear that what they would have done with power now will be done unto them.”  In any case, after the past eight years and this turbulent election, here’s a few paragraphs that conservatives are sure to enjoy:

On many of the social issues, Trump is the best that social liberals can reasonably hope for from the GOP. So why are they so mad?

One reason is disappointed ambition. The left thought they were riding a demographic wave that would render their political opponents not merely irrelevant, but helpless. And if, at some point in the future, the political tides brought conservatives into elected office, a compact and aggressively liberal Supreme Court majority would make sure that while liberals might lose elections, they would never really lose power.

And oh, the things they planned to do with that power! Mark Tushnet reflected on the death of Antonin Scalia, together with the presumptive election of Hillary Clinton, and argued that, legally, the culture wars were over and conservatives had lost. He argued for a “hard line” against conservatives, similar to the occupations of the Reconstruction-era South and post-WWII Germany and Japan. He wrote that liberal judges and activist groups should have no concern for conservative objections, which “liberals regard as having no normative pull at all.”  …

The dream of a Clinton presidency and liberal Supreme Court has turned into a nightmare. The hope that America might become one big college campus where dissenters could be shouted down with the connivance of the administration has been inverted. The weapons liberals sharpened now look likely to be turned upon the left.  …

The irony is that the scariest thing Trump could do to liberal activists is offer them pure reciprocity. He could reassure liberal college students that he will respect their right to free speech, just as they have respected the rights of conservative speakers. He could reassure Black Lives Matter activists that, in his public statements about them, he will be just as scrupulously accurate and charitable as they were in describing Officer Darren Wilson. Liberal groups should be reassured that IRS scrutiny of liberal groups will be identical to the scrutiny endured by conservative groups during the famously scandal-free Obama administration.  …

What if Trump (a rather theatrical sort himself) had appeared and addressed the [Hamilton] audience? What if Trump had assured Mr. Dixon (and those booing Pence) that when using his powers as president, he would always keep in mind how the cast and audience of Hamilton would protect bakers who did not want to participate in same-sex marriages, and nuns who did not want to pay for abortifacients, and extend the exact same respect for the sensibilities and rights of liberals? Would these liberals—with their spotless consciences—be reassured that we had reached an agreement on inalienable rights and American values, or would they—in guilt and frustration—interpret such a statement as venomous sarcasm, and a promise of legal harassment?

Peter Zeller is Director of Operations at Center of the American Experiment.




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